The benefits of exercise cannot be overstated. Exercise strengthens bones and may be the best treatment for osteoporosis. Exercises builds and tones muscles which support joints. It builds confidence and self-esteem. It is a super stress reliever and antidepressant. With all of its benefits, many of us find that even with hours spent in the gym, we do not achieve the strength and tone we would desire from an exercise program. Perhaps we are doing the wrong things. The program CrossFit may be a great fit for those of us looking to take our exercise program and fitness to the next level.
CrossFit is a program geared to prepare the body for better fitness by not focusing on any one activity. Rather, CrossFit wants the body prepared for any and all activities or sports. It focuses on core strengthening and conditioning. It is not the same routine everyday, but a regular mixture of activities designed to activate and strengthen various core and major muscle groups from a variety of tasks. CrossFit has attracted elite athletes, military personnel, police officers and now regular people who are wanting to achieve higher levels of fitness. The CrossFit program seeks to achieve this through balance in ten fitness categories: heart and lung endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy [Source: CrossFit].
The benefits of CrossFit are many. I compare these benefits of CrossFit to previous routines a person like me may have tried. Many have tried to build muscle and get in shape by spending 60 minutes or more in the gym several days a week, working several sets of each muscle group. This means curls for the biceps, extensions for the triceps, sit-ups, pull-downs for the upper back, seated rows for the mid back, and on and on…leading to long workouts. One of the major problems here is time. It is hard to allow 60 plus minutes 4-5 days a week. Something has to give, and for me it was often the workout. It is hard to get the results you want when you don’t exercise, and even a couple days a week never got the job done for me and many fellow patients trying to do the same thing. CrossFit, on the other hand, is not found to be a lengthy trip to the gym. In fact, many CrossFit routines are based on programs timed to be done in 20 minutes or less. For those of us who can only commit a couple of hours a week to the gym, 20 minute workouts multiple days of the week provide a more consistent program then once or twice a week. Success, challenge and fun are other benefits of CrossFit. The variety of exercises each day keeps the workout interesting. Instead of going to a gym or home workout area and doing the same sets of exercises every day, CrossFit provides a different routine that may challenge you with a whole new set of exercises. These exercises work core muscles, challenge fitness levels and strengthen the major muscle groups. This equals better fitness and stronger muscles in a more reasonable amount of time.
How does one get started with CrossFit? A simple way to start is to go to the CrossFit website: www.crossfit.com. Each day a new exercise is posted that is the WOD, workout of the day. These exercises are posted on the center of the page. On the left side of the site is the navigation bar which includes a “start here” link and an “exercise & demos” in addition to many other links. The “start here” will provide much of the background information to get started. The “exercises & demos” link will provide video demonstrations for the workout of the day. Also, consider searching out a personal trainer in the area who has had training the CrossFit program.
Anyone can use the CrossFit program. The program has a gained a lot of momentum among elite athletes. This attests to the success of the thinking behind CrossFit. CrossFit can be adapted to any skill level. The program can also be scaled to the abilities of those with chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes. Remember that the “workout of the day” is scaled for the well-conditioned, elite athletes. Start very easily. This is a powerful program and the muscles will get tired. Do not try to become a world-class athlete in one or two days. Utilize a friend or personal trainer using CrossFit along with the CrossFit website. The exercises run on a cycle so that an exercise set done several weeks ago can be compared to the present level of fitness.
CrossFit is a different type of exercise routine. It is a well-rounded and very efficient way to achieve a higher level of fitness. It is a program that does not need a whole lot of fancy equipment, but does offer a nice variety to keep the interest level up and provide the challenge needed to keep the exercise fun.