Crossfit is all about training your body for the unknown (not just the known). Its one of the fastest growth areas in the world of strength, conditioning and fitness and has gathered an almost cult status amongst serious competitive exercisers.
It certainly isn’t recommended for beginners and is even considered tough for fairly seasoned exercisers. Combining strength training with plyometrics, speed training, various Olympic lifts, body weight exercises, kettlebell and sandbag routines. By training the body in this way CrossFit aims to work the whole body in a comprehensive fashion promoting improvements in cardiovascular-fitness, strength, endurance, stamina power, speed, agility and coordination. Exercises are normally explosive and carried out in circuits (timed). Most exercises will work the whole body with lifting, pulling, squating and pushing exercises forming the basis for most circuits.
With the popularity of this form of exercise, CrossFit gyms have begun to spring up all over the globe. There are now about 2,500 locations worldwide. Forget the conventional set-up you may be used to. This could not be further from your local Fitness First. These places are more akin to a garage or industrial warehouse with Olympic plates, barbells, climbing ropes, pull-up bars, plyometric boxes and the like. Not for the uninitiated.
Despite its hardcore nature, the advantages of CrossFit are that the workouts are actually quite quick so you don’t need a hugh amount of time to complete your circuit. It will appeal particularly to athletes and ex-athletes and has a big following with ex-military. There is almost a competitive pride at participants’ ability to compete not just against other crossfitters but against themselves and their own times. The workouts are certainly not without risks and injury is common for newbies. But being the kind of person that loves to try all things fitness I decided to give it a try.
I returned to New York over Christmas to see Family and friends and I was able to seek out a session at CrossFitNY. I arranged an induction with my coach and the first session I really just observed. It was totally different to anything I had done before but I was excited (if not a little daunted) about trying it out myself.
There were a number of newbies like myself but a lot of very serious athletes there too that had clearly been doing this for some time. However, the atmosphere was friendly and I got stuck in to my circuit. There were Olympic Lifts which were my biggest challenge but also kettlebell work which was fine for me. The climbing ropes were really tough and I realised how poor my grip strength was. My circuit was short and I completed it in 20.22. But I was absolutely shattered and I have to confess, I did pick up a small injury (just a strain!). I can certainly see how this could become quite addictive and would make anyone extremely fit. However, for now I think I need to rapidly improve my fitness before returning to a CrossFit gym!