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What Is Crossfit?

CrossFit was founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman. Some people love it and some people hate it. Especially the bodybuilding community and the CrossFit community like to make fun of each other, at least online. I personally don’t see the urge to bash each other over one common passion – FITNESS.

The best way to describe CrossFit is the following statement.

“CrossFit is constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement. The goal is to increase the capacity to move large loads over long distances, and to do so quickly.”

If you’ve ever been to a CrossFit box for more than one session you probably realized that you never repeated a workout twice. There are some exceptions like the most famous FRAN or DIANE workouts. These are workouts well known in the community where people can test their fitness against athletes like Chris Spealler who finished a workout called ANGIE in 10 minutes and 11 seconds. The workout consists of 100 Pull Ups, 100 Push Ups, 100 Sit Ups and 100 Airsquats. The goal is to finish the workout as quickly as you can.

CrossFit states on their website that its workout regime is for everyone. People who are completely new to fitness and people who’ve been in the gym for years. I found that this is absolutely true since you can adjust each exercise and lower the intensity. Let’s use a pull up as an example. If you’re not able to do a pull up, you wouldn’t be able to even start the ANGIE workout. So in order to make CrossFit accessible to everyone you simply adjust the exercises to the clients needs. Instead of a Pull Up you can have the client do body weight rows at an angle to a lower pull up bar. Again, this is just an example to show that workouts are adjustable to the client’s fitness level.

Another statement worth mentioning is that CrossFit is not a a specialized fitness program. CrossFit is designed to optimize physical performance in 10 fitness domains which are

  1. Cardiovascular / Respiratory Endurance
  2. Stamina
  3. Strength
  4. Flexibility
  5. Power
  6. Speed
  7. Coordination
  8. Agility
  9. Balance
  10. Accuracy

It is crucial to understand this because if you do, you’ll never compare bodybuilding with CrossFit ever again. One trains for looks and one trains for performance.

I became a certified CrossFit Level 1 trainer in 2012 and I was one of the first to bring CrossFit to Austria. I’ve always been a competitive person so for me it was the perfect fit. I loved competing with my friends and fellow “Crossfitters” at the gym but quickly realized that there is much more to it than just high intensity interval training for time or reps. A lot of members at the gym got too competitive and started comparing themselves to pro athletes who don’t do anything else but work on their craft – FITNESS. Subsequently they suffered some injuries along the way because their post workout game wasn’t strong and they sacrificed form for time.

That’s a very dangerous game to play especially when you’re already exhausted but you keep pushing to finish another rep with bad form. I understand that this is not the norm and that CrossFit boxes have well educated trainers to prevent clients from destroying their bodies. I also understand that there are a lot of people misusing gym equipment at regular gyms with no trainers in sight.

MY OPINION ON CROSSFIT

If you are a competitive person and care more about performance than looks then CrossFit is perfect for you. Don’t get me wrong, if you religiously work out CrossFit style you’ll be in great shape as well. I like the variation and constantly changing up the work load because it has great benefits to your overall health and your body doesn’t have time to adapt to a workout regime.

On the other hand I also see how the competitiveness within CrossFit can lead to wrong execution and technique of a variety of exercises which can do more harm than good. As long as you’re aware of the fact that form should always be number one CrossFit is a great fitness regime to do.

MY OPINION ON BODYBUILDING

I’m in love with bodybuilding because you can isolate muscle groups that you want to change. Bodybuilding is great when your goal is to sculpt the body but you don’t care too much about how much you can lift. I frequently lower the weights / intensity to perform 5 second repetitions to really get the muscle fibers to work, both concentric and eccentric.

I use CrossFit workouts as my form of cardio because I simply don’t like LISS training. That way I increase my cardiovascular endurance while simultaneously getting the benefits of working my entire body with compound movements.

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