Flexing muscles are like scurrying mice when you look at the muscles fibers under the microscope, hence, the Latin word, mus, meaning "little mouse". While we might not need mice, we need muscles for movement, posture, joint stability, and body temperature control. And in order for muscles to be able to do these, they have to be strong.
One of the best muscle strengthening and conditioning exercise is Cross Fit. But don't let the meaning of the word muscle fool you when you are doing a Cross Fit workout. The CrossFitters, as they are called, mean business when working out with weights, dumb-bells and even flipping big badass truck tires.
They. are. intense. They are nothing like scurrying mouse for sure.
So what's all the rage when it looks like it's just about lifting weights?
Cross Fit Inc. was started by Gregg Glassman in 2000 so it's not really new but it seems to be gaining more popularity lately. The training doesn't use many fancy machines or equipment. However, it consists of well rounded muscle strengthening and conditioning routines. It's been used by athletes, law enforcement officers, military units, martial artists and anyone who wants to get, well, 'STRONG' and fit.
Tiffany Washko, a blogger at Nature Moms Blog is a serious Cross Fitter so I read about her early morning workouts and words like, "WOD" and "AMRAP" often on her Facebook wall. Sometimes she's at the gym before I get up in the morning, lifting "stuff" that are twice my weight!
So I asked her a few questions about what Cross Fit and what I would need if I want to try it. Gulp.
Cross Fit: The New Rage in Fitness
1. What is Cross Fit?
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that has become very popular throughout the past few years. It is all about making you functional and fit without specializing. Runners want to run faster, weight lifters want to get stronger, aerobic/cardio exercise fans want to increase their stamina, yogis want to be more flexible. CrossFit makes you better all around at all those things. It makes you a more rounded and functional person.
2. Do you need any special skills or equipment?
Yes and no. Their are certainly some traditional CrossFit workouts that use body weight only or minimal equipment. You can accomplish quite a bit with sprints, pushups, situps, a sturdy box to jump on, and a jumprope. But typically CrossFitters also use barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, pullup bars, and and other equipment. CrossFitters use a broad range of equipment to create a broad level of fitness. Special skills are not really required. Anyone can CrossFit, they just need to scale it to their level of ability.
3. Are there anything special we need to know before starting out as a beginner? What should we watch out for?
CrossFitters work out in a "box" instead of a gym and they have a special lingo that you will need to learn. A few examples include WOD which stands for workout of the day and AMRAP which means means as many reps/rounds as possible. My advice if you want to CrossFit is to take it slow and be smart. It can be very competitive and it can be seductive to see your name high up on the leader board.
A good CrossFit box/trainer will tell you to never sacrifice good form or safety for a good score. Also crawl before you walk...don't start kipping pull-ups for instance, until you can do regular pull-ups. That may mean you have to modify with bands or ring rows for a year or even longer but you will stay injury free. Staying functional and healthy is more important than beating your fellow CrossFitters or trying to surpass your current skill level with shortcuts and unsafe movements. Don't let your ego push you into unsafe territory.
4. Is it available anywhere in any gym or is there a special facility for Cross Fit?
CrossFit is only available through CrossFit affiliates and certified trainers. They are the only ones entitled to use the CrossFit name and offer CrossFit programs. Some gyms will offer CrossFit 'style' programs and call them by other names, like bootcamp but what you are getting is anyone's guess. The downside to CrossFit is that it is typically very pricey. A membership for one person can range from $100 to $300 monthly.
5. Is there a Cross Fit trainer that we can go to? is there a certification process one needs to go through before becoming a Cross Fit trainer?
Most CrossFit Boxes offer regular group classes, specialty classes (gymnastics, olympic lifting, beginner, etc), and also personal training. CrossFit headquarters does require certification for their trainers and there are several levels.
6. Are there any websites you can recommend for more information?
Check out CrossFit.com for more information about the program and also do a local Google search to see what is available in your area. Good luck!
Thank you Tiffany! I will be on the lookout for the next Cross Fit competition you enter!
Tiffany Washko blogs on Nature Moms Blog on natural parenting. Visit her and find out more about Cross Fit training.