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The Basics of CrossFit

CrossFit has taken the United States by storm and is intent on whipping your butt into shape. Learn what it takes to participate in this latest fitness craze.

Fitness fanatics are always looking for the hottest workouts to challenge them and help them lose weight and gain muscle. With the evolution of CrossFit into mainstream fitness, they may be able to stop looking for a while.

What Is CrossFit?
CrossFit was created by former gymnast Greg Glassman, who opened the first affiliated gym in California in 1995.

CrossFit is constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement which combine aerobics and gymnastics. The workouts are usually short -- 20 minutes or less -- but demand all-out physical exertion for those 20 minutes.

Benefits of CrossFit
Simply put, CrossFit is going to get you in shape. CrossFit isn't designed to get you huge or train you to lift incredibly heavy weights. The goal of the program is for you to become functionally fit. Your body will be pushed to its max in order to ensure you're healthy, strong and in shape.

Terms to Know
If you’re inexperienced with CrossFit, your first visit to the gym could be a bit intimidating. Outside of the various amounts of workout equipment you'll see, you’ll find poster boards with sayings that seem to be written in another language. Here’s a primer on CrossFit lingo:

  1. AMRAP -- As Many Repetitions As Possible (in a set timeframe).
  2. Box -- An affiliated CrossFit gym.
  3. Chipper -- A workout you "chip away" at, usually involving many reps and many different movements.
  4. PB -- Personal Best
  5. PR -- Personal Record
  6. WOD -- Workout of the Day. To keep things interesting, CrossFit puts forth a new workout each day to test the body. In a span of 15 to 20 minutes, you'll be asked to complete as many rounds of a specific circuit as your body is able. Since the workout level is so intense, it'll burn more calories than anything else you can do during that time.

A Typical CrossFit Workout
Hour-long classes at affiliated gyms typically include a warm-up, a skill development segment, the high-intensity WOD and a period of individual or group stretching.

Many of the workouts combine movements such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, flipping tires, weightlifting, carrying heavy objects and other bodyweight exercises. Some of the objects used include dumbbells, gymnastics rings, kettle bells, medicine balls and boxes.

The results of many of the exercises are recorded, with participants keeping track of their personal records. This provokes healthy competition. By seeing what level you're at compared to others will make you strive to reach that next level.

Before Starting CrossFit
CrossFit is going to require your body to be flexible in ways you may have never thought possible. Before you jump right into the thick of things, you should first concentrate on joint health. By developing necessary joint mobility (especially at the ankles, hips and shoulders) as well as joint stability (particularly in the core region), it'll be much easier to effectively perform hip hinge, squat, pushing, pulling and rotating movements.

Because the dynamics of the workout require rapid lengthening and shortening of muscles, if a participant doesn't take the time to develop the necessary flexibility and movement skills first, the joints might not allow for a full range-of-motion which could result in injury.

Is CrossFit right for you?
CrossFit is generalist by design and may not be right for everyone. As with many group workout programs, CrossFit isn't a specific training ritual. Even though this is one of the key points of CrossFit (their specialty isn't specializing), it may not be perfect for your specific needs. If you're looking to add bulk quickly or increase your abilities in a certain sport, CrossFit may not be right for you.

If you think all of this high interval weight training wouldn’t appeal to women, you’d be wrong. Studies show women are actually the majority, accounting for about 60 percent of CrossFit enthusiasts. Keep in mind the goal of CrossFit isn't to get huge, but rather overall physical preparedness.

Remember, it's important before beginning any workout regimen to consult your physician and make sure you're physically able to perform. At eVitamins, we've got what you need to get going!


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