CrossFit is the fitness craze sweeping the nation but what’s it all about? We went along to get the low-down for those of you curious about CrossFit and answered some frequently asked questions.
So, what’s it all about? CrossFit is a compilation of constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity – like circuits with a twist. CrossFit fanatics would describe the sport as “a strength and conditioning program that; gets you really fit, is great fun, highly social and teaches you new skills, plus it never gets boring!”
What is the typical structure of a CrossFit class?
At the start of each class is a standard warm-up followed by a focus on body/core strength, skill or form and flexibility. Next is the "WOD" which stands for "Workout of the Day", this workout changes daily and is what you end the session with after the warm up and skill focus. For us the workout was six burpees, eight dumbbell thrusters and ten v-sits. Written underneath the workout was "7 minutes AMRAP" which translates to "as many rounds as possible" in 7 minutes, sounds pretty easy right? That's because the instructor was taking it easy on us newbies - the class before had a more complex WOD and 30 minutes AMRAP!
I’m new to exercising – what happens if I'm in a class with people of higher abilities than me?
The initial preconception that CrossFit is too intense for a person new to exercising is understandable but each exercise is easily adaptable for people with different strengths, stamina and flexibility. A regular gym goer who works out five times a week would challenge themselves by using a heavier weight during the session whereas an exercise novice would use a lighter weight that feels comfortable to them. This can be said for how hard you push yourself too – take it easy, work through the exercises slowly until your stamina gradually builds and don’t be afraid to take a little rest between each round.
How will I know how to use all of the equipment and whether I’m performing the exercises correctly?
The first step after the free taster session is the fundamentals course which consists of six 45 minute classes teaching you everything you ever need to know about CrossFit. The course covers things like how to use the intimidating looking structure in the middle of the gym, all of the exercises you could possibly be given in a WOD, how to hold weights etc. Basically, all of the important stuff to make sure you use the equipment correctly in order to train safely and get the most from your session. The fundamentals course is compulsory but it's essential to gain the knowledge and confidence before starting classes.
What’s noticeable is that CrossFit has a totally different atmosphere to a regular gym; there was a real sense of community. From congratulatory high-fives to supportive cheers - it wasn't something you see at your standard circuits class. It definitely isn't for everyone but if fitness results, support and all-round good fun is what you’re looking for then we’d recommend giving CrossFit a go!