I’d say trying CrossFit for the first time can be compared to the time you lost your virginity. You’re excited, nervous, fumbling and fiddling around with sweaty palms. At some point during the experience you’re almost tempted to puke! But for some reason you like it and can’t wait to do it again. In lasts weeks posts about discovering CrossFit I admitted my preconceptions were all wrong. I use to think CrossFit was just some fad workout done in a cheap warehouse where all people did was:
a) dress in the latest neon fashion
b) grunt and squeal like animals
c) run around while high five’n each other like idiots.
Well after my first CrossFit workout my wife proved me wrong. Another surprise to me during my first CrossFit workout was that CrossFit has a language of its own. A workout language with a lot of sexual innuendoes such as WOD, Box and Pistol. Even workouts for some reason have female names such as Fran, Eva and Cindy just to name a few. So how about we get started with the basics so I put together a lil CrossFit primer:
What exactly is CrossFit?
It’s a fitness regime developed by a dude named Greg Glassman. It encompasses high intensity interval training, weightlifting, calisthenics and gymnastics. You compete against yourself, others and the clock. CrossFit workouts usually consist of 3 parts. A warm up, a skills part and than a WOD. The warm up is usually some light exercises with or without a time component. This is usually short, maybe 5-15 minutes or so. The skills part is usually something like an olympic lift or gymnastic skill that you work on. Again sometimes with a time component. Then there’s the WOD baby.
I’ve heard the term “WOD.” What’s a WOD?
It’s not a piece of the male…..well you get my drift. WOD stand’s for “Work Out of the Day.” Simple as that. Every day is a new workout. You don’t do the same workout too often. CrossFit headquarters in California posts a different WOD everyday. Some CrossFit Box’s choose to use this posted workout or some decide to create their own. You could call the WOD the meat and potatoes of your workout. That’s where you’re going to sweat the most, and contemplate puking when you first start. A typical WOD will include some degree of mobility work, weightlifting and cardio.
Where do you workout at CrossFit?
You can workout anywhere. Your basement, your garage, a park ect. The majority of people join a CrossFit Box in their area. A CrossFit box will offer structured classes, proper equipment and coaching.
What the hell is a CrossFit Box?
A CrossFit BOX is a place where you do CrossFit. It’s like going to a traditional gym where you pay a membership fee and you can go there to workout. The quality, size and cost of a CrossFit box can vary. Some Box’s have all the latest shiny equipment. Other’s might just have the basics but choose to focus on different area’s of fitness. Membership fees vary so it’s important to do your research. Join a Box that you believe will help you reach your goals.
Is it a Cult?
A big resounding NO. I admit I also called it a cult not too long ago. A more appropriate word would be a community. A community of people passionate about health and fitness. A community who realizes traditional health and fitness wisdom has been wrong (ie. running on a treadmill for hours like a hamster and eating whole wheat toast is bad.) The communal aspect of CrossFit is a reason why it’s so effective and popular. You’re more willing to push yourself and stay on track when other people are around. As oppose to going at it alone without being accountable to anyone but yourself.
So what happens at a CrossFit Box?
So an example of a typical Box schedule is like this:
They have WOD or class times running every hour from 6am-12pm and then say 4pm to 10pm. So anyone that is a member of this Box can go in at the these times and complete the day’s WOD. You will most likely be doing it with others. There will be a coach instructing throughout the WOD. The coach is a certified CrossFit instructor. They will be observing technique and safety as well. You can’t just show up at 630 am. Well you can but you won’t usually be able to start your workout until 7am. Most Box’s will have “open gym” times in the quieter times of the day where you can go in and workout anyway you want.
Who are the “Girls” of CrossFit?
So the “Girls” of CrossFit are not the attention craving blondes you see plastered all over Instagram. Or as Ronda Rousey likes to say…..
The CrossFit organization has created many benchmark workouts over the years. These benchmark workouts serve to measure and benchmark an individuals performance and improvements. That’s achieved by repeated and irregular appearances in WOD’s. Many have asked, “Why are the workouts named after women?” In his own words Glassman has said “I thought that anything that left you flat on your back, looking up at the sky asking ‘what just happened to me?’ deserved to be named after a woman!” A full list of the “Girl’s” can be found here.
What’s a Hero WOD?
CrossFit has become a popular workout program for military, police, fire fighters and paramedics. CrossFit has always embraced men and women in uniform. They have chosen to honor the Heroes who gave their lives to keep their countries safe. Hero WOD’s are some of the most intense workout experiences that you could experience. You can find a full list of the Hero WOD’s here.
CrossFit and Nutrition:
The CrossFit nutrition mantra is to base your diet on:
- garden vegetables
- especially greens
- lean meats
- nuts and seeds
- little starch
- no sugar
That’s about as simple as you can get. Keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store while avoiding the aisles is a great way to protect your health. Real food is perishable. The stuff with long shelf life is all suspect. Modern diets are ill suited for our genetic composition. Evolution has not kept pace with advances in agriculture and food processing. This has resulted in a plague of health problems for the modern man. Linked to a diet too high in refined or processed carbohydrate:
- coronary heart disease
- psychological dysfunction
The Caveman model is consistent with the CrossFit prescription. If you follow these simple guidelines you will benefit from nearly all that can be achieved through nutrition.
World Class Fitness in 100 Words:
“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports” Greg Glassman.
So there you have it.
I want to emphasize this is just an absolute BASIC CrossFit primer. It’s meant for 2 types of people:
- Those who had never heard of CrossFit before stumbling upon this article
- For people who thought “crossfit” was about Caitlyn Jenner fitting into women’s clothing.
A lot of CrossFit Box’s will do things their own unique and special way serving the best needs of their members. More detailed information about CrossFit can be found on Google, CrossFit.com or CrossFit Journal.
Comments are always encouraged. Anything I missed?
Keep the blue side up.
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