Love it, loathe it, or just don’t know much about it, CrossFit is growing massively in popularity, from its inception in 2000 to today.

An increasing number of people are participating globally in Workouts of the Day, or ‘WODs’, to get fit, have fun and test their abilities.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is constant and varied functional movement (argue between yourselves as to what ‘functional’ means) across a range of fitness disciplines including gymnastics, weightlifting, running and rowing.

It’s a holistic approach, challenging the body to adapt through a variety of stimulus. Nothing is trained in isolation and you’re only as fit as your ability across all components of fitness.

CrossFit encourages athletes to work on their weaknesses in order to raise their overall game. The workouts are scalable by ability and everyone is considered an athlete.

Sounds good right?

Not to everyone. CrossFit has its critics… many of them in fact and, in truth, it isn’t for everyone.

I started CrossFit when my own training hit a plateau. As much as I love fitness as a professional, personally I was bored. I looked good but didn’t feel like I was achieving anything.

Naturally competitive, I realised I needed something to challenge me to push myself and body further. A friend suggested CrossFit, I found a CrossFit ‘box’ in East London and the rest, as they say, is history…

How CrossFit differs

If social media is anything to go by, fitness today is rapid body transformations, big butts, tiny waists, huge biceps and washboard abs. And while this may provide motivation for some to get and stay healthy, it has the opposite effect on others.

reasons to love crossfit_2This isn’t to say people shouldn’t be proud of their achievements, as a fan of the lean muscular look I know it takes a huge level of dedication to get and stay shredded, however the disproportionate focus on this as a fitness outcome immediately alienates about 80% of the population from even trying and these are likely the people who need fitness inspiration the most.

While there are many strong muscular bodies in CrossFit, aesthetics are not the sole objective. Fit looking bodies are as much a by-product of lifestyle and training and there is no ‘off season’.

CrossFit myths

Despite its growth in popularity and appeal, with some commercial gyms offering CrossFit style classes, CrossFit continues to be surrounded by myths.  I’ll bust my favourites now.

1. It’s dangerous

Crossing the road is dangerous if you don’t look both ways. It’s not to say you can’t get hurt as with any fitness programme, if poorly executed. And I won’t lie, it’s likely you’ll get some impressive bruises, but don’t be put off. Look for a good coach and maintain a level of personal responsibility for yourself while training.

2. There’s no progression

At worst doing CrossFit three times a week will make you fitter, and let’s be honest the vast majority of us need to get fitter. If you want to train more specifically, then work with your coach to develop a programme that allows CrossFit to support your main sport or leisure activity.

3. You have to go Paleo

Eating a balanced unprocessed diet of any kind can only benefit your health and athletic performance. Be it Paleo, Vegan, Ketogenic, Mediterranean, Gluten Free, The Zone… as long as you’re eating the correct portions and ratios for your body and goals, you’re on the right path.

4. It’s expensive

Relative to a standard gym membership probably, however a significant portion of your membership is for the coaching. With many classes limited in number, your form and technique will receive a level of attention you cannot get training independently.

5. There are lots of burpees

Unfortunately this is true!

To continue reading more about CrossFit, reasons to love it & most importantly, how you can get started look out for Part 2 tomorrow.

Connect with Expert Sophia Smith.

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