Dear Fitness Coach,
My boyfriend started doing CrossFit workouts, and he is trying to get me to join him. I already belong to a gym and work out five times a week. He maintains that I will still get my butt kicked. What have you heard about CrossFit?
CrossFit was developed by Greg Glassman in 2000 as an alternative to the typical gym-based isolation weight training and cardio equipment workout. CrossFit describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement", with the goal of improving fitness, which it defines as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Workouts are typically short - 20 minutes or less - and intense, demanding all-out physical exertion”. The workout of the day (WOD) changes daily and is usually preceded by a 10-minute warmup and a post-WOD “cash-out”, which will include some core strengthening and stretching.
If you already have a good baseline level of physical fitness and no preexisting injuries, you should be able to do the scaled versions of the WODs, working toward RXing - doing the exercises as prescribed. It’s a great way of breaking through any workout plateaus or if you have become bored with the same old exercise routine. For those that are over 40 and new to fitness, or have any chronic orthopedic or health issues, this is probably not the workout for you.
Bottom line: Don’t give up your regular gym membership, yet. A number of these CrossFit boxes, as they are called, are promoting themselves with one-month discounted trial memberships, so check to see if the one your boyfriend belongs to has that. You will have to do an “on-ramp”: a 3-to-4-hour intro, where the basics are reviewed and practiced. Understand that it takes many months to master all the exercise techniques and RX a workout. It also requires a relatively high level of commitment to see results and improvement: the recommended workout frequency is 3 days on, 1 day off. If you are ready to bring your physical fitness to a whole new level, then I would definitely give it a go!