CrossFit is a tremendous workout, but one that some people shy away from. Misconceptions surround the workout, discouraging people who are new to the sport from giving it a try. In reality, CrossFit has many health benefits and can be an excellent way to meet your fitness goals. Understand a little more about CrossFit, then decide if it seems like a good fit for you.
You Will Get Strong
Perhaps the greatest benefit of CrossFit is that anyone who participates in the sport will improve their strength. This is important for not only those who wish to have enviable biceps or look good at the beach, the functional strength gains you get from CrossFit will carry over into other aspects of your life.
CrossFit uses multi-joint movements that are great full-body exercises. The high intensity increases the difficulty of the exercise even with weights that are not as heavy as those used in traditional weight training. Short recovery periods also boost the intensity of the workout.
Many people find the push-pull-legs or other common gym splits used in weight lifting to be boring. CrossFit switches up workouts daily, providing plenty of variety for a well-rounded workout without becoming routine.
You Will Boost Your Cardio Strength
Cardiovascular fitness is important for daily life, but many people find cardio workouts dull, or they are pressed for time and cannot fit in a long, low-intensity cardio workout. CrossFit allows you to get your strength and cardio workouts in at the same time. High-intensity workouts with weights help increase VO2 max, which is a common unit used when measuring cardiovascular fitness.
You Will Torch Calories
Other workouts burn calories, but it is often at the expense of muscle gains. CrossFit’s high-intensity moves using weights and bodyweight ensure that you hang onto muscle and gain strength while burning calories.
Comparing CrossFit to Spinning
Spinning workouts are a popular choice for individuals wanting to burn calories and lose weight. Spinning can be a fun workout and does burn a lot of calories, but it has drawbacks as well. For those who spin on a regular basis, repetitive stress injuries can crop up. Not limited to those who spend all day hunched over a computer, the posture required to spin can lead to a sore and aching neck and back. The pain from repetitive stress is different than muscle soreness from exercise and can have a negative impact on your day-to-day activities.
Comparing CrossFit to HIIT
HIIT classes are another type of workout that has a reputation for torching calories. While the amount of calories burned is determined by exactly what type of exercise you do, HIIT can be a good way to burn calories in a short amount of time.
The high-level intensity of a HIIT workout can lead you vulnerable to injury. While some form of HIIT is relatively straightforward, such as hill sprint, it is still necessary to warm up thoroughly before the workout to reduce your risk of injury.
There is a real risk of injury with many types of HIIT workouts. Often, the moves are not intuitive and the intensity is much greater than you are used to, which can lead to either a direct injury or an injury from overuse. HIIT workouts are best as an occasional supplement for individuals who already have a solid training base. Those new to exercise or who are deconditioned should avoid HIIT.
Comparing CrossFit to Boot Camps
Fitness boot camps can be a lot of fun, but they come with potential drawbacks. The most enjoyable benefit of fitness boot camps is often the social aspect, but that can be a drawback as well. In the boot camp atmosphere, it can be easy to exercise beyond your fitness level in order to “keep up” with other participants. This leaves you vulnerable to injury.
Another reason why boot camp style workouts are not the best choice for most fitness goals is that they prioritize cardio over strength. Even when weights are incorporated into the moves, they are typically lightweight, and more to increase intensity than build real strength. While you may feel great while you are doing the exercise, you are unlikely to see any actual improvements in strength over time.
How CrossFit Meets Your Fitness Needs
Many types of exercise boast about the calories burned during a workout, but that isn’t the only barometer of a solid fitness plan. Strength training is important to keep your body strong as you age. Whether you are 20 or 60, it is never too late to gain the benefits of a strong body.
Adding exercises that focus entirely on burning calories means that you often not only do not gain any strength from the workout, but you actually lose muscle as your body burns it alongside fat.
CrossFit allows you to torch calories while increasing strength. If you are concerned that your fitness level isn’t where it needs to be to enjoy a CrossFit workout, we encourage you to come out and give it a try. Contrary to what many people believe about CrossFit, it can be very beginner-friendly, and the people who participate in CrossFit always enjoy seeing new members.
CrossFit has some unique lingo and a few common moves. After a class or two, you will start to feel more at home in the workouts. Workouts that once seemed out of reach will be something you look forward to.
Interested in learning more about CrossFit or maybe trying a class? Get in touch. We will be happy to show you the basics, discuss any safety concerns or limits you have, and get you started. Try a few classes to decide if the workout style and culture feel right for you. We can’t wait to hear from you!