So many questions come to mind when somebody says, “I’m a part of a CrossFit gym.” For one, what exactly makes it different from other gyms in the area? What’s so great about it? Second, isn’t just for males because if females do it, won’t they bulk up? No female wants to be overly manly muscular!
Yeah I get it, CrossFit is a bit of a foreign world when it comes to the normal everyday gym. People have the habit of going to their chosen workout center before or after work, sometimes in between classes or on their lunch hour, to get a little sweat flowing. But do people really know what they’re doing when they walk in there? Sure, mostly everyone knows that in order to lose weight you need to get your heart rate up. Now don’t get me wrong, I am no expert and this is just my personal opinion, but I’ve found that the typical person will walk into the gym and head straight for the cardio machine of choice, whether it be a treadmill, an elliptical machine, or a stationary bike of some sort. They’ll kill themselves for twenty minutes or so, and then if they’re a female 70% of them will leave the gym and not even pick up any weight. If they’re male, they’ll do a few curls and maybe a couple crunches, but what are they doing really? The people that I see in the gym who are walking around actually lifting different weights for upwards of an hour are already jacked and muscular. What do they know that we all don’t know? How have they succeeded this far?
Let me start out with an example. Lets say you have a sprinter and a marathon runner standing side by side – how do you picture them in your mind? You are probably picturing the sprinter to be very muscular yet lean, and you’re probably picturing the marathon runner to be extremely skinny and almost lanky. That’s a perfect example of the different results you can get with the different types of workouts. Pushing yourself to your body’s max intensity (like sprints) for short distances over and over (possibly combined with some weight lifting) is going to blast the body fat you have and not much muscle at all. If you only do 6-8 fifty meter sprints, you will burn as many calories you would if you were to jog a relatively long distance. It forces your body to breathe deeper, which strengthens your cardiovascular system even quicker. It stimulates the human growth hormone, which aids in the production of lean muscle mass on your body. Fun fact: the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn doing anything. So, if you want to get the most out of your workouts, you need muscle on your body. Long distance runners are so skinny because they run for a great distance, so their body is forced to take from your lean muscle mass in order to gain energy for itself. The result? Less muscular and toned look.
If you’re looking to be super skinny, run long distances multiple times a week. If you are looking to have definition and be strong, don’t focus too much on cardio.
Let’s get back to the main bullet point of this whole spiel. CrossFit is a combination of the two, and the best kind of combination. CrossFit’s workouts are honestly anywhere from only 9-20 minutes, but they are extremely intense and full of body weight exercises that build muscle and strength as the intensity burns your body fat. These two things happening simultaneously are what make it an amazing workout. You gain strength, muscle, definition, cardiovascular endurance, and speed. You do Olympic lifts you never thought that you’d be able to do. The people around you are cheering you on as you complete that final rep or that final 100 meters.
I think CrossFit would be a great fit for anybody with commitment and the desire to better themselves.