“How do you know when someone is into crossfit? It’s ALL they EVER talk about.”
When I saw this phrase not too long ago, I laughed and agreed. Then I laughed some more BUT mainly, I agreed.
Truth is, it’s no lie. For the better part of four months, I have been going to crossfit and I can’t shut up about it. I have never been so interested in punishing myself and without doubt, it’s changed my life.
So what’s the big deal? Are crossfitters just modern day hippies or is there really something to it? What is crossfit exactly and how does it all work?
YUS! YOU ARE BUFF HEY!
Imagine you’ve been hitting the weights section for a while and you’re starting to see some results. You’ve lost the man boobs and your guns need a license cos those puppies are outta control. You’re on the right track, right?
Kinda. I applaud you for getting off the couch. Good for you. And weight training is very good for you. But what if I asked you to run home after gym instead of driving? Or what if I swapped some of your scheduling around and introduced you to a few new exercises? Is your body prepared for all round punishment?
Hell no. It’s used to routine.
As people become more knowledgeable, they are realizing that a one-dimensional approach is limiting. Weight training can help you look good but that doesn’t always mean you’re in good shape. Big muscles aren’t always powerful muscles. You can be big without being particularly athletic; big doesn’t automatically mean strength, agility and endurance.
COME TO DADDY
And that’s where crossfit comes in. It’s all about being strong AND fit. Athletic AND powerful. Crossfit’s specialty is in NOT specializing.
When I went to my first crossfit session, I literally got the fright of my life when I realized how unfit I was. To boot, I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was. At gym, my body was simply used to exact movements but as soon a couple of variations were introduced, I was screwed.
WELCOME TO THE “WOD” SIDE OF LIFE
Each crossfit session is centered around a “workout of the day” (affectionately known as a WOD). Each WOD is different from the last which means plenty of variety. There are some crossfit basics you must master but I’ll get into that in a second. For now, let me take you through the hour I spend at Figure 4 twice or three times a week.
Each session usually consists of 4-10 people. As we arrive, we have a little stretch and warm up. We usually take a jog around the parking lot and abuse each other about results from our last session. If it’s too cold, we row and abuse each other.
Once we’re warm, Mr. Crossfit (pictured right) will explain how he’s going to punish us (which WOD we’ll be doing). There might be some exercises we’ve never done before so we usually spend 15-20 minutes doing some skill and strength work. This is when we practice the various movements we’re not used to. And there are many of them.
Finally, the time comes to complete our work out of the day (WOD). Here is an example:
This WOD requires you to do the 5 rounds of following exercises for time:
- Run for 400 meters
- 30 box jumps (you stand with your feet almost together in front of a box which is 65cm in height and jump onto it landing in the middle of the box)
- 30 wall balls (you stand facing a wall with a medicine ball in hand. You throw the medicine ball up against a marked area. As you catch the ball, you also do a squat)
This is just one of the thousands of different WODs you could potentially do but all of them prepare you for one thing: the unexpected.
EXCUSE ME SIR, YOUR BALLS ARE SHOWING
Crossfit is intense but it’s incredible how quickly your body adapts. I have definitely finished a session or two and felt closer to God in the process but that’s the point. Almost nothing scares me anymore and I can’t wait to push myself further.
The biggest advantage that crossfit has over traditional gym is the community element. By training in a group, you are always pushing each other in a healthy way. At the end of each session, you record your time or score on the big whiteboard for all to see. Every few weeks, you will repeat a certain WOD to gauge how much you’ve improved.
NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
When I first started crossfit, I had zero fitness which means it’s for everyone. Although intensity is the name of the game, you won’t be pushed like the more experienced guys are. A good crossfit gym helps you get into the swing of things. Ultimately, you are trying to complete the session as quick as YOU can. And don’t think this is for boys only. There are plenty women at my gym who kick my asparagus each week.
GET IN TOUCH
Make a plan and get involved. I personally live in the South of Johannesburg so Figure 4 is the closest gym to me but there are definitely other options if you don’t live near me. Google “crossfit” or ask the person who can’t shut up next time for more info.