by Nicole Wilkes
Photography courtesy of CrossFit Instagram
The CrossFit company was founded by gymnast Greg Glassman in 2000. The program incorporates HIIT (high intensity interval training), weighted and bodyweight exercises to provide a complete, efficient workout.
During a typical CrossFit session, your heart rate is almost constantly elevated. Cardiovascular CrossFit workouts are especially known for increasing the heart rate— the American Council on Exercise conducted a study and found that CrossFit workouts can elevate an athletes’ heart rate to as much as 90 percent of their maximum heart rate.
This workout style is also heavily focused on strength training. Many in the fitness industry credit CrossFit with bringing the barbell back into style because it has become such a staple in the classes. This strength training, which generally focuses on the glutes, quads and upper body, pairs with the cardio workouts to increase your metabolism as you burn fat.
Each class dedicates significant time to productive and necessary warmup and cooldown sessions. These not only prevent injury, but also increase your overall flexibility and ease soreness.
If you’re pressed for time, CrossFit may be exactly what you’re looking for. Most classes only take an hour, and in that hour you’ll likely cover strength, cardio and flexibility training. In fact, most of the cardio workouts you learn in class can be replicated at home with little to no equipment and in about 15 minutes.
CrossFit workouts involve a wide variety of movements, so you most likely won’t get bored in class. These movements are choreographed under the ideology of “functional training”—meaning that they coincide with movements found in everyday life (such as picking up a child or moving a heavy table). The idea is that CrossFit workouts should make these everyday movements easier and help prevent injury.
CrossFit does wonders for those who thrive in team settings. Many note the supportive gym community as their favorite part of CrossFit classes, so if you draw motivation from those around you, this likely an ideal environment.
With about 6 students and one instructor, CrossFit classes provide personal attention and guidance similar to that of a personal trainer. This helps prevent injury and allows students to build personal connections with their instructors.
Finally, CrossFit culture is centered on tangible results. Classmates often talk about reps, PR’s (personal records) and heaviness of their weights. As you progress, you’ll see your progress in how many reps you can complete, or how much weight you can handle for a particular exercise.