Let’s set the scene a little…
You’ve heard of the whole CrossFit thing but you’re a little skeptical about what it’s really all about, right? You know people who rave about it and can’t get enough of it, but you’re a bit nervous to try it because you haven’t done many weights before, you don’t want to get too muscly or you don’t want to be the newbie in class. YET… you’ve still become a little intrigued as to whether you might actually enjoy it and you are considering popping into a CrossFit near you for a trial…
Well, let’s help you out a little by explaining some of the physical AND social benefits of CrossFit. And don’t worry, the team at Everything CrossFit had some of the same reservations before starting. Two years down the track and we can honestly say it is the best decision we’ve ever made!
CrossFit has revolutionised the way that people train by combining high intensity interval training (HIIT) with functional movements and we thoroughly believe that CrossFit is for EVERYONE. Every movement and workout can be scaled to suit individual levels of strength and fitness and the community environment that comes with it is second to none. You can read more about what CrossFit is here.
To help you all understand why we love it so much, we’ve identified 10 benefits that CrossFit provides which may not be possible when completing a workout in a normal gym.
1. Form part of a community
If you’re new to CrossFit, you’ve probably heard of people refer to it before as a cult…and for those of you who’ve been in the game for a while now, you’re probably now a proud member of that cult 😉
Don’t worry beginners, it’s not actually a cult, but your box will quickly become your family and the sense of community you gain from a CrossFit gym is a big reason why people never leave once they begin.
Unlike a normal gym, CrossFit classes breed healthy competition where everyone is working to complete the same work as the member next to them. You’ll be cheering each other on, celebrating each other’s wins like they’re your own and working as a team to better yourself every day. Don’t be surprised to also find yourself going for a beer or burger at the pub after class or for coffee on weekends. It’s important to find a balance between box time and social time!
2. Build strength through compound movements
People love to debate whether you should do ‘normal’ gym movements or ‘CrossFit’ movements if you’re looking to get stronger. The truth is that both of these options will allow you to get stronger, but in quite different ways. At a normal gym, workouts generally centre around performing ‘isolated movements’ which focus on a core part of your body. CrossFit focuses more on compound functional movements, generally completed at a high intensity.
This means that all body parts are getting a workout within most standard classes and you’ll be building both your strength and cardio endurance at the same time. You no longer will need to worry about leg day, or bench day at the gym just to work these muscle groups. But hey, if that’s the way you like to train, don’t let us stop you.
3. Improve fitness levels through unique WODs
As we just said above, CrossFit will enable you to work on both getting stronger and improving your overall fitness levels. The best part of it is that you don’t need to spend hours and hours running on a treadmill or sitting on a bike to achieve this. Through CrossFit’s ‘Workout of the Day’ (WOD), you will generally complete a strength piece at the start of class followed by a 10-30 minute workout, which continually tests your aerobic capacity through a combination of different functional movements.
Your heart rate through this workout will generally hover between 75%-100% of maximum capacity, which will drastically improve your fitness capacity over time. To prove we’re not just biased, CrossFit Journal also notes that the workouts are so effective because of their emphasis on the elements of load, distance and speed, which help participants develop high levels of power. You’ll be using a large range of equipment to achieve this as well, which keeps it interesting and challenging.
4. Your flexibility and mobility will improve
One very important thing that’s often forgotten about when it comes to gyms and training in general is your flexibility and mobility. People think they can rock up to a session and jump straight into it without stretching or warming up the relevant parts of the body for whatever workout you are doing that day. Let’s take this moment to tell you NEVER to be this person.
Poor mobility is only going to get you injured and lead to many issues down the track for your body. CrossFit coaches will lead you through relevant warm-up movements and stretches at the start of every class to ensure the right muscle groups are loosening up ahead of the session. This will allow you to safely isolate different muscle groups more safely as the warm up will start to increase your heart rate, which will allow more oxygen to flow to your muscles and will increase their elasticity.
Going in cold to workouts will increase your risk of pulling a muscle and your muscle recovery will take longer, meaning you’ll be hobbling into the office the next day. CrossFit ensures this does not happen as classes often have a strong focus on gymnastic and mobility exercises which help to increase your body’s flexibility over time.
5. Train with a dedicated coach in every class
How many times have you walked into a normal gym, stared at some of the machines and thought ‘What the f*ck do I do with that?’. Frustrating right! Or, you’ve wanted to train a particular muscle group, but you’re not quite sure where to get started…
Well every single CrossFit class gives you a trained coach who will guide you through different training cycles, focusing on different movements, skills and muscle groups. Coaches will tailor their training to you as an individual in every class too, offering you different options to scale movements you might not quite be able to do yet, or advising you on what weight to use on a barbell.
Movement briefings take place at the start of every class so each member knows what the movements and skills are. Picture CrossFit classes as a little bit of personal training within a group training environment. How great is that!
6. You will push past new mental barriers
CrossFit unlocks things in your mind that you never thought you were capable of. Workouts can be extremely tough and challenging, but the feeling of pushing through this in every class is something that can not be replicated in a normal gym.
At a normal gym, you can stop when it gets tough, skip a few reps or just finish your workout earlier than planned. With a coach and team environment to hold you accountable in your CrossFit sessions, you won’t be making any more excuses to give up and take the easy road out. You’ll push through with the rest of the class, feel a sense of adrenalin and prove to yourself that you can do it. This will inevitably lead to you working harder than you ever have before and you’ll reach new levels of both mental and physical accomplishment.
7. Your motivation levels will increase
Believe us when we say that CrossFit will become your new favourite part of the day. It’s also our favourite place to spend our Friday evenings. Smashing out a class at the end of the work week and then hanging out with some fellow CrossFitters for a beer & pub dinner is often how CrossFit gyms operate.
The culture and team training environment that is created within a CrossFit box motivates you to give your everything at every class and drives you to become the best version of yourself. Everyone is in it together and while some days might absolutely SUCK, your teammates will be there to cheer you on and make sure you don’t give up.
Combining this feeling with the social aspect of CrossFit and fitness no longer feels like a chore, especially when you’ve thoroughly earned those beers on a Friday night.
8. It is time efficient - no longer than 1 hour
Gone are the days of you having to spend multiple hours at a gym just to feel like you’ve done a good workout…or maybe you feel like you got absolutely nothing out of it. Also, WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT?
CrossFit classes are usually only 1 hour long featuring a briefing of the class, warm-up, strength piece and a workout of the day (WOD). Trust us when we say that this 1-hour class will leave you feeling more satisfied than you’ve ever felt before from slogging it out for hours in a normal gym on your own.
The programming of CrossFit classes is specifically designed to maximise your training output within this timeframe. It’s also a lot safer for your body as it won’t be enduring as many hours of inefficient training and your body will be able to rest and recover better for the next day. So whether you’re a morning or evening trainer…all you need is one hour to commit.
9. You can measure your progress and improvement
Whilst there will be new workouts and movement combinations each day at CrossFit (yay for variety), the movements and skills generally stay the same, making it easy for you to track your progress and improvement.
For example, you might start off using 10kg dumbbells whenever this piece of equipment appears in a workout. After a few months, you might have built more strength and you realise you can now progress to the 12.5kg dumbbells.
Additionally, "Hero" or “Benchmark” workouts will allow you to re-test your skills & times regularly. CrossFit gyms will generally program benchmark workouts multiple times throughout the year so you can keep track of, and celebrate your progress. Don’t worry about having to remember all your times and scores too, most gyms use an app for both booking into your classes and logging your results after each class.
10. The classes breed healthy competition
We said this earlier in this list, but it’s worth pointing it out as a stand alone benefit. CrossFit is the king of healthy competition - for both the everyday athlete and those looking to take it more seriously and work up to competition standards.
You are not only competing with yourself in class, but you are unofficially competing with other members as you push through the workout to get the best time or reps possible. This healthy competition often makes you push a little harder through those pain and mental barriers in order to try and get the best score on the whiteboard for that day!
As much as you may not like to admit it, it feels good when you win a workout or achieve a new PR (personal record), which is why we believe so much in the methodology of CrossFit classes and the communities that are built upon them.
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