Should You Try CrossFit? High-Intensity Workouts & More

CrossFit has become very popular in the past couple of years. Many people swear by it, but this style of training has been very controversial in the fitness community.

In this article, we will explain what CrossFit is, along with its pros and cons.

It is a branded type of fitness workouts, which combines various training styles such as: Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Calisthenics, Plyometrics, Cardio (running, rowing, etc.), Interval Training... If you join a CrossFit gym, you will typically do a WOD (Workout Of the Day). It is a workout session that you and other members will do while being monitored by certified trainers. These daily workouts are usually not known until you get to the gym, which makes them challenging.

WODs are often high intensity with little rest between circuits. They combine different types of movements to help you get optimal results. A session usually lasts 1 hour, which also includes warming up. You will typically be sweating a lot and breath heavily after a session.

Since CrossFit workouts combine many different types of movements, you can easily see how beneficial this can be for your body:

  • You will get stronger by doing olympic weight lifting movements, calisthenics and other types of training styles.
  • You will learn and perform new exercises.
  • You will improve your cardiovascular system by doing high intensity training and not having a lot of rest. Thus, potentially burn more calories than a traditional workout.
  • You will feel less bored since workouts are not repetitive.

CrossFit workouts have received many criticisms among the years:

  • High risk of injury: since you're often performing difficult exercises with high intensity, you're more likely to perform a movement with bad form in order to achieve the number of reps required.
  • Poor guidance: similarly, if a trainer decides to do very complex movements for someone who is beginner, it's very likely that the exercise won't be done with the proper form.
  • Exertional rhabdomyolysis (physical exertion): it is a condition that makes your muscles to break down, releasing toxic fibers into the bloodstream. It is often developed by military or CrossFit members.
  • Budget: CrossFit boxes are usually more expensive than your traditional gym membership.

If you want to do something new, I would highly recommend you to check a CrossFit gym near you and try one workout to see if you like it. I personally like to do a drop-in WOD once a in a while. It allows me to switch things up and challenge myself.

If you're a complete beginner, you should check if there is a class for your fitness level.

If you decide to do it regularly, you need to be aware of the downsides and you need to train safely and rest accordingly.

Here's a CrossFit workout you should consider:

Let’s review what we've learned:

  • CrossFit is a high-intensity resistance training.
  • It includes various training techniques: Olympic Weightlifting, Calisthenics, Cardio, Plyometrics...
  • It can be beneficial to help you get stronger, get a better conditioning and try something new.
  • CrossFit has some known downside: high risk of injury, poor training guidance, physical exertion (rhabdomyolysis) and can be quite expensive
  • Give it a try and see if you like it.
  • If you decide to do it regularly, remember to train safely and rest.
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