CrossFit: the workout fad that should not be feared

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Olympic weights can be added to a CrossFit workout to improve strength. (SAMANTHA PELTIER/The Daily Campus)” height=”200

CrossFit used to only be utilized by the military, law enforcement and fire departments to get their personnel in tip-top shape for their line of work. But ever since the CrossFit games on ESPN became popular, it seems as if nowadays everyone and his mother are hopping onto this high-intensity bandwagon.

Some people find this new fad to be hard and difficult even before they sign up for their first class. CrossFit trainer Michael Wilson said to not let fear hold you back.

“Don’t ever be intimidated by CrossFit. A lot of people come to me and say, ‘You’re a CrossFit instructor and it looks really hard and painful and I don’t even know if I could do this.’ You can definitely do it,” Wilson, who is also an SMU senior majoring in economics, said.

One of Wilson’s clients is a 70-year-old woman with no background in athletics that he has been training for two years and says that she is in the best shape of her life. If a 70-year-old woman can do CrossFit, then the program shouldn’t intimidate a 20-something college student.

Constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement, or CrossFit, is a great way to increase someone’s fitness level. The CrossFit definition of fitness is an increased work capacity over a broad time and modal domain, which, simply put, means that the body can move more weight and do more work faster.

CrossFit is more efficient than long cardio workouts because it not only works on endurance, but strength.

“Cardio has become known as being on a treadmill or bike for 30 minutes or an hour at a time, but there are different ways to work the metabolic pathways in your body without these slow long distances,” Wilson said.

The amount of time Wilson’s beginner clients actually work is around 20 minutes. This is because of the high-intensity and efficient nature of their workouts.

One of the great things about CrossFit is that someone with any level of experience in fitness can pick it up.

“It’s all scalable. We scale the workout to your physical ability,” Wilson said.
An example Wilson gives is if he has a client that cannot complete a full push-up. Instead of letting that client preform a push-up with bad form, he modifies the push-up to a way in which the client can actually complete his reps with good form.
Beginners should be conscious of how their body is reacting to the workout. If the body is pushed too hard then it might contract rhabdomyolysis, which is when muscle fibers break down and release their contents into the bloodstream, resulting in kidney failure. This can be prevented by knowing the body and when one has worked too hard.

So if someone doesn’t need a basic level of fitness to start CrossFit, how does one prepare for his or her first workout? Well, Wilson suggests not eating two hours before a CrossFit workout. This is because the body is not used to the level of work being preformed and can purge itself.

After a hard CrossFit workout, Wilson said that healthy protein and carbohydrates should be eaten to refuel the body.

By eating smart, the workout can be completed without vomiting. Over a period of time, someone doing CrossFit might notice a change in his or her body. Wilson stresses that CrossFit does not make the body overly bulky or too skinny.

“The thing about CrossFit that I love is that it puts your body fat percentage and your muscle mass at a level [at which] you’re naturally going to look great,” Wilson said.

This may seem like a miracle, but it is actually the way CrossFit works. It reduces body fat significantly while also increasing muscle mass. The result could be the dream body that everyone is looking for.

“It makes the girls look tighter and more toned and it makes the guys look more jacked and ripped,” Wilson said.

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