There hasn’t been a fitness craze this widespread in decades! Are intense competition-driven workouts what you need to get motivated to exercise? Here’s what you should to know about CrossFit.
The CrossFit brand was established a little more than 10 years ago but has really gained momentum and nationwide popularity over the past few years. While most CrossFit gyms are independently owned and operated, the type of exercise and overall environment is consistent across locations. CrossFit workouts typically include some combination of strength and endurance training, along with plyometrics, power-lifting and even gymnastics (the creator is a former gymnast).
Some locations may specialize in the specific needs of a local group of fitness buffs like boxing or rowing for example. CrossFit branches often follow a Workout of the Day, or WOD that is followed by all members.
Workouts are intense and beginners should be cautioned to take things slow to prevent injury.
CrossFit has stirred up some controversy in recent years. Rumors have swirled of violent trainers pressuring participants to compete against others or exercise beyond their capabilities. Some orthopedic experts and physical therapists complain that the intense nature of the training can subject members to some pretty serious injuries, especially if they have preexisting orthopedic issues.
Many CrossFit chains promote the Paleo Diet (or something similar to it), but since most chains operate independently, the dietary recommendations may vary. The smartest move would be to seek nutrition advice from a trained professional, such as a registered dietitian.
The intense nature of a CrossFit workout demands that participants stay hydrated leading up to and following sessions. Proper fluid and electrolyte replacement will help combat the muscle soreness that many folks complain about, especially when starting out. Proper recovery nutrition is also vital to help replenish energy stores and recover exhausted muscles so make sure to get both protein and healthy carbs in post exercise.