There’s been a lot of talk about CrossFit over the years as it has become not just a fitness phenomenon, but a mainstream sport. Among all this talk has been a lot of misinformation and disinformation, which makes it difficult to figure out what CrossFit is actually all about without doing hours upon hours of research.
Whether it’s news stories about rhabdo, 20-page meditations about the effectiveness of cross-training, or just by seeing the CrossFit games, chances are you’ve heard of CrossFit already. It’s possible you even know someone who started up at one of the gyms (or know someone who got into great shape out of nowhere.)
CrossFit gets a bad rap sometimes, so we’re here to clear the air on what exactly makes up CrossFit, and what are some of the fundamental underpinnings of its philosophy.
On the surface, CrossFit is a company, started by Greg Glassman in 2000. It’s a fitness regimen that pulls heavily from gymnastic training, while also incorporating elements of weightlifting, powerlifting, and endurance training.
What the CrossFit system attempts to do is help people achieve a relatively high level of functional fitness – something CrossFit defines as “increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.”
Which, if we’re honest, is just as dense as some of the misinformation.CrossFit does a great job of explaining that sentence on their website, but we’re going to unpack it a little bit here.
CrossFit wants you to be able to do a little bit of everything. they take a “jack of all trades” mentality to training, and as a result they try to push you in all training modalities: strength, endurance, speed, balance, accuracy, etc.
The upside to this is that the training is “constantly varied”. This means you’re not doing the same workout, or the same series of workouts, over and over and over again. Rather, the workouts change every day, and the only way you’ll be doing the same workout twice is if you try.
This means there are a lot of metabolic conditioning circuits – short, fast bursts of intense speed with constantly varied movements. This forces your metabolism to constantly adapt, making weight loss easier and increasing your work capacity.
The focus on high work capacity can make someone think that CrossFit is a fitness regimen that will get you shredded – and this isn’t necessarily the case. Sure, you can end up with a fitness model’s body by doing CrossFit and keeping careful track of what you eat, but CrossFit as a whole is more interested in making sure that you have a functional level of fitness more than anything.
They want you to be able to pick up your kids, and grandchildren more than they want you to run a six-minute mile. They want you to be able to go through life without getting hurt by the everyday obstacles that get thrown in your path; to live a long, happy, fulfilled life.
Ultimately CrossFit is a training philosophy more than anything. It incorporates strength, speed, endurance, power, balance, gymnastics — and anything else it thinks is useful, to create one of the most well-rounded training systems on the planet.
Individual gyms like CrossFit Surrey take this a step further, incorporating science and their own research into designing their personal and group training sessions, to make sure they’re getting the most out of every athlete. At CrossFit Surrey the Panda Performance Lab team is dedicated to creating the perfect environment for the athletes to grow.
Another core value of the CrossFit system is the community. In fact, it could be the most important part. Having a group of like-minded, driven people around you to support and push you through the hard days can make a huge difference when trying to pursue a true lifestyle change. Many CrossFit gyms offer personal training, but group classes are central to the experience.
There’s so much more to CrossFit than can be covered here, but at its core are the same three principles that have always been there: health, fitness, and community. That is why CrossFit has managed to explode into a worldwide phenomenon the way it has, and why it is worth checking out for anyone looking to tackle the bad lifestyle choices that really hold us back.