I drank the CrossFit kool aid and I liked it. Awwwww CrossFit.. a heavily debated topic among the active community and fitness enthusiasts. Is it good for you? And where do you start?
I admit I was skeptical about CrossFit for the first couple of years that it was around. Maybe it was the cult like following that came off as the stereotype ego enriched muscle-head workout. Now stereotyping is ignorant and I don’t get down like that so I was open to the idea but just didn’t think it was my cup of tea.. Then slowly one by one, my friends starting drinking the kool-aid and getting obsessed with their WOD’s and I started noticing transformations in their physiques and overall outlook.
I still needed to know more, at this point all I knew was that CrossFit consisted of workouts called WOD’s (workout of the day) named after girls, featuring intense sets of Olympic lifts with awesome names like snatch, jerk, push press, and clean. I knew that these guys (and soon found out that many women) had this competitive edge in regards to constant improvement as far as their PR’s (personal records for rounds and time of workouts). I had the opportunity to work with Reebok with a focus on CrossFit, they recently made the jump to become the key sponsor of CrossFit with great timing as they lost their contract to NFL.. With the rapid growth of CrossFit, I think they will be okay. Reebok who sponsors the CrossFit games (which looks like the modern day Gladiator) has established themselves as the exclusive brand for durable functional clothing for this heavy wear and tear workout. After my Reebok experience my mind had been opened up… I needed a better taste.
So where to start? I couldn’t help but notice CrossFit Scottsdale, from bumper stickers and t-shirts to posts on twitter and facebook’s and event sponsorships all around town. And it wasn’t just muscle heads wearing this gear… attractive women, kids, and the “seasoned adults” were sporting Scottsdale CrossFit who is just celebrating their 4th year in business. All CrossFit gyms or boxes as most refer to them are not created equal and CrossFit Scottsdale is no exception with a 5,000 Sq foot facilty doubling in size from their original building. This facility includes everything from showers, refrigeration stocked with paleo meal plans from Health Ease USA, clothing, showers, lockers, office space, kitchen, and much more.
First impression I could sense a great energy and source of community. It wasn’t your show up, work out and leave gym. Everyone knew each other and was very friendly and supportive of one another. Najla Kayem, one of the owners gave me a great tour and introduction to the history behind CrossFit and their facility. I learned that no CrossFit box is created the same and each gym can make up their own custom workouts on a daily basis. After my intro it was time to get down to business and complete a “base test” to see where my fitness level and coordination was. Again, I thought this was a great feature where as many gyms have a one size fits all approach and loses that custom feel. The base test consisted of a timed 500 meter row, 40 Air Squats, 30 Sit-ups, 20 Pushups, and 10 Pull-ups all with very strict form (if form was not perfect, the rep did not count). This also gives you a taste of the intensity level of a typical class, all though it was under 5 minutes I felt gassed. From there I scheduled my first official WOD and it was on from there.
My WOD was a fun experience, a class of 16 people (classes are 4-20 members on average) everyone was happy to have me and it really felt like a network of people, a little CrossFit community made up of all kinds of characters in every profession you could imagine. During stretching and the beginning of the workout we went around with introductions and how long each member had been doing CrossFit with any highlights.
Stereotypes and misconceptions
Its common to hear people criticize CrossFit for the controversy behind people using such heavy weight. I found out right away that a great deal of time is spent on each movement with pvc pipes and weightless bars to master the movement. I gained a lot of respect knowing that you have to earn your right to use heavier weight. Also the fact that most egos were replaced with a sense of respect.
CrossFit Scottsdale’s School of Elite fitness
Another really cool feature is the School of Elite Fitness program in a whole, based off a system to improve strength and conditioning performance. This program goes beyond burning calories and includes goal planning, discipline, education, and all functional movements varied and performed at high intensity to get people working at the optimal level. Just like a karate school, there is room for constant improvement like getting a new karate belt.
Some cool complimentary services:
- Frequent events on the calendar – networking social events, charity, nutrition education, cooking classes, and more.
- Ladies only classes – Very popular ( a lot more women than I expected)
- Kids program – Teaching proper development of body control and nutrition concepts as well as facing challenges and discipline
- Full service gym and network
- Nutrition -Lectures, meal service, snacks, cooking lessons, and more
- Accountability – goal planning, measurable results
- Peer based comparisons for those who have the competitive spirit – times are written on board from every class (I know couldn’t wait to get in the gym and fine tune my new skills
- Flexibility program – focus on correcting over maintaining- Stretching to improve!
Like karate working towards your “black belt” in fitness
School of elite fitness – Goes beyond weight loss, members take on a new sense of discipline, energy and state of mind.
- Personal coach
- Private skill lessons
- Progress check-ins
- Attendance phone calls for accountability
- Before/after picture
- 60 min – warmup + WOD
- 4-20 students
- “fun” and competitive
- Building fitness, discipline, athletic skills
- Beg, int, adv, competitive
- Supportive in whatever you want to achieve
- Challenges, events, and seminars
- Friendly, positive, competitive
- Social network
- Journal guide that is provided and REVIEWED
- Showing up
- Skill practice
Functional movements at high intensity
CrossFit uses Olympic lifts, power lifting, gymnastics and other training tools. The method includes throwing random exercises together performed at a high intensity called the “WOD,” or workout of the day. Workouts generally last from 5 to 25 minutes, and the main energy system used is anaerobic (without oxygen). CrossFit exercises use multiple joints, such as knees, hips and shoulders, to perform compound movements that are executed at a much higher rate than typical cross-training program.
Based on the variety and intensity, this can be great preparation if you are training for marathons, triathlons, MMA, or an endurance race. AND probably the best workout to prepare you for a obstacle or mud race that is gaining a massive following all around the world.
CrossFit WOD beneficial for endurance running:
If you’re getting ready for a 5K or 10K, here is an example of a WOD designed that is more ballistic in nature, and will help you with your speed.
- 20 box jumps, 10 chin-ups, 10 dumbbell thrusters, and 1 minute of kettlebell swings.
Rest for 1 to 2 minutes between rounds and repeat for 3 to 5 rounds.
If your goal is the half or full marathon, try the “Barbara.” This is a WOD designed by CrossFit:
- 20 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, 40 sit-ups and 50 air squats.
Rest for three minutes and repeat for 5 rounds.
When doing any of these WODs, you can scale down the exercises—for example do inverted rows instead of pull-ups or chin-ups, push-ups can be done on your knees, and you can always reduce the amount of weight you are lifting.
Show up, don’t quit and they’ll take care of the rest
14885 N. 83rd Place, Suite 102
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Optimal Strength and conditioning program designed for maximum results