By John Woods
What is Crossfit to me? First of all, it changed my life. While working in Arizona in 2007, I was looking for a gym to workout. I typed “fitness” on Goggle, and the main site came up was Crossfit.com. The workout of the day, or WOD, was called “Cindy” 20 minutes AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) done in a 20 min time limit. The movements consisted of 5 pull ups, 10 pushups, and 15 squats. I just finished doing nine weeks of p90x, so I thought I could get this done with no problems. Twenty minutes and five rounds later - YIKES! I felt like I have been hit by a train. I was hooked, and I want to get better.
Crossfit is defined by Gregg Glassman, the founder of Crossfit, as “constantly varied functional movements done at high intensity” . I will break down the definition. "Constantly varied" means that you always change the movements and you will never do the same workout twice. It’s like having a big hopper with an infinite number of tasks filling up that hopper.
Example 1: rep max on dead lift or 10 mile run or even carrying a 50 lb. bag of dog food up stairs. Before I explain functional movements there are ten components of human movement: Cardiovascular / respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, coordination, balance, and accuracy. Every movement that we do has these ten elements:
1. Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance: The ability of the body systems to gather, process, and
2. Stamina: The ability of the body to process, store, deliver, and utilize energy.
3. Strength: The ability of a muscular unit, or combo of muscular units to apply force.
4. Flexibility: The ability of maximizing range of motion at a given joint.
5. Power: The ability of a muscular unit, or combo of muscular units to apply maximum force in minimum
6. Speed: The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
7. Agility: The ability to minimize transition time between one movement pattern to another.
8. Coordination: The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct
9. Balance: The ability to control the placement of the bodies’ center of gravity in relation to its’ support
10. Accuracy: The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
Functional movements let us function as humans. Everyone has to do these movements in order to live. We walk, run, jump, throw, squat, pull, and pick things up. Even after millions of years of human evolution, the movements have not change. From Grand Ma Ma to Navy Seal, we all have to move in different ways. Three movements that are staples are the squat, press and dead lift. All of these movements can be scaled to everyone. This brings me to what I feel is the most important part of “contently varied, functional movements done at high intensity”. High intensity in the Crossfit world is not measured by sweat, or how loud you grunt while doing a bicep curl, or even how high your heart rate monitor goes. It is measured by how fast you can get the work done: Here's the scientific facts: Work= Force x Distance, Power = Work/Time. Zumba is low intensity and therefore it is easy. Running sprints is high intensity and therefore it is harder.
Nutrition is the base of Crossfit, and that cannot be left out. I feel it is the most important part of Crossfit. Doing all the high intensity workouts in the world will not get you fit if you have a poor diet. The WOD (workout of the day) may only take 20 minutes to an hour a day, while what you eat takes up all the rest of the day. I follow a paleo diet or "cave man" diet. I eat a lot of vegetables, meat, nuts, seeds, and fats. I eat no sugar and no grains. When I first started doing Crossfit, I did not eat well. I thought that if I worked out hard enough, it really did not matter what I ate. I was dead wrong. I challenged my atheletes back in 2010 to be strict for the month. I led by example and I started on June 27. I weighed and wrote down everything I ate. It became a game for me to carry a book and scale everything I ate. If I ate out, I asked questions of how things were made. During that summer, I learned how to cook the things that I liked to eat. Sprouts became my second home. It was not easy, and it still is not but I am just better at it.
On the main site of Crossfit, you can find many videos and articles that have been helpful for me during my Crossfit journey. As a coach at Crossfit, I see people every day that change their lives by following the Crossfit lifestyle. WODs of the day are usually placed on the big white board. Then we would warm up and go over the movements. As a coach, I stress proper technique and perfect form. We make sure that everyone gets good professional coaching. Some of the WODs have female names or names of fallen Heroes of our military. To give you an example, I made up my own Harriet Tubman: 40 pull ups, 40 squats, and 40 double under 4 rounds. Crossfit changed my Life. It is a Revolution. I was on medications for high blood pressure for over 20 years. When I took on the fullness of Crossfit from eating right to the WODs, I came off the meds, lost a lot of weight, and became stronger in my mind, body, and spirit.
I did “Cindy” a week ago: 22 round of 10 squats. Crossfit makes you better!
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