The CrossFit Craze: 5 Reasons You Need to Get In on It!

contestants are doing it, celebrity trainers do it, NASCAR drivers do it, pro sports teams are incorporating it into their conditioning programs. Here are five reasons why you should try it.
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Biggest Loser contestants are doing it, celebrity trainers do it, NASCAR drivers do it, pro sports teams are incorporating it into their conditioning programs. Here are five reasons why you should try it.

CrossFit 101

CrossFit is the "sport of fitness" or "training for the unknown and unknowable," which means we're the jack-of-all-trades of athletes. Our specialty is to not specialize. CrossFit combines aerobic conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics along with some other old-school training elements like kettlebells, rope climbs, tire flipping and sledgehammer into daily WODs (workouts of the day). We're trained to be able to run a 10K but to also do long jumps, box jumps, and pull-ups -- and anything you can do with a barbell or dumbbell, we can do it.

The sport started in a few decades ago by gymnastics coach Greg Glassman in Santa Cruz, Calif. It was used primarily by military, police and fire academy trainees, but spread quickly around California then worldwide. It's now grown into a sport of its own, and Reebok sponsors the Reebok CrossFit Games, where each July, the best CrossFit athletes in the world compete for the title of "Fittest on Earth."

As a certified CrossFit trainer and evangelist of the sport, I've come up with five reasons why everyone should try CrossFit -- at least once.

1.It's fun.

CrossFit is not like anything else you've ever done as either an endurance athletes or gym-goer. It's the opposite of boring endurance exercise or ho-hum gym workouts. CrossFit workouts, called WODs, are constantly varied so you never really repeat them. WODs are short, intense and best of all, exciting. After you've recovered from the shock and awe of what you've just done, you'll feel great and then realize you had fun at the same time. I have never met anyone who has said that CrossFit wasn't fun.

2.It will help you get you fitter, faster.

CrossFit is based on constantly varied, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which means you get more physiological benefits in less time compared doing one type of exercise at a low or moderate intensity, like going on a five- to six-mile jog five days a week. Research shows that interval training (higher efforts combined with active rest) is more effective (on a per-minute comparison) than low- or moderate-intensity workouts for boosting your metabolism and transforming your body from flab to fab. And because muscles continually adapt to an exercise load, switching up what you do is key to keep gaining additional fitness benefits.

But don't let the word "intense" scare you: WODs are scaled to your current conditioning and ability so it will be individualized for you.

3. You'll love what your body can do.

If you've ever seen men or women who are consistent with CrossFit training, you'll say, I want a body like that. CrossFit is one of the best ways to go from flab to fab. Unlike other exercise programs designed to get you pin-thin, CrossFit is designed to help you create a beautiful, lean physique that not only looks great but also allows you to do things you never thought you could. You'll have strength to do lots of pull-ups and push-ups, stamina to run for miles as well as better balance, agility and coordination. You'll feel confident about yourself and how strong and fit you feel.

4. You'll gain a new social network.

CrossFit is often referred to as a fitness cult because CrossFitters are close-knit and they often socialize together. CrossFit gyms (called boxes) are as much about community as they are a place to workout. Egos are checked at the door; everyone is supportive of each other and will help you reach your personal goals. The other great thing is that no matter where you are in the world, you'll be welcome at other CrossFit facilities. I've been to them in New Zealand, New York, Michigan, Arizona, Illinois, and Massachusetts, and have felt welcome everywhere.

5. It can help make you a better person.

There are so many ways CrossFit can improve your life, I'll share a few. It will help:

  • Improve your self-confidence
  • Make you more humble
  • Help you lose excess body fat and gain muscle
  • Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system
  • Improve your flexibility and joint mobility
  • Give you a whole new group of friends
  • Put a smile on your face!

There are more than 4,000 CrossFit affiliates where you can check it out. Use the directory to find one in your areas.

For more by Julie Upton, click here.

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