Craving Cross Fit
For months now I have been training with TRX and various materials in gyms, my garage and outdoors with items that seemed to mimic a sport that I have on my recreational sports list to learn… CrossFit. So after months of being around this recreational sport and craving to learn what it’s all about, I finally decided to get it checked off my list.
I got ahold of Corey over at Mercer Island CrossFit because I used to attend the SJCC where they are based out of and I would pass their classes and instructors everyday wondering what this sport was all about. Corey is a plethora of information and filled me in on the core knowledge of CrossFit by not only providing me with a great beginner video and a brief breakdown of what you can expect at Mercer Island CrossFit classes or instruction…
“We (Mercer Island CrossFit) offer the world’s most useful definition of fitness: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Capacity is the ability to do real work, which is measurable using the basic terms of physics (force, distance and time). Life is unpredictable (much more so than sport) so real world fitness must be broad and not specialized, both in terms of duration and type of effort (time and modal domains).
The magic is in the movements. All of CrossFit’s workouts are based on functional movements. These are the core movements of life, found everywhere, and built naturally into our DNA. They move the largest loads the longest distances so they are ideal for maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time (intensity).
By employing a constantly varied approach to training, these functional movements at maximum intensity (relative to the physical and psychological tolerances of the participant), lead to dramatic gains in fitness. Intensity is essential for results and is measurable as work/time. The more work you do in less time, the more intense the effort.
While it challenges the world’s fittest, the CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability, making it the perfect application for any committed individual, regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.
The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind. Our hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.”
Corey also filled me in on a couple of questions I had for him prior to taking on his class and this new sport…
What materials would you need or work with in CrossFit?
“CrossFit gyms use traditional gymnastics equipment such as Rings, pull up bars, ropes as well as weightlifting equipment like barbells.
We also use stuff found out all over the world, sandbags, truck tires, and anything that we can pick up and set down. We also incorporate things like Kettlebells, Rowing machines, medicine balls and dumbbells. But the best part about CrossFit is you can do it anywhere with any kind of equipment. Farmers like our grandparents use to do “CrossFit” daily as they worked on the farm bailing hay, loading tractors and chopping wood.”
I could definitely understand this type of activity immediately since I grew up on a farm bailing and bucking hay every summer and chopping wood every winter! I asked a couple more questions…
You mentioned focusing on staying safe, how do you manage that?
“CrossFit starts with technique. Once we have taught you how to squat correctly, for example, then we move on to consistency. Meaning, can you squat 10 times in a row with proper form? Then, the last component is intensity. Once you have technique and consistency then and only then do we add intensity.”
Cross Fit is listed as a competitive sport, what kind of competitions, styles are there?
“CrossFit competitions are popping up everywhere and most of them have two divisions. RX, which means “prescribed” weights and reps. That is for the advanced athletes. Then there is usually a “Scaled” division, which means less weight and reps for beginners.
Most, or at least many of the local competitions are designed to be fun and community building. Which everyone wants to win, you see competitors cheering on each other and gyms cheering and encouraging other gyms as much as they do their own athletes.
There is also the CrossFit Games, which starts with the CrossFit Open. That is a 5 week series, with one workout per week. This year there are over 200,000 people worldwide registered to compete. Each Thursday the WOD is announced and you have until Monday at 5pm to submit your score online at the Games website. Scores must be verified by a coach at a CrossFit gym.”
Filled with all this encouraging prep for the session I set out for Mercer Island CrossFit. Once there Corey went over many of the items that they do in introductory sessions with newbies. Everything from proper lifting techniques, to the different materials to use and of course the daily workout regimen and diversity of it to fit each individuals abilities. Then we moved onto actually putting these things into practice and all I will say is that even after a couple of months of marathon training CrossFit still made me work new muscle groups AND I did a pull up on my first day!
So take a couple of minutes and watch the video to learn all about Corey, Mercer Island CrossFit and how this sport will take the ability you are at and find ways to help you achieve your very BEST! Believe me, I’m sore today, which is a great way to measure muscle use.
Thanks so much to Corey and the Mercer Island CrossFit group for the instruction, examples and camaraderie. I felt like part of your CrossFit team on my first day!
What an inspirational and welcoming sport this is and I definitely suggest trying it especially since you can start at any age and any ability (and you might even do a pull up on your very first day!)