A lot of people wonder what makes CrossFit different. They see the pictures of tall-sock and tiny t-shirt wearing individuals lifting crazy amounts of weight or making pain faces as the push through a tough WOD (Workout Of the Day). But whether they’re able to acknowledge the effort or cringe at the sight of it, they often don’t get a sense of what we do. So let me break it down for you and tell you the difference between us and the Functional Cardio-Crazed Fitness Crowd.
Here’s what we do:
Gymnastics- Body weight movements like squats, push ups, pull ups, ring dips, muscle ups, etc.
Weightlifting- Squat, press, deadlift, and other movements with weight bars.
Olympic Weightlifting- Clean & jerk along with the snatch. Dynamic, powerful movements. Gymnastics with a barbell.
Metabolic Conditioning- You know this as cardio. Running (short sprints mostly), rowing (short sprints mostly), or combination of all of the above “For Time.”
All of these movements are performed each week either by themselves or in some combination. The effect is powerful:
I know of no other program than what we do at CrossFit to train you better for the demands of every day life.
A lot of people are talking about “Functional Training” nowadays. I usually cringe when I hear that term. I envision someone thinking they’re THE BOMB because they can do weighted back squats on a stability ball on top of a balance beam. Functional for life? I’ve never been challenged with that task in my 37+ years of living and quite frankly don’t expect it. Functional to me means movements that I’ll actually do in my daily life.
Lifting a box and putting it on a high shelf.
Chasing my 3 year old daughter.
Helping a friend move. (You’re definitely going to want a CrossFitter for this task!)
The core strength I gain from lifting heavy gives me an advantage for lifting heavy loads for distance and quickly. **QUICK TIP** If your strength work consists of a multitude of reps with anything pink and neoprene covered, you may want to find an alternative.
LSD (Long Slow/ Steady Distance)
The other fitness trend I see is one in which people confuse “going long” with stellar fitness. Individuals are spending hours on a treadmill, elliptical, bike and thinking that they’re getting fit. These are the same people who many times reward themselves for “putting their time in”- ie “I can have that cookie cause I spent 2 hours working my booty off on the bike.” Not only are the eating habits of this group typically very poor- carb load anyone? -the other problem that makes this a fat-burning fallacy is the fact that the human body is efficient. We get good at what we do. When we do it more we get even more efficient. So your long run or hip-shaking is now burning less and less calories and overall less effective than you’ve been made to believe. Don’t get me wrong, you can get rather skinny going this route. But is that really what you want? Really?
Most people have the aesthetic of a beautiful body in mind when they’re working on their fitness. All good. But I know a lot of ladies who are training like skinny marathoners and wanting to look like strong sprinters. Not likely to happen.
Here are my previous thoughts on this subject of quantity vs. quality:
Here is Mark Sisson’s take on it:
A Case Against Cardio (from a former mileage king)