“CONSTANTLY VARIED, HIGH-INTENSITY, FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT.”
CrossFit is many things. For us, it is three things:
a community, a definition of measurable fitness, and a prescription for attaining that fitness.
The community that forms around doing CrossFit workouts is central to CrossFit’s effectiveness. The shared experience of intensity and physical improvement, of overcoming mental and emotional hurdles, of knowing each other’s pain and cheering each other on…this shared experience forms an inclusive community. That’s why we tend to show up early and stay late. That’s why on Fridays, there are often bratwursts and burgers sizzling on a BBQ before the last class has finished.
If we are going to claim that CrossFit is an effective fitness program, we had better know what we mean by the word “fitness”. Here’s what we mean: your work capacity across broad time and modal domains.
Let’s break this down. Work capacity is essentially your ability to move your body weight as well as any external loads (such as a barbell, a medicine ball, your kid, or seven grocery bags). A time domain just means how long you’re going for. Is it a sprint or is it for endurance…or is it somewhere in between? And finally, a modal domain refers to the type of movement. Are we doing a lift or running a mile? Are we doing pull-ups or jumping onto a box?
So, fitness is a measurement of your ability to move weight for either long or short periods regardless of the kind of movement (or combination of movements). Sounds kind of like being ready for sport or life in general, right?
In CrossFit, fitness isn’t necessarily about getting that “beach body” or those six-pack abs. It is about being ready for athletics, adventure, and life in general. However, if you’ve seen the changes in body composition that our dedicated members have experienced, you’ll know that being fit and looking great tend to go together.
CrossFit’s prescription for achieving this fitness is a regimen that focuses on “a broad, general, and inclusive fitness – not only for the unknown, but for the unknowable” (CrossFit Games website).
We believe in the philosophy that by training for a wide variety of sports and activities, we become more generally fit. It has been said that life punishes the specialist. CrossFit’s specialty is not specializing. Regarding the actual workouts, a phrase you’ll often hear is “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement”.
By “constantly varied”, we mean that each day’s workout will be different from the next. A workout might include gymnastic movements, weighted movements, or metabolic conditioning (like running or rowing).
Because the workouts are always different, you will never get bored and will get opportunities to work on things you are not good at. Facing these challenges alongside your classmates often becomes fun. It’s not necessarily the kind of fun we normally think about, but it’s a kind of fun you can get hooked on. It’s the kind of fun that elicits tired but earnest high-fives after a workout.
Intensity in your workout is key if you want to see results. Intensity is the secret ingredient (don’t tell anybody!). As such, we make sure all of our workouts can be modified to accommodate any level of fitness so that you can reach your personal level of intensity.
With proper modifications and weight scaling, the experienced athlete and the novice should experience the same level of intensity. This is one of the reasons that such a camaraderie can form around these workouts. We’re all working equally hard regardless of the fitness we walked in with.
All we mean by “functional movement” is this: movement that your body is built to do and that actually helps you outside of the gym. The movements in CrossFit workouts help you perform better athletically, but they also make you better at doing things like hauling groceries or helping your buddy move out of their upstairs apartment.
That’s perhaps one of the cons of doing CrossFit. People will always be asking you to pick up heavy things. The pro is that you get to pick up heavy things!
So if you want to be the fittest person you can be, come try us out for free. We’ll give you a high five and put a bratwurst* on the grill for ya!
*Or veggie burger if you’re vegetarian.