CrossFit, a trend that will get you results
The workout looks excruciating. In gyms across the country, people are joining CrossFit training. The training is unlike most workouts many have tried before. In CrossFit Upgrade, a local CrossFit gym in Costa Mesa, Calif., class members look like they are going through hell — they move from kettlebell swings, to box jumps, to sprints, to hang cleans, all moving around in one sweaty blur.
“They tell me I gotta get in better shape before they start because they have a certain impression of it,” said Billy Flores, a coach and trainer at CrossFit Upgrade, “You will never get in enough shape to prepare yourself for this.”
Unfamiliar equipment stretches across the local gym. Ropes dangle just above an array of Olympic-size barbells, plyometric boxes and kettlebells scattered across the floor. Even with all this equipment, there are noticeable absences as well. There are no cable machines, treadmills, stair steppers, curl machines, or shoulder presses. From the first glance, it’s obvious this is no ordinary gym.
CrossFit is a new trend in working out that has recently gained popularity among Chapman students. This type of training is best described by the slogan of the 2011 CrossFit Games, a fitness competition sponsored by Reebok last year. It declares the winner “The Fittest on Earth.” Judging by the chiseled physiques of the contestants and the feats they perform, it’s hard to argue with that statement.
CrossFit yields a lengthy list of positives, most notably the promise that it is not like other workout fads or trends. Unlike some workout programs, CrossFit uses equipment and techniques that have been proven in professional sports and kinesiology departments across the nation. Unlike other workout plans often promoted by your gym-buddy from school or your trainer at your local gym, CrossFit does not allow a person to plateau because each day is something new. Flores cited this reason as part of his motivation for beginning CrossFit.
“I would go to the gym and just like anybody else, I would plateau and get bored of it. You don’t plateau– its always changing, never the same. It always keeps it interesting. Some days it’s strictly strength, other days cardio. Some days it’s strict olympic lifting,” said Flores.
People applaud its benefits for giving those who train the best results that apply to real life situations, giving impressive physical change in short amounts of time and by being a great tool for athletes.
“It gives you an awareness of your body. New skill, new strength, and the ability to do stuff you were never able to do before,” Flores said.
CrossFit has begun to move throughout the athletic community because of its many benefits – a trend that can even be seen in athletes here at Chapman.
“I got into training three years ago after contemplating playing lacrosse at Chapman. CrossFit was something I tried in part of my conditioning,” said Christina Chan, a senior communication studies major and member of the women’s lacrosse team.
CrossFit takes its training from exercises that already exist, but combines them in a competitive atmosphere. It incorporates Olympic weightlifting movements, such as the Hang Clean, Snatch and Jerk, but also makes use of plyometric exercises and circuit training. This combination of exercises, combined with an impressive speed, produces the results that athletes like Chan.
“It definitely makes me more athletic. I have higher speed without losing stamina. As a midfielder that is a trait that is essential,” Chan said. “Those who train with this method notice that they not only gain size and strength, but also improve speed, balance and cardiovascular health, often returning in some of their best shape compared to their peers.”
CrossFit has caught on particularly within mixed martial arts communities or “MMA.” It is seen as a great way to get a person in fighting shape and help underweight people gain muscle, as well assist overweight fighters in shedding those extra pounds.
However, CrossFit is not only for those looking to improve their performance on the field. CrossFit has attracted common college students due to its fun, energetic and cooperative style.
“In college, I struggled to find something that I could really get into. A few months ago, I met a friend and saw everything he posted on Facebook and wanted to check it out,” senior graphic design major Ashley Oster said. “CrossFit is relatively short compared to other workouts, but it burns more calories and produces better results. Exercise also allows me to destress. The workouts are always a new challenge and I like the competitive aspect.”
Students have cited these two benefits as key to squeezing workouts into their daily routine as well as being a great way to burn calories from poor quality of a college diet and late nights of binge drinking. Ruben Almanza, an environmental toxicology major at University of California, Davis and member of University of California, Davis’ fight team, noted the benefits of CrossFit for the average college student.
“Benefits for a college student include canceling out the thousands of calories consumed the weekend before on binge drinking and [poor] dining hall food, and released stress from academics and toned muscles” Almanza said.
Even with its vast amount of benefits, the high intensity and vigorous exercises involved make it dangerous when not coached by a professional.
“I definitely don’t think CrossFit is something for all college students. It is a controversial workout that leaves people highly prone to injury, so only experienced athletes should take part in it,” sophomore business major and MMA enthusiast Julien Solomita said.
Despite the warning, the benefits of CrossFit are hard to ignore. With such an enthusiastic fan base, the rapidly-growing workout trend can only go up from here.