CrossFit 101
What's CrossFit, and does it work?
If you haven’t noticed, there’s been an increasing number of good looking, intense people at nationwide lately. They’re focused, they’re lean, they’re fit, and look like men’s health cutouts or posters of women’s soccer players. And they’re all crazy about CrossFit, something that’s one part cult, one part intense workout, and one part lifestyle.

What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a new kind of training and lifestyle, created by Greg and Lauren Glassman, that focuses on strength and conditioning. Licensed CrossFit trainers and gyms teach you the exercises, and help introduce you to the whole CrossFit lifestyle.

And it really is a lifestyle. People who stick with CrossFit are almost all complete fitness fanatics. The kind of people who bag salads for themselves for lunch at work, and post about their nutrition and reps on web forums. Some gyms give out t-shirts for the first time you throw up at a workout. Hardcore people.

What is the Upside?
So what’s the upside of joining this apparent fitness cult? You get fit. Is that it? Yeah, but you get incredibly fit. CrossFit’s goal is to make you ready for any physical challenge you can possibly face. Running a marathon? No problem. Swimming a lake? Yup. Posting up against a guy fifty pounds bulkier than you, and a foot and a half taller? Well you won’t get pushed around any at least.

What’s more, the competition aspect of CrossFit gives people a fix they just don’t get everyday. People in the program say that it’s like college sports all over again. You’re all pulling together, but you’re all also gunning to outdo each other.

Are there Health Risks Associated with Crossfit?
Yes. We can’t give you one of those sugar coated answers that says “Yes, but”. CrossFit promises big results, but also demands big things from your body. While you can expect the usual puking and dehydration from CrossFit that an intense exercise usually delivers, CrossFit goes on further.
In fact, CrossFit users have something called “Uncle Rhabdo,” a cartoon figure representing rhabdomyolysis - the breaking down of muscle tissue to the point where it begins to poison your kidneys.  CrossFitters use Uncle Rhabdo to remind people that there's a limit to going hard.  Rhabdomyolysis is no joke - it is a condition that can lead to kidney failure and death.  It requires immediate medical attention.

Is Crossfit for Me?
Maybe. There’s no way to get around it. People at risk for kidney failure, people with severe asthma, or other conditions should avoid this kind of high intensity work, but people with a background in heavy exercise can hack it out, as it were. More here than ever, you should talk to a doctor before trying CrossFit. But we can’t deny that it looks like it has huge upsides for anyone who wants to go that extra mile with their workouts.
Posted on Aug 6, 2013


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