The most common thing we hear whenever CrossFit comes up in a conversation is some variation of, “Oh, I can’t do that, I’m not in good enough shape.” There’s a very good reason people think that. They are confusing CrossFit with CrossFit.
There are two very different things, but both are called CrossFit and both are run by the same people. One of those is a training modality based around High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The other is a professional sport, that grew out of the training modality. The training modality is designed so that literally anyone who wants to try it can. The sport is designed for super-human-genetic-freaks who could compete with the best athletes in the world.
Let’s start with the training philosophy, since it came first.
Per the CrossFit website, “CrossFit is constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity.” That’s it. It’s a workout program that has you doing different movements from day to day. Those movements should reflect movements you might have to do in real life. And they should be done fast and heavy, but with control. That’s the basis of everything that we do in CrossFit. Most of that doesn’t sound much different from a P90X or Insanity program does it?
The big difference in philosophies is that middle part. For a movement to be included in a CrossFit workout it needs to be functional. That means the movement must mimic something you might do in real life. For instance a deadlift mimics picking something up off the ground. The snatch or clean and jerk mimic picking something up and raising it over your head, as you might if you were putting something on a high shelf.
The other important thing to know about the movements that you do in CrossFit is that everything is infinitely scalable. If you can’t do the prescribed movement for whatever reason, a good coach will figure out something that you can do that will give you the same stimulus. If you can’t do a straight push-up, there’s five or six different movements you can do. If you can’t do a pull-up there’s at least 4 different scales you can try. No matter what your physical ability, a good coach can help you find a way to get in a great, exhausting workout.
If the name is the same and they’re doing the same movements, what’s the difference between the workout and the sport?
There are two main ones. One is a difference of degree and intensity. The other is the skill level involved in the movements.
The difference of degree is the big one. For most of us, we go to the box, workout for an hour or so, try to eat relatively clean and healthy, and we’re good. But a Games athlete isn’t working out to stave off a paunch and heart disease. They are working out to be crowned the Fittest Man or Woman on Earth. They workout five, six or more times a day. They don’t just avoid junk food, they control every macro and micro nutrient going into their body. They don’t just get 8 hour of sleep, they do sleep studies that let them know the optimal amount of rest for their specific body and metabolism.They are experimenting with sensory deprivation chambers, mineral intake, and a million other tiny factors that most of us would never think about.
The skill level required to compete at the games is the other big difference. In The 2016 CrossFit Games, events featured 300+ pound cleans, handstand walks the length of a soccer field, and pegboard climbs. At CrossFit Granada Hills you won’t see any of those in a workout. Movements you might see will include weighted and air squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and once in a while, some short runs.
Well, you might see a 300 pound clean but only after years and years of practice and if you’re going for a 1RM.
If you’re ready to check out what it’s all about, come in and try a free class.
We’ll see you at the box!