CROSSFIT: THE NEW FAD IN FITNESS
Allie Powell / The American Word
by Lindsay Maizland @LindsayMaizland While flipping through TV channels, do you ever pause on a professional sports game, watch the athletes sprint through the finish line or make a powerful volleyball spike and question your life choices? Those athletes commit their lives and bodies to becoming faster and stronger; meanwhile, you lounge on the couch and eat a bag of chips. Originating in 2007, the CrossFit games competition contains events made up of a broad range of functional movements to determine who is the “fittest on earth.” In the past, these have ranged from dusty hill sprints to sandbag carries to ocean swims and endurance events. If watching the games doesn’t make you feel completely weak, I don’t know what will. Former gymnast Greg Glassman first introduced his groundbreaking exercise regiment, CrossFit, in 2001. Since then, the program has exploded throughout the country and CrossFit-affiliated gyms can be found in every major city, including Washington, D.C. CrossFit is an intense exercise program featuring dynamic exercises like plyometric jumps and Olympic lifts while using non-traditional weightlifting equipment such as kettlebells, sand-bags, suspension systems or water-filled implements. The program is structured in such a way that participants are challenged to do a certain number of repetitions in a workout in a specific time frame. In an interview with CrossFit Journal, Glassman
described the foundations of the grueling physical challenge saying, “The CrossFit Program was developed to enhance an individual’s competency at all physical tasks. Our athletes are trained to perform successfully at multiple, diverse and randomized physical challenges.” I have done CrossFit before, though I can hardly compare myself to the athletes of the CrossFit Games. My brief bout with CrossFit occurred during my high school gym class. Those gym classes were some of the most physically intensive hours of my life, even compared to track practice. I left the class looking like I had just sat in a sauna for an hour, complete with beads of sweat dripping down my tomato red face, saltwater burning my eyes. CrossFit prides itself in joining people of all different ages and fitness levels in a common bond of strength, so don’t be quick to be discouraged. I left class looking sweaty, but I felt like I could accomplish anything. I accomplished something I didn’t think I was strong enough to complete; proving yourself wrong is a great feeling. Lee France, a freshman at AU, has about a year and a half of experience with CrossFit. He enjoys the variety of CrossFit and “the consistent strain of muscle groups over and over and over again.” Offering some advice to beginners, Lee said, “Prepare yourselves. It’s going to be challenging but if you take it seriously, the benefits outweigh the challenges.” Group CrossFit classes are not offered at the fitness center; however, there are many CrossFit-affiliated gyms to choose from in the surrounding D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. Clearly, CrossFit is an insanely challenging yet re-
A few tips for success to keep in mind: • Push yourself but don’t push yourself too hard. CrossFit is supposed to be difficult but know your limit and work on improving every time. • Stay hydrated and eat healthy. • Ask for help if you don’t understand an exercise. • Most importantly, have fun and feel good about yourself!
warding sport; I strongly recommend that everyone interested in fitness gives it a try. A final word of motivation from CrossFit founder, Greg Glassman: “I think it’s the belief in the improvability of ourselves and each other—that you can make yourself better. You can decide for yourself what better is.”