What is CrossFit?

It’s the Fitness Craze that’s sweeping the nation!

If you’re already slightly confused, asking yourself… What is CrossFit? Then we’re about to confuse you even more! But keep on reading and I promise that by the end of this feature you’ll be slightly less confused! So, CrossFit is many things… Primarily, it’s a fitness regimen developed by Coach Greg Glassman over several decades. He was the first person in history to define fitness in a meaningful, measurable way. CrossFit itself is defined as that which optimizes fitness. It’s also the community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together. In fact, the communal aspect of CrossFit is a key component of why it’s so effective!

MASS met with CrossFit expert and organiser of the Student Throwdown Andy “The Machine” Osborne to get to grips with the sport.

Andy has been in the fitness industry for over 15 years and has a wealth of sports science and fitness certifications and qualifications to his name. He is regarded as one of the leading and most respected personal trainers and fitness instructors in the country, and is Head Coach and affiliate owner of CrossFit Leicester.

What is CrossFit and why is it so effective?

“CrossFit “The Sport of Fitness” is constantly varied, functional exercise done with high-intensity. CrossFit unlike other fitness programmes covers all the elements of fitness: Strength, cardiovascular endurance, speed, power, flexibility, stamina, coordination, accuracy, agility and balance.

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. This fitness is demanded of military and police personnel, fire-fighters, and many sports requiring total or complete physical prowess.
Aside from the breadth and totality of fitness, our program is distinctive, if not unique, in its focus on maximising neuroendocrine response, developing power, cross-training with multiple training modalities, constant training and practise with functional movements, and the development of successful diet strategies.”



So what sort of stuff would I do in a CrossFit workout?

“A variety of things! We train our athletes in gymnastics from rudimentary to advanced movements; garnering great capacity at controlling the body both dynamically and statically while maximising strength to weight ratio and flexibility. We also place a heavy emphasis on Olympic Weightlifting having seen this sport’s unique ability to develop an athletes’ explosive power, control of external objects, and mastery of critical motor recruitment patterns. Our athletes are trained to bike, run, swim, and row at short, middle, and long distances guaranteeing exposure and competency in each of the three main metabolic pathways. And finally we encourage and assist our athletes to explore a variety of sports as a vehicle to express and apply their fitness.”

How does a CrossFit gym differ to a regular gym or health club?

“A Crossfit gym or “box” as it’s called, has no treadmills or shiny machines, instead they contain barbells dumbbells, kettlebells, rowers, racks, rigs, jump boxes, wall balls, atlas stones, sandbags and the like. They and focus on running, rowing, skipping and bodyweight exercises. Unlike most globo gyms all of our sessions are headed by a coach to guide members through the class. A coach focus’s on good technique, good form and take the member from the basics and build’s them up from there. A good CrossFit box like CrossFit Leicester will teach members the importance of good movement patterns, good posture and being body aware.”

“At CrossFit we work exclusively with compound movements and shorter high intensity cardiovascular sessions. We’ve replaced the lateral raise with push- press, the curl with pull-ups, and the leg extension with squats. For every long distance effort our athletes will do five or six at short distance. Why? Because compound or functional movements and high intensity or anaerobic cardio is radically more effective at eliciting nearly any desired fitness result. Startlingly, this is not a matter of opinion but solid irrefutable scientific fact and yet the marginally effective old ways persist and are nearly universal. Our approach is consistent with what is practised in elite training programs associated with major university athletic teams and professional sports. CrossFit endeavours to bring state-of-the-art coaching techniques to the general public and athlete who haven’t access to current technologies, research, and coaching methods.”



What is a ‘WOD’?

“A CrossFit workout or WOD stands for Workout of the Day and is different every day to ensure randomised varied training. A box will each have their own WOD programming that promotes a well-balanced mix of metabolic conditioning, skill development and strength conditioning. A box will typically post the WOD on their website or Facebook page, including advanced-level (‘RX’d’, meaning as prescribed) weights, reps and rounds for men and women. The coaches show athletes how to scale the WOD down or up according to varying fitness and proficiency levels of those taking the class. Here are a few WOD basics that should help you get a better understanding of what it is and how it works.”

Results Driven

“CrossFit is a results driven community and record all of their workouts so that members can track their progress.  It encourages people to step outside of their comfort zone and challenge themselves to try new things.  You don’t have to be fit to do CrossFit.  CrossFit is for everyone and by taking part it will make you fit!  The workouts are tailored to your fitness level and experience and no matter how old or young you are you will gain the benefits that CrossFit has to offer.”

CrossFit Competitions

“But It doesn’t stop there, once you’re feeling fit and in the groove of things there’s plenty of opportunities to push yourself further.  CrossFit is not only a fitness regime but a sport in its own right.  Every year CrossFit.com hold a competition in the United States to find the fittest man and woman on earth, it’s called “The CrossFit Games”, and this year the titles of fittest man and woman went to Rich Froning and Camille LeblancBazinet.  This is a worldwide competition; however you will find local CrossFit competitions run every week/month all over the UK and Europe. The Student Throwdown is the UK’s leading student competition.”


So there you have it, that’s CrossFit! To find your nearest box and get started go to map.crossfit.com


Andy Osborne
Head Coach and Affiliate Owner CrossFit Leicester and Owner of BOX HQ & Andy Osborne Fitness Personal Training Services
www.leicestercrossfit.co.uk / www.andyosbornefitness.co.uk
Facebook: CrossFit Leicester
Twitter: CrossFitLeics


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