At surface level, CrossFit is confusing. Will I get injured? Do I have to be fit like the people I see on TV? Can I lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks? What's the deal with all the weightlifting?
If we can slow down and look at the roots of CrossFit and understand it, maybe CrossFit will make more sense. Then we should be able to understand our own fitness goals, and see how CrossFit might actually be the tool we need to use. Let's first, 1) Take a look at CrossFit for what it is. And then, 2) Let's stand on common ground as to why the majority of people do CrossFit. .
By definition, CrossFit is: Constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity. It's aim is to increase work capacity over broad time and modal domains. Here are two great articles describing these concepts in detail by CrossFit founder, Greg Glassman. What is Fitness and CrossFit Foundations
What does all that mean, really? It means that the goal of a CrossFit training program is to be able to do a multitude of activities, for different amounts of time, regardless of your age. A CrossFit training program combines a variety of functional movement patterns, performing them at high intensity, to achieve the goal stated above. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?
You see, CrossFit differs from other fitness programs. CrossFit doesn't tout that you can "burn 500 calories" per workout, or "shed 2% body fat in 2 days" or really any other silly gimmick. You won't hear that, because those aren't the goals of CrossFit (remember: increase work capacity over broad time and modal domains). Sure you'll burn calories. And probably shed body fat too. But in CrossFit, the program is much more focused on the long term, rather than short term goals.
Have you ever thought about being active in a fitness routine for the rest of your life? Or have you thought to yourself, "I need to start working out so I can lose 10 pounds" But then what? What happens when you lose the 10 pounds? Do you stop working out? Are you "fit" then? Quit your gym membership because you've arrived at perfection? Hopefully not. See, CrossFit comes at the whole "fitness" thing from a different angle. And it's really hard to wrap your head around it. A fitness routine for the rest of my life? Yes, that's exactly what I mean. Being "fit" for the rest of your life sounds crazy, but should it be?
There are a few things you will do for the rest of your life with regularity. And each of those things will affect the quality and duration of the rest of your life. Eat, sleep, interact with people, and exercise. How you eat on a regular basis will affect your entire life. The quality and amount of sleep will affect your entire life. The quality of your relationships will affect the quality and duration of your life. And your relative activity level (aka fitness) will affect the quality and duration of your life. Mull that over for a little bit. It's all true, and there is research to back it up. That's why we strive to control those components - so we can have some control over our lives.
So that brings us to the second point from earlier. Why do most people do CrossFit then?
To.....Get in shape? Lose weight? Get stronger? Do a pull up? Really, at the core of these so-called "goals" are a couple components that CrossFit athletes really understand.
People do CrossFit to look better naked. You can laugh, [and I did too when I wrote it] But that's because it's true. I don't care how old you are, you want to like who you see in the mirror. It's true. Call it vanity, but I'd bet that every time you look in the mirror you are analyzing, to some degree, how good you look. So, dare to say, that's part of our human nature. We want to look good naked. (aka.. get in shape, lose 10 pounds, tone muscles, get stronger, bulk up, or whatever else you want)
Secondly people do CrossFit for General Physical Preparedness. Specifically, that means that people want to be prepared or capable to do a wide variety of things. Play with your kids. Participate in a sport. Do well in your job. Go on an adventure. All of these require some amount of physical fitness, regardless of your age! The guy that is bed-ridden by morbid obesity can't do these things. And that's why people love CrossFit. It helps you be prepared to do stuff!
So there you have it. CrossFit is a training program that can be done for life, to prepare you for life, and will help you look good along the way!