CrossFit What is it ? Why you Should Give it a Try.
What is CrossFit
To start I would like to explain to you the whole CrossFit phenomenon. It was started by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000. They have put together a series of high intensity training including aerobic activity, weightlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, power-lifting to name a few. These exercises are done differently each day. The goal is to build up physical endurance and strength. The client learns to become more balanced, increases coordination, stamina and flexibility.
I was particularly interested in increasing my cardiovascular endurance as well as gain muscle strength and of course lose some weight. I average 3 classes a week. Each class begins with a warm up or stretching for 10 minutes to loosen your muscles and prevent possible injury.
Next there is a 20 to 40 min WOD of workout of the day. In this high intensity workout often with competition. The WOD can and does include running, jump ropes, weight lifting, box jumping and more. Finally in the last 20 minutes the coaches work with the clients on strength training using weights and various stretches. Last but not least a cool down period includes stretches to work on the specific muscle groups used during the class.
Aerobic Exercise Plays an Important Role in Your Cardiovascular Health
Why Do You Want to Lose Weight?
For any weight loss and fitness program to work you need to know why you want to change your life. Is it vanity or are you sick and tired of being sick and tried? There is much more to think about than losing weight and feeling better about our size.
Why Exercise At All?
With the shifting of our jobs to more technology we are no longer using our bodies in healthy ways to keep them functioning at maximum capacity. The benefits of a regular exercise program go with you for years even after you stop your program.
Children no longer desire to play outside but prefer video games. This with the growing fast food industry in our country has led to an alarming growth in childhood obesity,
Just getting outside and being with other people keeps us more in tune with our emotional well being and helps us to connect with others. Depression can be helped by regular physical activity.
Older adults especially after age 60 can benefit from stretching and exercising. This not only helps adults maintain mobility but can decrease the onset of cancer, Alzheimer's and other diseases. Getting oxygen to each organ helps our body to produce more healthy fats and minerals that benefit our entire organ system. We feel better, sleep better and look better which increase our self esteem.
Aerobic expercise can help our complexion as sweat releases toxins in our skin. Always shower or at least wash our face well after a stringent exercize program.
Many older adults suffer from falls often caused by a loss of ability to stay balanced. Exercise aides in strengthening our core (your core consists of your abdominal, back, pelvic and hip muscles) keeping us from having unnecessary accidents or back pain.
What is CrossFit?
How a New Workout Routine Changed My Life
For years I thought if I just watched what I ate and did some aerobic exercise or even started a strong walking plan I would lose weight and tone up. UNTIL...... my daughter and son-in-law told me about a fitness program they had started that was similar in many ways to crossFit the Program that seems to be trending across the country. They told me I would never go and if I did I would throw in the towel after a week or two. That was 2 years ago and I have now lost over 20lbs and gone from a size 12 pant to a size 4.
Some of the reasons I kept going was determination on my part, a very knowledgeable and kind coach and a difference in the way I felt.
I have a chronic illness and live with quite a bit of pain. I found that when I would work out at the gym I would have less pain during the rest of the day. So much so that I would forget to take my medications.
I made other changes also and will get to those later but primarily I added a lot more protein to my diet. I try not to skip meals and recently started to take creatinine, to get over a slowing down in my progress.
Interestingly I never really changed my diet in any other way. I don't feel deprived at all. I usually workout 3 days a week for one hour.
My children like to go more often but my body seems to do best with a day of rest to help my joints and muscles recuperate.
Since I have continued to do crossFit I have found that it is very important to pace yourself, I would get into competition, started by my husband (Haha) against my children and then find myself doing more than I should. I would pay for that in the form of extreme pain later in the week and fatigue. After a severe bout with the flu I am trying to build back up and I am finding myself in pain every day I workout. I am learning not to watch others and work at the best pace for me. I am not there yet. I hope to find my equilibrium because I know the importance of exercise. I get too bored with exercise bikes, etc. This is the best form of exercise for me.
I love the camaraderie and lack of boredom but I must find my set point if, you will. It will be a slow process but my coaches are compassionate and I know I am determined enough to figure out what is best for my health and body.
Using Free Weights with the Guidance of a Trained Coach
Steps to Begin Your Health Program
- Watch your carbohydrate intake
- Start a guided exercise program that includes stretching, cardiovascular aerobics, free weights of some form to tone your body and strengthen your core or back muscles.Rest between intervals to increase the amount of fat you are burning.
- Increase your protein intake;Use protein shakes, or bars to help ( a great way to make a healthy protein shake is to use almond milk in your shake. Not only are you using less calories but getting 50% more calcium with less carbohydrates and lots of good fats for your cardiovascular system)
- The best time to add fuel in the form of protein and creatinine to your diet is post workout when your muscles are craving fuel.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night to help build muscle mass and growth hormone to work for you.
- Drink plenty of water to aid in ridding your body of toxins and aid the absorption of creatinine.
- Ask your doctor before you begin and before adding more protein or supplesments to your diet.
The Fitness Program
The program this gym uses is a combination of weight bearing exercises and actually working with weights, building up to meet your own personal needs. They mix this with stretches and hard core aerobic activity like jump rope to increase your stamina and your metabolism. I like going in the morning because I feel that the effects of the exercise stay with me all day and I can more effectively burn the calories I take in during the day.
When I first began I could not jump rope. I had residual neuropathy in my right foot from a previous back injury. The coaches were very helpful and showed me some alternative exercises. Within 4 months to my surprise and delight I picked up the jump rope again and my strength had increased so much that I was once again able to do this once simple game I played all through my childhood.
I was now hooked!!!!
Now my husband was interested and he started going with me. This added a fun dimension to our exercise and we began to make friends with the other gym goers. It is something we began to look forward too. He has knee problems that make me wonder if he should scale it back a bit but that is another story.
A typical workout starts with 10 minutes of dynamic stretching or warm up which might include some form of stretching a small amount of cardiovascular and generally getting your muscles and joints moving like a light run or walk around the gym or 150 jump ropes. The kind of warm up we perform is called Dynamic stretching in which the muscle are not held still and stretched but move and stretch to increase blood flow to the joints and muscles and this helps to prevent dangerous injury from muscles that are tight and stiff.*
Next we begin a cardiovascular workout. Everyday is different so you never get bored. Usually this exercise may have some form of free weights mixed with it.
This goes on for typically 20 to 30 minutes. Each exercise usually has a rest period of 45 seconds or more.
The third interval of the workout involves weights. They use your upper and lower body concentrating on strenghtening your core or muscles in your abdomen, back, lower pelvic floor and hip area. All these muscles work together to help you move your body with proper stance, body mechanics and keep your back and spinal cord in proper alignment.
Why Exercise Helps Your Body and Your Health by Hughshealth
The Warm Up/Try Dynamic Exercise over Static Stretching
* According to Duanne Knudson a professor at California State University Dynamic exercise is so much more effective than static stretching.
"A well-designed warm-up starts by increasing body heat and blood flow. Warm muscles and dilated blood vessels pull oxygen from the bloodstream more efficiently and use stored muscle fuel more effectively. They also withstand loads better. One significant if gruesome study found that the leg-muscle tissue of laboratory rabbits could be stretched farther before ripping if it had been electronically stimulated — that is, warmed up." Says Knudson"1
4 Balance Workout 4th of July, Warm up, Workout, Cool down
Whether you join a gym or just want to improve your overall since of well being is up to you. I am at the stage of life where I need an extra push of interval training and strength training with free weights. I have been on prednisone for years at a time for Lupus and had 2 pregnancies, one with twins. To get in the kind ot physical shape I desire at the stage of my life I need coaching and a more regimented program but every one is different. The most important thing to take away from my experience is eat better, sleep better and get active no matter how you do it.
You will see and increase in a more positive mood, better complexion, and a healthier more toned body.
References 1 New York Times
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