Several months ago, I was directed by my wife to read an article from TIME.com titled: 7 Workout Habits You Should Drop Now
For reasons I cannot explain, I kept this article in my back pocket rather than posting it here right away. However, as I encounter an increase in new faces at the gym, I perceive them being driven by resolutions they are unknowingly failing to achieve. I can’t help but recall this article. I don’t have permission to paste it all here, and I encourage you to read it in full at TIME.com, but I see each of the 7 points leading directly to why we do CrossFit.
The point I’m trying to make is as I read this article, each bad workout habit the author described was an exact reason why we think CrossFit is the solution to fitness problems and the answer that people seek. Or, reasons why CrossFit is the solution you need, but it’s not the solution you want. Let me translate:
- The elliptical: The author describes how this piece of equipment not only drives you mad by minute 11, but it will eventually train your muscle groups to only get better at that VERY defined set of motions. Solution, CrossFit trains the body to be really good at all movements by programming that is constantly varied and functional.
- Working out for long periods of time at a moderate pace: The author suggests that not only do such workouts never reach the target heart rate for maximizing workout efficiency, but because they take so long, you may become less likely to even go to the gym or continue exercising. Solution, CrossFit’s constantly varied movements (above) at high intensity are almost always less than half an hour long, and when done 4-6 days a week can be far more effective at producing the results you desire than your long, moderate workouts.
- Lollygagging: Come with a plan to do a prescribed set of exercises/movements and don’t delay. With CrossFit, workouts are specific, defined, and timed. Do the work for the prescribed length of time, or until you’ve finished the prescribed movements as fast as you can.
- Too much cardio: The author suggests that not enough strength training is a problem. She’s right! The CrossFit solution is periodic strength-specific days that focus on Olympic lifts as well as functional strength movements using barbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls.
- Hydrating with sports drinks: This is the only one of the seven that CrossFit doesn’t directly address, but we like water… Lots and lots of water. Throw in a protein recovery drink when finished, but follow that with lots of water.
- Doing the same exercises over and over again: Did I mentioned constantly varied? Yes, doing the same workout repetitively only means your body gets to be good at only that. Even running can lead to specialization that makes you suck at everything else.
- Going it alone: Unless you aim to only work out for two weeks and then slowly stop going to the gym, stick to the habit of going it alone. Perhaps the BEST part of CrossFit is hearing coaches and fellow athletes, who have peeled themselves off the floor, cheer you on to finish when you wanted to quit 33 reps ago. Second best, when you can’t make a class one day and to be cheered and greeted the next day by the group wondering where you were.
For more on the purpose of CrossFit, see the video below (notice it is part 1, of 2). Give it two weeks and you’ll quickly understand why you wanted something you didn’t need, and why what you need is waiting for you. Ask any person walking into the Box (or crawling out). Word of warning: Greg Glassman sometimes has a pottymouth!