We often compare fitness industry to fashion industry, because both are similar in their frequent use of trends. Being fitness entrepreneurs requires us to spend many hours at the gym, where we witness these trends as they come and go.
The CrossFit Craze
In 1999 B.C. (Before CrossFit), it was quite hard to find ladies who would agree to even come near the weight area in the gym, nevermind pulling such complex exercises as Clean and Jerk, or a Barbell Snatch. Aerobics with Jane Fonda or Sidney Crawford’s step class were at the top of the charts for women’s fitness. However, after CrossFit was founded in the year of 2000, it didn’t take long for the massive marketing campaigns to breach the Aerobics kingdom and conquer the hearts of many women.
As a result, today we have a worldwide, unisex CrossFit community that keeps adding members. The organization is majorly sponsored by Reebok that came out with a separate CrossFit line of workout clothes (speaking of fashion again).
Can You Lose Weight Doing CrossFit?
Many of our clients ask us, whether CrossFit is effective getting women fit, so let’s get right to the business.
First, it depends what you consider “fit”. If you are looking to be able to muscle a 95 pound barbell above your head 50 times in 10 minutes (don’t forget to drop it on the floor after each rep, so it makes a loud noise, the louder, the better!), then CrossFit is for you. It is clear that this kind of training requires a large amount of endurance and power and you can expect gains in these areas. However, if you care about it as much as you do about the world cup Cricket tournament and just want to lose those last 10 pounds, you may want to consider another route. In order to achieve a certain goal, your training must target that goal and nothing else. CrossFit targets athletic performance and not weight loss, therefore if people are able to lose weight doing it, it comes as a secondary effect. Weight loss is a very delicate process that requires a proper diet, certain style of exercise and the right mindset.
CrossFit and Diet
If you are looking to lose weight, you are probably already aware that diet is the key to your success. The CrossFit diet guidelines are pretty simple and require their athletes eating Paleo diet (basically, eating whatever can be hunted down or gathered from a tree or a bush). The Paleo diet mimics the way our ancestors used to eat and is great, as it advocates eating organic vegetables and naturally raised meats. This diet is very effective at keeping the overall health of the athletes. However, it does not target weight loss directly and therefore may not be the best choice when you have to lose those last 10 pounds before your vacation and you need to go an extra mile to get there. Over the years we have tested many weight loss diets and the Carb Cycling method proves to be by far the most effective one. It is similar to the Paleo diet, in that it calls for foods from natural sources, but goes more in depth with manipulating carbohydrates for the best weight loss results.
CrossFit and Injuries
Perhaps the main criticism of CrossFit over the years has been the fact that many CrossFit athletes get frequently injured. While there is nothing wrong with doing exercises such as clean and jerk, or the snatch, these are very complex movements. These exercises belong to the sport of Olympic lifting, where the main objective is to perform ONE repetition with as much weight as possible. During that one rep, that lasts fractions of a second, technique plays a big role and athletes are adamant about every little detail of the lift. It may take months before a rookie athlete can do it with a semi-decent form and takes years to perfect.
CrossFit embraced the Olympic lifts, but put its own spin on it. The main objective in CrossFit is to do as many reps as possible with a relatively heavy weight in a restricted amount of time. When you concentrate on quantity, the quality decreases and CrossFit is no exception. As a result, we get many reps of poorly performed Olympic lifts (that can be dangerous, if performed incorrectly). It’s like doing skydiving with an objective to get to the ground faster than others (I think CrossFit should consider including this into their annual CrossFit Games). Coupled with the fact that many people who join CrossFit gyms barely have any experience with weight lifting in general, and dive into the world of speedy Olympic lifting, there is little surprise when they end up injuring themselves.
You Can Be Fit without CrossFit
CrossFit fits seasoned athletes, who are used to perform Olympic lifts and are looking to challenge themselves even more (hopefully, without breaking their backs). Yanking 100 pound weights for time, has little to do with women of average fitness level that are looking to lose stubborn belly fat and look good. Of course, you may lose some weight doing CrossFit, but why use a tool that isn’t specifically designed to achieve your goal? Bottom line, leave the speedy skydiving for people in Reebok outfits and use the right tools to lose weight, if this is your main objective.