Last weekend I had a chance to watch the 2014 CrossFit Games on ESPN. In a word, Wow! I've watched it every year it's aired, and each season they take it up to a whole new level.
They say the athletes are the "Fittest Men and Women on Earth." It's probably true. There are certainly some amazing athletes doing triathlons, ultra endurance runs, and the Ninja Warrior series on NBC right now. But nowhere else are they moving not just their bodies, but significant weights too, and doing it quickly, repeatedly, over such a wide variety of challenges.
The philosophy behind CrossFit is not specialize in any one event or sport. Instead, they train as generalists, preparing for a variety of challenges. It's a good philosophy that has led to wide acceptance across the globe. CrossFit gyms have popped up all over, from what they call "boxes" with minimal equipment, to full scale centers that add this style of training to their traditional equipment.
I've been aware of CrossFit for about eight years now. For three years or so, most of my personal workouts were CrossFit routines, and I used them for many of our Boot Camp group workouts too. Over the past couple years, I've pulled back a little bit though. As a trainer with an M.A. in Exercise Physiology, I've come to feel that a couple of these workouts a week is more than enough for most people. At 52, it's sufficient for me too.
While it's true that CrossFit allows (and encourages) you to scale the weights down to fit your fitness level, I think it might be a little much for the average person, especially if they're a little older, or have shoulder, knee, or back issues. Balancing this style of training with other less intense workouts seems to work better for the larger population, and for our Boot Camps as well.
Still, there's nothing like a CrossFit style workout to push you. And if you're wanting to improve your overall athletic performance, there's probably nothing better. I would caution you to take it easy, and not push too hard too soon, because that can lead to injuries. It's also extremely important to learn the proper techniques, especially for the Olympic Lifts with the barbell, for this can help keep you safe.
That being said, if you're wanting to see something special, I'd encourage you to look for replays of the 2014 CrossFit Games on ESPN. These are the best of the best in the world, both men and women, and you will be amazed at what they can do.
This week, I wanted to give our Boot Camp warriors a little feel of the games so I cooked up several new workouts for them. They're a little long, compared to most CrossFit workouts, but Boot Camp is 30-45 minutes. This workout definitely left them feeling smoked! Here's the first one that they did Monday night:
1. Run 1/4 mile
2. 30 pull-ups (modified if necessary)
3. 40 Wall Ball shots
4. Row 500 meters
5. 50 push-ups (modified if necessary)
As you can imagine, this wasn't easy. It took me all of 35:36, going full bore, and there were a couple times I had to pause, during the last round. If you decide to try it, make sure you know how to do everything correctly, and that you pace yourself the first time. Also, make sure you've had something to eat about 45 minutes before working out!
This week's Biggest Losers are learning how to push themselves too. Our Week Two winner was Mark Clark, who lost an amazing 11.8 lbs and 3.2% of his body weight. Brian Blair finished second, losing 6.6 lbs and 2.1%, and third place went to Shelly Borchers, who lost 4.0 lbs and 2.0%.