October 03 , 2011
There are several conflicting opinions and pieces of research in the fitness industry. For every weight loss, muscle building or nutritional tip that exists out there, there is almost certainly a theory that is its antithesis. However, one of the most shocking opinions that I’ve ever heard in regards to fitness is that CrossFit is a fad. Fad? Let’s take a closer look.
CrossFit is the “principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, and military special operations units around the world. Its program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Its specialty is not specializing.” Nowhere in the CrossFit program will you see periodization, or working towards a specific physical goal or event. Rather, the goal of CrossFit is to prepare you for ANY physical task at the drop of a hat. As such, CrossFit methodologies simultaneously develop all areas of fitness: endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.
The CrossFit training protocol is based upon “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.” As a result, CrossFit workouts of the day (WODs) mainly consist of an unpredictable combination of Olympic lifting (snatches, cleans and jerks), power lifting (deadlifts, squats, and presses), and gymnastics (bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups, dips, handstands, muscle ups, and levers). Though these exercises may seem difficult at first glance, each exercise and workout can be scaled and altered to meet the fitness level and ability of the athlete, from adolescent to senior.
I’ve always loved Crossfit methodologies because they parallel most of the training principles that I have developed over the years through my own experience and research. I don’t know about you, but if it’s good enough for the likes of elite units such as the Navy SEALS, Marine Corps, JTF-2, and countless law enforcement Emergency Response Teams, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that it is not a “fad”. I can personally attest to this because after working with and receiving training from members of the RCMP’s Emergency Response Team, I’ve observed that CrossFit is the ONLY training methodology that they use in order to be physically prepared for any tactical situation they may encounter.
Is CrossFit for everybody? Absolutely not. CrossFit exercises and movements require a certain level of mobility, and lots of technical skill (not to mention it’s exhausting!). But if you have the willingness to develop these areas and the guts to try it out, I’m convinced that there isn’t a smarter way to train. As a result, for the month of October (a.k.a CROSSTOBER), I will be performing nothing but CrossFit workouts as an “experiment.” I’ll also be dieting as a lot of CrossFitters do by following a paleolithic diet. At the end of the month, I will blog about my experience and results.
I’ll close with a statement from US Olympic weightlifting coach Mike Burgener in regards to CrossFit:
Endurance athletes are woefully lacking in total physical capacity. We do your stuff nearly as well as you do, you can’t do ours very well at all, and we do everything that we both don’t do much better than you can. Not very humble, I know, but true.
Fad? I respectfully disagree.