November 23, 2010
The biggest reason I never joined the Army (aside from being adamantly opposed to wearing the same outfit as anyone else in public) is that I’m also not terribly fond of someone screaming in my face to "push it!" "work harder!" and "go faster!" before the sun comes up.
With that in mind, I have no idea why CrossFit classes have become so appealing to me. But they have, and I’m far from alone. In fact, nationwide tens of thousands have jumped on the CrossFit bandwagon and it’s been deemed the unofficial ‘it’ fitness craze of the year.
CrossFit (or, as it often becomes with me, CussFit) is a combination of 10 modalities: stamina, power, strength, endurance, agility, accuracy, balance, flexibility, coordination and speed. There are about 50 basic exercises that are mixed and matched to create the workout of the day, and every day is different.
"Routine is the enemy," says Michael Conville, a certified CrossFit trainer and owner of Velocity Fitness on Iron Horse Drive in Park City. "The goal is to keep your body guessing so that it’s not adapting to specific movements that will lead you to plateau and stop seeing progress."
That variety is one of the biggest selling points of the program. "I’ve worked out regularly my entire adult life, but I was becoming bored with it," says Becca Pond, who recently discovered CrossFit at Michael’s gym. She has now traded her hour of treadmill time for a high-intensity CrossFit session four to five days a week. "Now I crank through my workout in 20 minutes and then I’m done for the day," she added.
The classes tend to resemble a blend of gymnastics and Marine Corps boot camp, with a dash of track and field competitions added to the mix, (and perhaps some painful cries of "This hurts! I feel like I’m having a baby out of my @!%#* shoulder!"), all done in combinations that increase strength and conditioning.
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For Becca, this intense mix is a big draw. "When I go to the gym, I go through the motions. There are a lot of workouts I just coast through. But with CrossFit, you are always working at 100 percent. And because it’s only for 20 or 30 minutes, you know you can sustain it." Becca also likes the measurable results. "In just a few short weeks of taking these classes, I’ve lost weight and I’m noticeably more toned. I look better naked."
According to Michael, Becca’s results are the norm, not the exception to it. "People are seeing such quick results with CrossFit. But it’s not just about weight loss, it’s also about stamina. They’re finding their sports are easier to do and they have more energy. It works because the workout meets you where you are, but the intensity is the same for everyone. Everyone works at their personal version of 100 percent, so it’s a workout that anyone can do."
The mix of people taking Michael’s CrossFit classes is proof this statement is true. Students include Olympic hopefuls in their twenties, grandparents, stay-at-home moms and busy businessmen and women who rush off to the office after a morning session. Which is also a strong selling point for CrossFit.
"Because every move is designed to incorporate the entire body, a full workout can be accomplished in an efficient 20-minute session," notes Michael. "You don’t have to commit to an hour or more in the gym. You can be done with your day’s workout before most people have had their coffee."
And I suppose that’s what I personally like best about CrossFit. Even though I’ve never joined the Army, I can still say I do more by 9 a.m. than most people do all day.
For more information about CrossFit classes at Velocity Fitness visit http://www.velocitypps.com.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, public-relations guru and globe-trotting thrill seeker. In a former life she worked in TV news, both as a reporter and sports anchor. She has bagged peaks on six continents, kayaked the Zambezi and Nile rivers, swam with great white sharks in South Africa and tracked mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She was once very nearly sold for 2,000 camels while traveling through Morocco.