Hi, Jody Kriss here, entrepreneur and Crossfit evangelist! There are a lot of reasons why the opportunity was there for Crossfit to revolutionize the world of fitness and there is so much to learn from it as a fitness enthusiast and an entrepreneur. So many aspects of Crossfit’s philosophy just make more sense than the old-fashioned ways of getting and staying fit. You really have to compare the standard ways of getting fit before and after Crossfit to appreciate the differences.
What is Crossfit All About
First, fitness classes at a Crossfit boxes are by definition a group activity that focuses both on strength and cardio fitness. Before Crossfit, gyms were organized in a way that made cardio exercise and strength training separate activities. Gyms were basically organized into three separate areas: weights, cardio and the classes. The classes offered instruction but seemed to cater largely to women and emphasized things like yoga, pilates and spin. In other words things that weren’t focused on strength. Also, cardio classes were focused on endurance rather than maximum effort for short periods of time — marathons not sprints.
Strength Training In Crossfit
Strength training was a relatively solitary activity gym-goers did by themselves in the free weight area. The serious weight lifters were prepared — they all had their headphones on and their music device pre-programmed with their favorite mix so they could completely ignore everyone else in the gym. And weight-lifters had to know exactly what they were doing because there was no one there to instruct them. There was also a huge conundrum if you needed help – the gym did have staff there to help you but they were all personal trainers on floor rotation and they were just there to find new personal training clients. They’d offer advice but with strings attached. You then had to figure out how to get away from them and decline their offer for services. Even when the gyms forced them to be subtle you still understood their motive for offering advice.
So before Crossfit, lifting weights was relatively solitary, cardio was aimed at losing weight rather than being athletic and classes were mainly designed for girls. Before Crossfit I never saw a class at a gym that used heavy weights and focused on explosive athletic movements. You would typically see weight lifters at the gym lift a weight a few times and then look at their watch while they waited for the next time they would lift it. Cardio was never part of strength training.
The Crossfit Mindset
Crossfit’s philosophy is totally different. First, the workouts emphasize power and explosiveness. They’re also constantly varied — there’s no more “chest and tri’s day, legs day and back and arms days” where you repeat the same exercises ad nauseum in the same muscle combinations. Also, there is instruction — every class has a coach that teaches the athletes how to improve their form and guides the WOD or Workout of the Day.