CrossFit 101

You can't get away from CrossFit! When you walk down the street, turn on the TV, surf the internet, or chat with your buddies around the watercooler, the subject of CrossFit is all but guaranteed to come up. There's always someone in your group or circle that does CrossFit, and they love to talk about it.

But how much do you know about CrossFit? Here is everything you need to know:

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a fairly new form of strength and endurance training. With a CrossFit workout, your goal is to perform a certain workout routine within a certain amount of time. All of the workouts are timed, so your aim is to complete the workout as quickly as possible. Every time you repeat the workout, you try to beat your previous time. It's a high-intensity workout that's not for the faint of heart, but which has been proven to yield some pretty impressive results for those who stick it out!

How Many Calories Can I Burn?

If your goal is fat burning, CrossFit can be an excellent workout program for you. Studies have shown that the timed trials used in CrossFit workouts can burn around 800 calories per hour, though most workouts last between 20 and 45 minutes. The workouts incorporate a certain number of repetitions per exercise, and only a set number of exercises per training session. Instead of working out one or two muscles or groups per day, most CrossFit training involves full-body training every day.

CrossFit vs. Gym Workout

If you're looking for high intensity, CrossFit is definitely the way to go! According to Men's Health, CrossFit is much harder on your body (in a good way) than a regular gym workout. Your average heart rate is about 15% higher, your exertion level is a solid 10% higher, you spend more time actually working out, and you burn more calories per minute. While most gym workouts end up burning more calories (thanks to the longer workout times), with CrossFit, you can burn a lot of calories with far less time invested in your workout.

What a CrossFit Workout Looks Like

When you do CrossFit, you can forget about all of the exercises you are accustomed to doing at the gym. Many of the exercises you perform will be unique to CrossFit, or at least unique variations on common exercises --like pushups, pull-ups, etc. You'll find that a CrossFit workout uses primarily your bodyweight, though some weight is used. You spend a lot of time working with kettlebells, dumbbells, and barbells, and almost NO time working with exercise machines. This is actually better in the long run, as you learn to manage your own body weight, helping you to develop functional strength.

A Simple CrossFit Workout to Get Started

If you want to get started with CrossFit, here's a simple (but not easy) workout to do:

Set your timer for 20 minutes. The minute you press "Start" run to the pullup bar and perform 5 pull-ups. Move on to pushups for a set of 10, and finish with a set of 15 squats. That is a single round, and your goal is to see how many rounds you can fit into the 20 minutes. The more rounds you can fit in, the better!

Sounds easy, but it's NOT! You'll find that your chest, back, arms, and legs are all shaking and aching by the time you finish the 20 minutes, and you'll have shredded some serious muscle and burned A LOT of calories over the course of the CrossFit workout!

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