What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a fitness regimen developed by Greg Glassman over several decades. Glassman, CrossFit’s Founder and CEO, was the first person in history to define fitness in a meaningful, measurable way: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. He then created a program specifically designed to improve fitness and health.
CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life. They move the largest loads the longest distances, so they are ideal for maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time. Intensity is essential for results and is measurable as work divided by time—or power. The more work you do in less time, or the higher the power output, the more intense the effort. By employing a constantly varied approach to training, functional movements and intensity lead to dramatic gains in fitness.
The community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together is a key component of why CrossFit is so effective, and it gave birth to a global network of CrossFit affiliates that number over 13,000. Harnessing the natural camaraderie, competition and fun of sport or game yields an intensity that cannot be matched by other means.
The CrossFit program is driven by data. Using whiteboards as scoreboards, keeping accurate scores and records, running a clock, and precisely defining the rules and standards for performance, we not only motivate unprecedented output but derive both relative and absolute metrics at every workout. This data has important value well beyond motivation.
Overall, the aim of CrossFit is to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness supported by measurable, observable and repeatable results. The program prepares trainees for any physical contingency—not only for the unknown but for the unknowable, too. Our specialty is not specializing.
While CrossFit challenges the world’s fittest, the program is designed for universal scalability, making it the perfect application for any committed individual, regardless of experience. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change the program. The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind.
Source: CrossFit Inc.
What's the WOD?
The “WOD” is the “workout of the day.” Each day a new WOD is posted to CrossFit.com, and it’s part of a complete program designed to improve strength and conditioning. The CrossFit.com program is characterized by three days of work before one day of rest, though athletes may alter this pattern. The WOD can be scaled (adjusted) to provide a suitable challenge for athletes at any level.
Is the WOD enough? Should I do more?
The WOD is a starting point, and each athlete will need to experiment to determine what “enough” means. Top athletes training for the CrossFit Games might need additional work to improve their fitness, while new athletes might need to reduce the volume of the WOD to optimize results. The exact amount of work can be determined with the assistance of an expert coach at a CrossFit affiliate, or it can be determined by carefully logging your workouts and evaluating the results.
Part of the CrossFit philosophy includes pursuing or learning another sport or activity, and the demands of those sports will affect what you can do in each WOD. If you pursue another activity, you will need to balance your work/rest cycles and be sure to allow for recovery. Sometimes, you will need to take extra days off, or to consider a WOD as “active rest” done at a lower intensity.
In general, if you work the WODs hard, you will find yourself at an improved level of fitness.
Will I/can I get big doing CrossFit?
If you train the WODs hard, eat right and get lots of sleep, you will definitely gain lean mass and lose fat. And yes, you can build muscle mass with the CrossFit protocol.
The CrossFit protocol is designed to elicit a substantial neuroendocrine wallop and hence packs an anabolic punch that puts on impressive amounts of muscle, though that is not our concern. Strength is.
Those athletes who train for function end up with better form than those who value form over function. This is one of the beautiful ironies of training.
What is CrossFit's diet prescription?
The short answer: Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
To optimize fitness, you will need to measure and record intake, evaluate performance and potentially change intake until the desired results are achieved. This approach to diet is no different than the approach to workouts.
To start, we recommend everyone give the baseline Zone Diet prescription a try for four weeks. Doing so will help you establish measurable, observable, repeatable data on your input (food) and output (performance). Once you have completed a minimum baseline term of four weeks, you may find you have to make small tweaks to the block prescription until you achieve your best performance.
This type of measured, systematic self-observation will be the best guide as to whether you should eat any type of food or implement any diet “strategy.”
For instance, experimentation will give you valuable information on grains, legumes, dairy and salt, and it can even help you plan the frequency and timing of your meals. You may need to your adjust your food intake for your lifestyle, goals, discipline, commitment level, etc. You may choose to experiment with supplementation, post-workout nutrition, fasting, and so on. You may choose to include a cheat meal, eat more fat, consume more food, etc.
Overall, diet is specific to each individual, and he or she can optimize diet by carefully tracking input and output.