Consider for a moment, a physical fitness methodology which has as one of its mascots a figure named ‘Pukey the Clown’. Does this training regimen sound like a viable alternative to conventional fitness programs? Well, yes and no, with an ‘if’ and a ‘but’ attached, respectively.
The Crossfit methodology is rapidly gaining momentum worldwide as a system of choice for elite athletes and those with high physical demands in life or work. It steps outside the more traditional concepts of fitness and exercise, but does that fact make Crossfit a reasonable option for the average exerciser?
Let’s consider the ‘yes, if’ case first. Crossfit is effective, certainly. The sheer number of law-enforcement, emergency service and armed forces personnel currently training in the program is a testament to its effectiveness, however all these areas typically require a fitness standard well beyond the average person in the street. If a beginner is willing to learn new movements and forsake the comfort of the treadmill or exercise bike, and if that beginner is also willing to push their exercise to a higher intensity than they may be used to, then Crossfit is definitely suitable. The results obtained will place that person well above the typical gym-goer in fitness, but will take a much higher level of determination and perseverance to achieve.
For the trainee who is not so willing to push to such a high level, we have the ‘no, but’ case. If a person is not so keen on learning aspects of weightlifting and gymnastics, and is not sufficiently motivated to push the intensity level, then perhaps Crossfit is not as appropriate. Yet, that same person is really the one who should be considering aspects of the Crossfit methodology, if perhaps scaled down somewhat.
In developing fitness, the comfort zone is the enemy. Once a person is comfortable, they are no longer pushing their limits or testing their motivation. The trainee who spends an hour or so three times a week on the treadmill usually accomplishes very little. The intensity is generally too low and the comfort factor too high. Only by pushing the boundaries can we grow, which is where Crossfit comes in.
There are no comfortable workouts, no long, slow routines. Every exercise is a challenge, mentally and physically. Trainees will be sore, they will be tired, but ultimately that is why they improve. It is the constant push and drive that puts some Crossfit practitioners amongst the fittest people on the planet.
For someone willing to push their limits and perfect new exercises, Crossfit excels. For those not so driven, perhaps the system itself is not so appropriate, but the concepts can still be beneficial. The strategies of variety and intensity can be applied to any exercises in the gym. Even the combination of treadmill and bike can yield new routines with some thought and effort, with the results following. Over time, perhaps that person will grow beyond their former comfort zone and adopt more of the Crossfit ideology as they progress.
In short, while not everyone desires to ‘meet’ Pukey the Clown in his own territory, the training concepts and methods that he brings can definitely benefit exercisers of all types and stripes.