Is Crossfit For You?

Is crossfit for you? (Photo: holbox/Shutterbox)
Is crossfit for you? (Photo: holbox/Shutterbox)

Crossfit’s been around for a number of years, but it’s only recently exploded and more and more people are curious about this intense workout—but is it for you?

“It’s a very natural, fun, intense, motivating way to get fit and connected to body,” says Dhani Oks, found of the Academy of Lions, a Crossfit gym in Toronto. As for what the actual workouts involve, he describes them as functional and high intensity. “You’re not using machines, but body weight, free weights and kettlebells—more old-school type of equipment—in a type of circuit,” he says. “The goal of the workout is to work out the entire body in a way that the body will work at peak intensity for that person.”

So one simple workout of the day for someone just starting might be five pull-ups, 10 squats, and 15 sit-ups for five rounds. “And once you’ve built up strength and intensity, you might do the same but for 10 rounds and it might take you around the same amount of time,” says Oks.

Crossfit will appeal to you if:

1. You like to keep personal score. If you are driven by results and analytics, then you may love Crossfit. “It definitely motivates people who like to know some kind of score. I find that with gym routines people are used to, like hopping onto an elliptical machine for an hour, it’s not very engaging,” says Oks. Also, when you do a bodybuilding workout at a gym, you don’t see you muscles grow day by day, he says. “But when you do Crossfit, and you do one more pull-up than you did yesterday, or you lift five more pounds than last time, the results are right there for you,” he says.

2. You like variety to keep you interested in your workout. “Crossfit is based on variety, as life is very variable with things coming at you that you don’t expect, so Crossfit is to help prepare you for that variety,” says Oks.  That said, with the workout of the day varying from day to day and week to week, he does note that every six to eight weeks at Academy of Lions, they repeat a workout. “This is so you can see if you’re doing better. So there’s a huge amount of variety, but also there’s also consistency so we can compare ourselves to ourselves,” he explains.

3. You want an efficient workout. Rather than toil away hours running training for a marathon, you’d rather just get your workout done in the limited amount of time you have. A typical Crossfit workout will last an hour. “The workout of the day itself can last anywhere from five to 25 minutes, but before that we are doing a proper warm up, and working on flexibility and skill training so we’re prepared for the workout,” says Oks. He calls the workout the dessert. “it’s what gets people really motivated—but before it, we have to work on the fundamental things, to make sure we don’t get injured. We want to give them the best-case scenario for the workout,” he explains.

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