CrossFit has been around for more than a decade, but its popularity has surged lately with CrossFit-specific gyms forming across the country. What is this workout regimen and why have some people referred to it as more of a “culture” than a fitness program?
To find out, we asked Dr. Jacob Brown, D.C., Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Center of Naperville North, a CrossFit participant and instrumental force behind introducing the program to colleagues across Chiro One.
BW: How is CrossFit different from other fitness programs?
Dr. Jake: CrossFit was developed by Greg Glassman, who wanted to create a workout patterned after the most hyper-fit people. Unlike some workout programs that focus more on weight loss, core strength, flexibility or endurance, CrossFit addresses all of those. It is a varied workout system designed to make the body as functional as possible.
BW: What makes it a great workout regimen?
Dr. Jake: People often think that CrossFit is bodybuilding because it incorporates activities from that practice. But CrossFit isn't about how big your biceps are; it's about being functionally fit. Granted, most people lose weight and can get an aesthetically pleasing build as a result of doing CrossFit. But that isn't the primary intention.
What makes CrossFit great is that it focuses on 10 different domains: Cardiovascular, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Agility, Coordination, Balance and Accuracy.
One day you may be lifting for heavy mass and the next you're sprinting with sandbags. It's about increasing your work capacity; doing more work in less time. I liken it to being on a sports team or in a military training environment. The people you work out with see you struggle, challenge yourself and master specific goals. It creates a strong and supportive bond.
BW: Can anyone do CrossFit?
Dr. Jake: I've talked to many people who are very intimidated by CrossFit because they think they are too old or not fit enough. But the beauty of CrossFit is that you can start wherever you are. It is a great workout for anyone. I do recommend speaking to your doctor before starting any new workout regimen.
BW: Lifting for heavy mass sounds dangerous. How do you keep from getting hurt doing that?
Dr. Jake: CrossFit gyms are staffed with people who are certified and trained as coaches. They are there to make sure no one is doing anything dangerous. The philosophy behind CrossFit is specifically to avoid injury by making the body as high functioning as possible. That includes making sure injuries don't happen in the gym.
BW: What is it about CrossFit that appeals to you personally?
Dr. Jake: I found CrossFit when I was looking for an MMA-style (mixed martial arts) workout. It's one of those things where you can read about it and think you know what it is, but you will never understand it until you work out with the people who do it. Committing to doing CrossFit has been a life-changing experience for me, and not just for my health and fitness. I have learned more about chiropractic from CrossFit with regard to how the body works and moves.