When it comes to CrossFit, there are a number of questions that you might have before throwing yourself into this intense exercise—particularly if you’ve never properly worked out before, or indeed in a long time. For example, is CrossFit hard on your body? Can it be bad for you? And what are the risks that come with taking part in CrossFit?
In this article, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know before you get started with CrossFit.
Is CrossFit hard on your body?
Absolutely! CrossFit is hard on the body, and equally on the mind. Pushing yourself to new limits is always a little difficult. The fact is, however, that that is precisely how we encourage our bodies to change. Exercise in general is pushing your body through resistance in order to force it into adapting.
That’s how we get biceps and washboard abs. That’s how people end up with endurance enough to run marathons. It is hard on the body, but I’ll tell you what is even harder on the body: doing nothing. A sedentary life with a poor diet is FAR more dangerous than CrossFit.
Is CrossFit Bad for you?
Absolutely not. Certainly, poor form can be detrimental to your progress and even cause injury, but when done properly, with the correct guidance, CrossFit can be transformative. Yes, there are risks (which we will get to shortly), but more often than not these risks come with poor form and lack of awareness.
Taking on intense Cross-Fit training by yourself and without the proper knowledge behind you is a risk. Otherwise, Cross-Fit is life-changing.
The general mantra for Cross-Fit is “preparing your body for the known, and the unknown”.
For some people, however, the competitive nature of Cross-Fit can be their downfall. Whilst it is important to push through boundaries, it’s also wise to maintain a healthy progression without feeling the need to “show off” and push your body further than it is able to go. One popular ethos in Cross-Fit is: ‘amrap’ (as many reps / or rounds as possible). This can be transformative when applied properly, but dangerous without the proper guidance.
What are the risks of CrossFit?
As with any high-intensity workout, it is not without risks. Every time you increase the overall intensity of your workout, or indeed the amount of weight that you are lifting, you are putting yourself at an increased risk of injury. However, this is precisely why it is beneficial to take part in group exercise, with a CrossFit class, and experts who can guide you through it.
Working out alone, without experience, is riskier than joining a CrossFit gym. Certainly, you can find plenty of YouTube tutorials online, many of which are incredible. But, if you have bad habits and poor form, without an expert to screen you and fix those issues, you can end up causing yourself more harm than good over the long term. Let’s take a look at some of the most common CrossFit injuries:
- low back pain
- rotator cuff tendonitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- knee injuries
- tennis elbow
All of the above injuries are a nightmare. However, they can easily be avoided. And no, we don’t mean avoiding CrossFit altogether. In fact, all you need to do is:
- Join a reputable CrossFit gym and seek the proper guidance
- Make sure that you follow expert advice and rest properly
- Don’t ignore advice and over-do it
- Maintain a healthy diet and sleeping pattern to encourage proper recovery
Other than that, you should be absolutely fine!
What are the benefits of Cross-Fit?
With that, let’s look at some of the ways in which Cross-Fit can benefit your body and your life:
- Improve physical strength: Everyone is different, but on the whole, with consistent Cross-Fit, you can improve your physical strength tremendously. You will be continuously challenging your muscles to go beyond their current capacity, thus facilitating growth.
- Help to improve aerobic fitness: Cross-Fit is great for bolstering the amount of oxygen that you can utilise during your daily exercise, thus improving breath control and lung capacity.
- Improve agility, balance, and flexibility: Cross-Fit includes a wealth of functional daily exercises that utilises many of your muscles, leading to improved balance, agility, and flexibility.
- Burn calories and manage weight: if you want to manage your weight and burn calories then Cross-Fit is one of the most effective ways of doing so. When you see how much you sweat, you’ll know exactly what we mean!
- Improve body shape and appearance: If you are unhappy with your current weight and wish to tone up your muscles and ultimately improve your appearance then Cross-Fit is the ultimate workout. Certainly, it’s not an overnight success kinda thing…you’ll have to work hard at it and remain consistent in your weekly exercises. However, when coupled with a healthy diet, you won’t recognise yourself in a year’s time!
- Gain confidence and self-esteem: With regular exercise comes a great number of benefits. Most important of all, when you notice your body shape change and you feel stronger and more comfortable in your skin, you will gain confidence and self-esteem.
- Improved mode: Again, everyone is different, however, when we exercise, our body releases endorphins, which is essentially “the happiness” chemical in the body. In a nutshell, endorphins trigger a similar feeling of positivity as morphine. You can think of it as a safe, natural, good-mood drug!
So, is Cross-Fit hard on your body? Yes. Is that a bad thing? No. Is Cross-Fit bad for you? Only when executed poorly and without proper instruction. Are there any risks? A few yes, but again, only if you aren’t careful.
Ultimately, if you join a reputable Cross-Fit class, and seek regular guidance from certified professionals, this high-intensity exercise routine can be absolutely life-changing!