Many police academies, martial artists and soldiers train using CrossFit to improve their performance. Should you pick it up? Learn all about CrossFit and whether it suits you here.
The Gist of It
- CrossFit is a workout program that aims to strengthen your core and condition your body through various functional exercises.
- It’s mostly used by police academies, martial artists, soldiers, and athletes to improve their performance.
- It’s important to find a gym with an experienced trainer and a community you are comfortable with so that you’ll learn the proper form and be more encouraged to keep CrossFitting!
What is this fitness trend that’s slowly creeping back into our radar?
Founded by former gymnast, Greg Glassman in 2000, CrossFit doesn’t just focus on a certain fitness programme but it emphasizes on improving your whole physical state. Known as the ‘sport of fitness’, it incorporates the 10 established fitness divisions which are Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy .
What you’ll be getting from a CrossFit workout session is “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.”  Once you join a box (Gym in CrossFit term), you’ll be taught on the fundamental moves that are commonly used in their workout programs which are Front Squats, Air Squats, Deadlifts and more.
After knowing about the moves, the trainer will customize a Workout Of the Day (WOD) for you or give you a program that’s been created depending on your fitness level. What’s unique about CrossFit are the names of the WOD such as Fight Gone Bad, Angie, Barbara and the list goes on.
- It’s fun and challenging because you’ll be given different WODs so you won’t be doing the same routine all the time!
- The short bursts of high intensity training are time-efficient and improve your metabolism in just a few moves like running on the spot and burpees .
- It gets you fit faster!
- You get to make new friends with the box community and help each other in your fitness journeys.
Aren’t CrossFit and HIIT the same?
Actually not exactly, we know that CrossFit focuses on varied functional training exercises at a high intensity while HIIT uses a program with specific intensive workouts that’s done at a short amount of time with less intense short breaks in between. Both of them sound like the same thing and have similar functions but we found that:
- CrossFit incorporates some HIIT workouts in its programs but depending on the person’s capabilities, they could either do their WOD straight or do it in intervals which most CrossFitters would do and it’s how a HIIT workout works. Take a look at an example here where the author used the ‘Fran’ program.
- HIIT touches more on building up your heart rate and burning calories through high speed intervals with cardiovascular focused exercises at a short amount of time which in turn burns fat faster.
- CrossFit uses HIIT in their program but with more emphasize on weight training to preserve muscle mass. Basically, HIIT is an element that goes with CrossFit to push your workouts more.
CrossFit is suitable for…
- People who are lifting weights regularly and want to get more from their workouts. As much as most gyms say that beginners with no workout experience can join CrossFit classes too, do note that it is not for the faint-hearted. There are risks since it is a very intense full-body workout. We will get into that after this section.
- Runners, boxers, weight lifters and fitness buffs.
- Gym rats who are getting bored with their workouts and want more challenge.
- Ex-athletes or people who used to work out a lot but have taken a hiatus.
- People who don’t want to specialize. For example, if you just want to have nice arms then CrossFit will not be suitable for you because it encourages overall body fitness to make you strong and lean.
- Group training because you’ll be working out in groups during classes and if you feel more pumped up working out with friends then this is perfect for you.
Why is CrossFit not for everybody?
Every workout has its risks, and CrossFit is no exception. Because of its high intensity exercises, people have to be more careful to not injure and overexert their body. However, some CrossFitters and trainers who push their body too hard especially beginners will increase their risk of getting Rhabdomyolysis  or Uncle Rhabdo in CrossFit term. Rhabdomyolysis happens when muscle tissues break, letting muscle fiber contents to enter into your bloodstream and harming your kidneys.
Some of the causes of Uncle Rhabdo are severe dehydration, exertion and muscle tremors, so the signs you should look out for are dark coloured urine, swollen sore muscles, nausea, fever and lack of consciousness . If you have these symptoms, do seek medical attention immediately. We suggest you to take things slow and don’t feel pressured to push your body until it hits the breaking point.
Your to-do list before signing up for CrossFit
- Check out the gyms that you’re interested in. Do you like the environment? Are there certified trainers supervising the workout areas? It is important to have a trainer monitoring you when you are not familiar with the program.
- Research and ask the trainers there about their certification, how long they have been coaching, how they would scale the WOD to your level and the training program. Having a trainer with knowledge on how to scale the workouts to your fitness capabilities while still able to push you to work harder is crucial to get the most of the program.
- Observe the gym community; were they friendly and helping each other with their workouts? Were the trainers giving hands-on advices to the CrossFitters? Try going for the free trial class first before deciding, from there you’ll know if you’re comfortable in that box community of trainers and fellow CrossFitters. Training in a group will help everyone to motivate each other on their own fitness goals .
Here are some gyms that offer CrossFit classes:
- Fuel Athletics, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur
- CrossFit Vidatha, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
- District 13, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
- PushMore Fitness Centre, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
- Pure Gym Malaysia, Subang Jaya, Selangor
- CrossFit 5833, Penang