Why CrossFit is Just…Better

CrossFit has been the fastest growing fitness brand in the world over the past decade. While it has had its share of criticism, there are good reasons why CrossFit has seen that kind of meteoric rise. There are currently 5 million members at over 14,000 CrossFit affiliates around the world.

I’ve owned Lakeland Health + Fitness for almost three years now, and a lot of my friends have said something like this to me during that time– “J.D., I would love to do CrossFit but I’m not cut out for that kind of thing”.

Not to correct any of my friends, because I love you all, but I’m sorry– you’re wrong.

A good CrossFit affiliate (like Lakeland Health + Fitness) provides a supportive, friendly, uplifting atmosphere with well-trained, certified coaches who make sure that you work out hard and work out safely.

I understand the fear that surrounds CrossFit. I do. If you’ve only seen the CrossFit games or the videos your 24 year old friend posts of muscle ups, hand stand pushups, and heavy squat snatches on Instagram, you would have a very one-sided view of what a CrossFitter should be able to do. “I could never do that,” you may say to yourself.

Okay, maybe that’s true. Maybe you’ll never do what someone 15-25 years younger than you can do after they’ve been training at an elite level for years and years. But you can do the same kinds of workouts they do, with the same stimuli, the same metabolic pathways, the same variation, and the same relative impact on and benefit for your body.

Here’s why CrossFit works, and works BETTER than anything I’ve seen in the fitness world.

  • Constant Variation
    No two CrossFit workouts are ever the same (most of the time…I’ll explain that in a second). This change means that your body never fully adapts, never really gets too comfortable. This runs counter to the adaptation that so many sport-specific athletes use to their advantage. You’re a runner? Great, you’re going to run all the time, and your body will get better at that to the point where it doesn’t have to work as hard to go as far as fast. But there is a tradeoff to that efficiency– it means your body is using LESS fuel, burning LESS fat, building LESS muscle over time as it becomes more efficient.

    A few famous CrossFit spinoff trends have emerged over the past few years (F45, OrangeTheory, etc.). These trends rely on circuits of the same things done over and over again. Every time you go, you’ll do some combination of the same movements you did the days and weeks before. Now, people get results from these things, and I’m not saying they are bad. Any kind of exercise is better than NO exercise. But they aren’t going to continue to provide long term growth and results.
  • Resistance Training
    Those same Crossfit-like training methods also keep weights light. The most you’re going to lift at an OrangeTheory or F45 is 30-45 percent of your current maximum. You’re never going “heavy”. “Good”, you may think. “I don’t want to get bulky”. This is what I’ve heard a lot, especially from women.

    Here’s the thing– lifting heavy weights isn’t going to make you big. It isn’t going to make you bulky. It’s going to change your body for sure. You’ll be more toned, more defined. But you won’t be “big”.

    Resistance training is SO incredibly important for overall health. Inactive adults experience a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade, accompanied by resting metabolic rate reduction and fat accumulation.

    There are many types of resistance training. Most people do a lot of volume at lighter weights. There are benefits to this, but they are limited. The full impact of resistance training comes when muscular hypertrophy (strength training), maximum muscular strength, and explosive power are also a part of your exercise regimen. Your muscles will be forced to constantly adapt and change. This will boost your metabolism, improve body composition, improve heart health, strengthen your bones, and so much more.
  • Intensity
    The joke amongst our members at Lakeland Health + Fitness after a really hard 7 minute workout is that if you’ve never done an intense, fast workout, you’d never believe that 7 minutes could be so hard. Intensity is key to why CrossFit is so effective.

    Why is intensity important? Here’s what it does:

    – Burns more calories, all the time. Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), is the after burn effect that allows you to burn more calories even after a workout is over.
    – More weight loss. Intense exercise produces a higher resting metabolism which, along with EPOC, will help you lose weight more quickly than just doing moderate or low intensity exercise.
    – Improved heart health. Intense exercise improves diastolic blood pressure, controls blood sugar, and increases aerobic capacity.
    – Improved mood. A massive study found that people who vigorously exercise have a significantly reduced rate of depressive symptoms.
  • Nutrition
    The base of the CrossFit pyramid is nutrition. Nobody wants to hear it, but 90 percent of weight loss happens at the dinner table. It doesn’t matter if you work out 6 days a week. If you don’t eat well, you won’t get the same kind of results.

    At Lakeland Health + Fitness, we have an incredible nutrition coaching program led by Coach Brittany Rice. This program is designed to empower you to eat foods you like while improving your habits over time. Because our approach is so flexible and doable, we find that it creates transformative change that lasts instead of quick fixes that immediately disappear.
  • Community
    CrossFit is more than a place to work out. It is a place where you will be surrounded by people who will support you, cheer you on, suffer with you, and become your friends. The community at Lakeland Health + Fitness is welcoming, friendly, and non-intimidating. It may not be a team sport, but CrossFit sure feels like it here. Your health journey may not be easy, but you will never be alone.
  • Starts Where You Are
    I know you may not be able to do a handstand walk, but we can help you get upside down on your hands. Baby steps. This is how we progress. No one starts CrossFit as an expert. Because CrossFit is infinitely scalable, every workout can be done by every member. There are weights and movements that can be adjusted to your ability, strength, injuries, and more.

So what are you waiting for? CrossFit is for anyone, including you. Let’s get it, dude.

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