Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
24 Feb

CrossFit

Ever heard of it?

If you are a regular to MDA and you subscribe to a Primal Health lifestyle I’m guessing it is likely. If not, now you have.

Crossfit is a type of physical training that blends power lifting, gymnastics and sprinting. Why do we like it? Because it fairly closely aligns with our Primal fitness philosophy in which variety, weight-bearing activity and anaerobic exercise is key. Here is a great description of CrossFit:

CrossFit maintains that proficiency is required in each of 10 fitness domains: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. CrossFit uses free weights, kettlebells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars and many calisthenics exercises. CrossFit may call on athletes to skip, run, row, climb ropes, jump up on boxes, flip giant tires, and carry odd objects. They can also squat and explode up to bounce medicine balls against walls.

CrossFit workouts typically call for athletes to work hard and fast, often with no rest. Many CrossFit gyms use scoring and ranking systems, transforming workouts into sport. CrossFit publishes its own journal and certifies its own trainers. Many CrossFit athletes and trainers see themselves as part of a contrarian insurgent movement that questions conventional fitness wisdom.

via Wikipedia

Contrarian insurgent movement? Challenging conventional wisdom? Sounds like our kind of program.

All right. Enough talking! Let’s see CrossFit in action.

Don’t let the first video fool you. CrossFit isn’t just for beefy dudes. As CrossFit NYC’s site states, “CrossFit workouts are functional, varied and intense. They also scale to any ability level–our members range from elite athletes to eighty-something grandmothers…”

We’ll be covering Crossfit in more detail down the road, so stay tuned!

If this is the first time you have heard of CrossFit let us know what you think! If you are a ripped, seasoned Crossfit veteran we’d love to hear from you too. Drop us a line!

Further Reading:

Mark’s Beach Sprints

Official CrossFit Site

More YouTube Crossfit Videos

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Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Anyone able to answer me if a CrossFit session is counted as a strength training session? Like if I was to do a traditional weight lifting routine like Bench -> Deadlift -> Squats with 1-2 mins rest between sets then finish up, do I replace that routine with a CrossFit one or just add it into a rest day? I would be worried about overtraining or something if I did CrossFit as well as my weights routine..

    Daniel wrote on February 18th, 2010
    • It would depend on what the actual CrossFit workout was…

      Some days, the CrossFit WOD is a strength routine; others, it is cardio-based. Really hard to plan off MainSite WODs because they are so varied. They are only intended to be combined with sport-specific training, really.

      Zach@CFLV wrote on February 24th, 2010
  2. I’m a 42 year old Crossfit convert. After running for years, I was slowly starting to creep up in weight and softness. Cutting sugar and most grains while doing CF has me in the best shape of my life. I LOVE that many of the workouts are short. Workouts for loads are longer (30 minutes) but the short ones are really intense and efficient. I couldn’t do a second workout the same day; I’m exhausted every time. It’s hard to use a busy schedule as an excuse when I can do a workout in 10-15 minutes.

    Jodi wrote on March 10th, 2010
  3. I started Crossfit about 4 months ago. I’m completely hooked. It’s unreal. I’ve always had an athletic background, but even at what I thought was my “fittest” state, nothing compares to what is required of you in a Crossfit workout.

    I like going to the gyms as opposed to doing the WODs on my own (which I still do sometimes) because the trainers push me harder than I’d push myself. They’re also there to make sure my form is correct so I don’t injure myself or pick up bad habits. And the class atmosphere of encouragement is awesome!

    I am a long distance runner (no ‘boo’s, please) so I don’t do Crossfit every day. I do it twice a week, and consider it my ‘strength training’ days. Just because I’ve raced distance for years, so a few 400 meter sprints followed by pull-ups doesn’t really count as a ‘sprint workout’ for me. The pull-ups are much, much more difficult for me, so I still count it as a ‘strength’ day.

    Crossfit is unbelievable. I can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve gotten injured doing all kinds of things, so I don’t think Crossfit has a higher potential for injury than other physical activities. Just listen to your body, try to practice good form, and be smart and aware, and you’ll be just fine. :)

    Stephanie wrote on April 13th, 2010
    • I agree with the majority on here – Crossfit is brilliant. A few points (some already mentioned)
      1) If you can go to an affiliate – do. The instruction is excellent. I am a personal trainer but rate these guys way above me – which is very humbling. You’ll have better progression and less risk of injury.

      2)If working alone from the Mainpage – do the background reading first (everything under the “Start Here” link and follow the scaled workouts on BrandX. Underestimate your ability if you have not done these types of workouts before. Get a subscription to the Journal – there are some good articles on starting Crossfit type workouts.

      3)If you are unsure of your technique – you can get help in the Digital Coaching forum where you can post videos of yourself.

      4)3 on 1 off at full intensity is probably madness except for the fittest. Build up to it if you want to follow it. Don’t be afraid to do what suits you. I am training for a long triathlon and 3 Crossfit sessions plus some low level run bike and swim sessions are all I can handle at the moment. I may sub a couple of workouts as I get fitter to more specific intervals. Your own personal experience here is far more important than what someone who doesn’t know you prescribes. Try different things – log the results – choose what works – put aside what doesn’t.

      4) Crossfit is General Physical Preparation – it gets you fit for anything. If you want to specialise – it gets fit enough to make your sport specific training doable or more productive.

      5) Sort out your nutrition if it isn’t already. Your on MDA already – so not far to go for some great advice. It will make a massive difference to performance and body composition goals.

      5) If you follow the above – Crossfit will be great for you. If you do not follow the above – you will be at more risk of injury, overtraining etc – but you know what – it will be your fault – not Crossfit’s. The info’s all there – you’ve just got to read it and apply it.

      My own experience with Crossfit and sports that I do – I can often go weeks without playing squash (my main sport) – but if I have been Crossfitting regularly I can come back and easily participate at the same or even higher level (admittedly – my skills will not have improved and in some cases have deteriorated a little, but the overall increase in fitness has for me always more than compensated).

      Mark – love your site. MDA and Crossfit for me are a match made in heaven.

      Mike wrote on May 4th, 2010
  4. Sorry to be the sour apple here, but Crossfit is, IMO, a train wreck waiting to happen. Kipping pullups will destroy your shoulders, you’re just twenty something and don’t feel it yet. High rep, ballistic deads, snatches, clean and jerks… yeah right. I wonder why Olympic hopefuls who do them ‘for a living’ rarely do more than six reps, and often complete only singles and doubles. Form, form, form!
    You just can’t train to be a jack of all trades. If you could SEALS would be both marathoners and powerlifters. They’re not. Talk to REAL ‘elite’ spec op guys, they look pretty …. modest. But they have endurance beyond super, and our usually agile and fearless. Popeye biceps might make the cover of Muscle and Fitness but you’ll rarely find those guys among the KSK,GIGN, Italian frogmen or other REAL high-end fighters in the field. Hollywood myths are hard to break, we all love to watch Schwarzenegger and The Rock, but it ain’t real. And CrossFit, with it’s be all type of philosophy will ruin more hips, knees, shoulders and elbows then most protocols out there.

    Train for endurance, or train for strength, then build on that.

    Sifter wrote on May 27th, 2010
    • CrossFit or any training regimen can be a “train wreck” if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you train smart within the CrossFit program, and MANY thousands of people do, daily, then you are at no greater risk for injury than any other athlete. It really bothers me when people try to shoot down CF universally as “bad” when most of the time they have no firsthand experience with even a single CF workout.

      For some of us, CrossFit is the best thing we have ever done. Period.

      And kipping pull-ups, done properly will not “destroy your shoulders”. Mine are just fine, thank you!

      Angel wrote on May 27th, 2010
  5. I”m older, was definitely not an athlete, and started doing Crossfit about a year ago. I’ve improved so much in strength and endurance—a year ago I would not have believed I’d ever be capable of what I’m doing now, physically or mentally.

    It’s scalable, you can do the the WODs as frequently as makes sense in your situation. If you are able to go to an affiliate, find one that is comfortable. Each has its own personality and will emphasize different aspects of the program.

    I’ve got several friends who never thought they’d like it, but they gave it a chance, and now they are hooked and absolutely love the results.

    Page wrote on May 27th, 2010
  6. As for crossfit being a trainwreck and “the real-spec op guy’s” not doing it, you are very wrong my friend, im in and around those communities on a daily basis and the majority of the units at least in the US are adopting cross-fit, most guys incorporate crossfit/gym jones or something similar into their routines on top of their job, further example at BUDS they do crossfit workouts for time. As for being modest most are, in attitude and that is about it.

    kg wrote on May 28th, 2010
  7. Well then I stand corrected. I still maintain, though, that high rep Olympic lifts and kipping pullups will damage, over time, your joints. Talk to me when you’re 45 or 50 and we’ll see.

    Sifter wrote on May 28th, 2010
  8. Hi Sifter,

    I’m 63 and have been doing many of the crossfit since I’ve been 12. I grew up on a farm where I worked like a dog starting at age 8. Most of my overall strength came from doing lots of hard repetitive work, plus some rope climbing in the barn. By the time I was 12 I could crank out 5 one arm pull-ups with either arm and could been a 6″ spike. At 14 I started gymnastics at my high school and continued with it throughout college. I wasn’t a great gymnasts by any means since I was 5’11” and 180 which is on the large size. I also rare for gymnasts ran marathons, did some long distance swimming and in later years started rock climbing and alpine skiing. When I saw crossfit I finally found a workout regime that was somewhat similar to what I’ve been doing for a lifetime. And in conclusion I don’t have any joint problems, knees, hips or shoulders. Of course go at anything too fast and too much and you will get repetitive injuries.

    Ray wrote on May 28th, 2010
  9. This sounds similar to Curves. Complete stretch-out prior. then 30 seconds strength, move to cardio for 30 seconds, move to strength for 30 seconds, repeat for 2 circuits. Complete stretch-out after. Only thing is Curves talks and walks CW on the diet front. Maybe they need to be invited in to the primal fold?

    Mary Anne wrote on January 26th, 2011
  10. One year ago, at age 41, I made a choice to lead a healthier life. My cholestrol was high, trigycerides were extremely high, I was chronically sick and had been to the ER for CV issues. I have done manual labor sine I was in 7th grade, but for the last ten years have worked a sedentary job. I craved activity/excercise but disliked typical gyms and treadmills and machines. 6 months ago a Crossfit box opened in my neighborhood. The introductory price was great and I liked the coach so I signed up. I was 6′ and 217 pounds at the time. The workout of the day (we call them WODs) are different each day and are always challenging. They can be extreme is thats what you want, but that is not the purpose of Crossfit. The general idea is to excercise differing areas at high intensity. So, you break a sweat and you test you mental boundaries. You try not to stop when your brain says, “OK man Ive had enough” because your quads are burinng a little and your out of breath. I was introduced to a healthier lifestyle through Crossfit and Paleo dieting. I hesitate to call it dieting…its a lifestyle and a good one. 6 months lalter I am still 6′ tall, but Ive lost 15 pounds of fat, gained lean muscle, and am performing at a level I never imagined for a 42 year old desk jockey. I feel great (despite some muscle soreness) and I love how I feel. In fact when I fall off the paleo wagon I immediately feel worse, not guilty – – physiologically) for eating unheathily. Crossfit works beacuase of the community of members, casual competition and a functional, logical excercise regimen. Best of all, its free. You can follow WODs and learn the movements from videos and blogs on crossfit.com.

    Scott wrote on February 10th, 2011
    • please pardon the grammar and typos. I spell great. I cant type to save my life

      Scott wrote on February 10th, 2011
  11. It all depends on how you define elite fitness. Crossfit will never make you great at anything because of it’s lack of focus, but it will make you good at several attributes that you’re probably lacking in.

    I powerlift and do Crossfit type workouts for conditioning. But I have a talent for strength and speed, so I want to develop those attributes to their natural limit. They have to be trained with more comprehensive and intelligently laid out programs that serve that specific goal.

    I do agree with the argument that high rep deads and Oly lifts can wreck you. I can deadlift 605lbs for one with no problems, but if I do lighter weight deads for multiple reps it’s inevitable that form breaks down and I hurt myself. Same with Olympic lifts. Some people might be built better for high rep work as opposed to strength and speed work, but that would be my one complaint: one size does not always fit all.

    That being said, I doubt most people adopting a primal lifestyle care to be freakishly strong or fast in addition to endurance and mobility. For the average joe, Crossfit and Primal eating alone would likely do wonders. If you could be good in several physical attributes as opposed to poor, why not?But if you’re competing in a sport you should really be doing more sports-specific programs. This idea of “elite fitness” transferring to every physical activity breaks down at high levels. Competitive sprinters, weight lifters, or football players have unique needs that should be addressed in a conditioning program. But this is a “general fitness” to “specific fitness” problem. 90% of people adopting Crossfit will never have to worry about those questions.

    So, again: great program, but don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

    Brad wrote on April 16th, 2011
  12. To start off, I must tell you that I am NOT a fan of the Crossfit program.

    While Crossfit does have some good basic exercise routines, they also have WOD that are filled with lifts and other exercises that most people never heard or and don’t know how to do safely. I do understand the benefit of having a lot of variety in our workouts, but the extreme nature of the Crossfit program has made me not want to even consider participating in it.

    I am sure some Crossfit programs are fun and the coaches make sure that people are not doing more than is safe, but from all I’ve heard, those gyms are in the minority. The majority of Crossfit gyms seem to focus more on military style extremism, with Cossfit participants, proudly showing off photos of bloody and blistered hands after a weight lifting routine, and making others that didn’t do quite as much damage to their body to get through a workout feel inadequate.

    I feel the Glassman guy that started Crossfit is the inspiration for much of this extremism, especially when he makes statements such as

    “It can kill you,” he said. “I’ve always been completely honest about that.”

    See “Getting Fit, Even If It Kills You” http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/fashion/thursdaystyles/22Fitness.html?pagewanted=all

    It’s sad that something that could have done as much good as a exercise franchise that offers a lot of variety has become so much less effective at helping people with their fitness goals than it would have been without the extreme workouts and tough guy attitudes.

    Rachel wrote on December 17th, 2011
  13. CrossFit. Has some good points, but so many people are asking for trouble when it comes down to form or movement of some of these exercises. Especially the Kipping pull ups. Physical Therapist love Crossfit people.

    Jeff wrote on January 13th, 2013
  14. Crossfit is not a primal activity. I can’t believe so many people buy into the rubbish. Exercise is a science not a WOD!

    Jonathan wrote on February 26th, 2013
  15. I do not like crossfit. The negatives far outweigh the positives (and there are positives). I like that they create a friendly environment and have gotten people interested in weight lifting, but that’s about it. You need absolutely no training to own a gym or become an instructor, there is zero quality control (the theory is that the sh!t boxes will drive themselves into the ground, but at what cost? The health of the people who see the reebok crossfit brand, assume they will be ok and then get injured thanks to negligence) and frankly, most of their workouts are terrible. 50+ snatches? Seriously? Olympic lifts for time? It’s a joke.

    Bex wrote on February 26th, 2013
  16. I’ve 52 and been doing CrossFit for 6 years – been a jock type my whole life. At 25 I was in phenomenal shape – at 52, even better and not just from a cardiovascular perspective. All the negative comments I read about CrossFit come from people who aren’t willing to put in the effort. CrossFit is a simple methodology – the combination of any and every type of exercise movement you can think of that’s why it enhances overall fitness. Before CrossFit I never did hand stand pushups, kipping pull ups – things like that – those and other exercises because of their variation are what has caused me to be in better shape than at 25. I also do endurance type events without the need for lots of running – that’s what CrossFit provides for, greater stamina. Criticism of CrossFit is out of ignorance. True it’s for people who are willing to put out great effort (in return for great gains)- not people who just want to coast. I’ve seen numerous people quit CrossFit because they just didn’t have heart – they preferred to be on a damn stationary bike, which is totally useless. People who criticise CrossFit cannot commit to the intensity – and yes,I subscribe to the notion that it is Elite Fitness training ’cause with a serious frame of mind it will produce elite results. Enuff said.

    Landon wrote on February 26th, 2013
    • There are so many reasons to dislike CrossFit that listing them all would result in a comment much longer than the article itself.

      Suffice it to say, criticism of CrossFit tends not to come from ignorance, but rather education.

      Criticism of Crossfit doesn’t come from those who “cannot commit to the intensity” but those who recognize that the “intensity” offered by CrossFit isn’t necessary for “elite fitness” at all.

      Bex wrote on February 26th, 2013
  17. The second video on this page is private so it can no longer be viewed.

    I like the look of crossfit though, it will really suit me once I get rid of my flabby one pack ,o)

    Mike Ratcliffe wrote on July 9th, 2013
  18. Now that the Cross Fit enthusiasm has waned somewhat, what is a good 20 minute workout that is low impact?

    It seems that most short workouts that boast great results involve a lot of high impact movement. I would love to do them, but since I have very little cartilage in my left knee, I want to protect what I’ve got.

    Glad I found MDA.

    Bob wrote on November 13th, 2013

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