What Is Crossfit?
Glad you asked. To put it as simply as possible, Crossfit is an exercise program that focuses on overall fitness, rather than focusing on any particular aspect of it.
Consider 2 athletes who are the best in their field: a marathon runner, and a power lifter. The marathon runner has the endurance to easily outrun the power lifter, and the power lifter has the strength (& power) to easily out-lift the marathon runner.
Who is more fit? Tough call. Each could argue that he/she is more fit than the other. But probably neither would do very well at a Crossfit competition where the full spectrum of physical abilities are necessary to perform well (not only strength or endurance, but also speed, flexibility, coordination, balance, etc).
For more detail on the theory behind Crossfit check out this page and the 3 pdf files linked to on the right side of that page.
What are Crossfit Workouts Like?
Rather than running 4 times a week, or doing the same weight-lifting routine 4 times a week, Crossfit workouts are always varied.
Each day Crossfit posts a new “workout of the day” (aka WOD) on their website. One day you might run 5km, the next day you might do deadlifts, bench press, and walk on your hands, and the next day you might go for a swim & do some pull-ups.
It’ll probably be months (or forever) before you repeat any particular Crossfit workout. This variety is due to the focus on all-round fitness.
To see the workout for today (the day you’re reading this) and other recent WODs, check out the Crossfit home page.
Why I Chose Crossfit
I choose to do Crossfit because I like their focus on overall fitness.
Also, I ‘d been doing a rather lazy version of Crossfit in the few months preceding March. I estimate that I was only doing about half the workouts, and was often scaling down the intensity of each workout more than necessary. I’d been doing the lazy version long enough and figured it was time to start the full program.
There’s really not much more to say here than “I did every Crossfit workout for the month”. It was hard, but not as hard as I expected.
During the preceding few months that I’d always had a faint feeling of guilt due to the incomplete version of Crossfit that I was doing. This month that feeling vanished, and I felt good about myself for doing all the workouts (an unanticipated benefit).
A few times I had to modify the workouts to accommodate the type of equipment I had available. Luckily Crossfit suggests exercise substitutions for when you don’t have the right equipment so the modifications weren’t difficult to figure out.
Since Crossfit archives all past workouts on their site, you can see each workout that I did for the month of March if you care to.
Based on my experience from this month, I still think Crossfit is great exercise program for achieving overall fitness. I’m not aware of a better one, actually. I definitely recommend it.
August 2012 Update
Crossfit has stuck. In August 2012 as I’m writing this, I’m still doing Crossfit regularly, and doing most of the workouts. I’m not quite as strict about doing every single workout no matter what, but haven’t sunk to the level of laziness that I was at before March.
I still recommend Crossfit!