Crossfit, what is it? The innovative physical excercise

Sport and physical activity have recently become quite an important topic related directly to people’s health. Pablo Marcos, Ph.D. in Sports Science, once said: “Physical exercise is the cheapest medicine” (Sanchez, 2017). He emphasized that by doing some type of sport and maintaining a good physical condition, we can save money rather than pay for medicine or medical checkups.

There is a difference between health sport and professional sport. Health sport is the practice of physical activity to maintain good physical condition and promotes people to leave a sedentary lifestyle. On the other hand professional sport is the practice of sport at a high performance leading to more competitive goals.

When we talk about sports, usually the first sports that come to mind are soccer, tennis, or basketball as they are practiced in most countries and can be considered the sports that generate more in the field of professional sport or sports show. In addition to these, there are increasingly new sports trends with the emergence of new sports or types of exercises such as paddle tennis, soccer golf, and Crossfit, the latter being one of the fastest-growing in the sports market. 

In this article, we will describe a few points to understand a little more about the world of Crossfit. Nazur Nemer, a Crossfit instructor in Bolivia, will give us his point of view and some insight on the subject. Nazur is 28 years old. He studied Economics and today is a Crossfit instructor in his box, Crossfit 3640, located in La Paz, Bolivia.

Nazur Nemer, a Crossfit instructor in Bolivia

What is Crossfit workout?

Crossfit is a training modality that combines weightlifting, gymnastics, and metabolic training exercises at high intensity with functional movements. Many of the workouts are based on exercises performed by firefighters or the military. 

WOD Crossfit meaning

A Crossfit workout is called Work of the Day (WOD). A WOD lasts approximately 60 minutes, and it’s divided into three different parts.

  • First, the warm-up, where light exercises are completed without any weight to warm up the body and avoid injuries.
  • Second, the practice of different exercises’ techniques. This is done to perform the movements with weights correctly.
  • Third, the WOD itself, where strength and cardio exercises are combined. These WODs are modified for each person individually, and it is unlikely that a person will repeat the same WOD for several days.

“Crossfit is a high-intensity fitness program, constant variation in its exercises that tries to improve people’s quality of life and prepare and improve them in their day to day lives” is how Nazur defines Crossfit. He also commented that Crossfit is functional because “it prepares you to carry your bags to the market, your children or your dog to the vet […] which are day-to-day activities”. 

Evolution of Crossfit

In 1974 an 18-year-old American gymnast named Greg Glassman was looking for new workouts to improve his physical capabilities. That is how he created the first movements and concepts of what Crossfit is today by doing strength exercises combined with sprints.

The first Crossfit gym was opened in 1995 by Greg Glassman himself. The gym was located in Santa Cruz, California, where mainly police departments trained. Five years later, he and his wife founded Crossfit Inc.

It is important to mention that in order to have a gym of this type, it must be affiliated with Crossfit Inc since it is a registered trademark, and that way certified monitors, good location, quality material, and insurance can be controlled.

In 2007, the “Crossfit Games” were born, an international competition where both women and men compete for a monetary prize that increases each year. Four years later, the ‘Open’ was established as a classification system for the Crossfit Games for athletes from all over the world.

To date, Crossfit works with brands such as Reebok and Nobull.  Today, the affiliated center are more than 15,000 around the world.

Nazur says he sees Crossfit differently in the future. […] the beauty of Crossfit is the adaptability it has, there are more and more affiliated gyms in the world, and that’s why I know it’s going to grow a lot.”

“I see Crossfit getting bigger all the time. I have opened another branch, and I am thinking of opening a third one in the future because the market keeps growing.” Nazur tells the vision he has in the industry and his Crossfit gym.

Where Crossfit is practiced

The gym used for Crossfit is called ‘Box’ because the space is like a big box with plenty of room, no divisions, and high ceilings. The machines in a Crossfit box have integrated modalities, meaning that various muscle groups are targeted simultaneously.

Have you noticed that Crossfit boxes have no mirrors or TVs?  This is done on purpose to avoid any distractions and use the time efficiently at the time of the WOD.

Place to practice Crossfit called Box

Crossfit instructors

Nazur confirmed that he is a Crossfit instructor and explained that the minimum requirement to be one is to pass the level 1 (L1) certification, which gives you all the general knowledge. This includes training, responsible training, how to work with clients of any age, gender, condition, or injury, and the physical training of a person depending on their level.

The training to become a Crossfit instructor is given by CrossFit Inc. The only entity endorsing the courses. There are 4 different levels of training to become an instructor:

– Crossfitt Level 1 Certificate

– Crossfitt Level 2 Certificate

– Crossfitt Level 3 Certificate

– Crossfitt Level 4 Certificate

Each certificate is more complete and detailed than the previous one. In order to obtain the last three certificates, it is essential to have experience as a trainer in a box for at least six months.

Nazur mentions, “the mistake of many trainers is that they make everyone do everything the same and the brand gets hurt, […] that’s because those trainers don’t know how to scale the exercises and adapt them to each person” referring to how important it is that all instructors are certified.

Crossfit Recommendations for practice

Nazur recommends Crossfit training according to the physical activity of each person in their day-to-day life. “To start, I recommend two classes a week if they are very sedentary and have not exercised for a long time. Three times if they are moderately active and have done sports in their lives. And if you have competed, you can start with five days of training and two days of rest a week.”

Here are a series of recommendations to practice Crossfit:

  • “If you feel like trying it, go for it.”
  • “Get out of your comfort zone.”
  • “Choose the adequate box.”
  • “Warm-up.”
  • “Take care of your technique.”
  • “Do what the instructor says, he is the one who knows the most about it.”
  • ” Don’t be afraid.”
  • “Listen and understand your own body.”
  • “Have fun.”

Benefits of Crossfit

During the interview, the trainer recommended practicing Crossfit because it can improve the quality of life significantly. He then refers to two Crossfit slogans.

  1. “Prepare for the Unknown”. For example, if you travel, the train leaves you, and you have to walk with your suitcase 1 km. You could easily walk that kilometer without your back hurting. 
  2. The other one is “Heavy loads for long distances.” Meaning that you can carry weights for long distances and that it is functional […]to be able to carry the bags from the cash register where you pay to your car in the parking lot without having to stop every three steps.

As explained above, doing some type of physical activity or sport has many advantages for people’s health, and Crossfit is not far behind. Crossfit has a great series of benefits, which are the following:

  • Reaching good physical shape and improving your health.
  • Increasing your endurance.
  • Increasing flexibility of muscles and joints.
  • Increasing your strength and strengthening muscles.
  • Reducing stress level.
  • Increasing social relationships.
  • Adopting healthier habits on a daily basis.