We all know that the most important item on your bug out bag list is you – and training is a critical part of preparation. Crossfit is a training methodology that has been rapidly gaining popularity since it’s introduction in the year 2000. Designed by a former gymnast, it claims to be the best training for military, police and athletes from a wide variety of sports.
Crossfit relies on the concept of novelty to keep workouts fresh. As those of you who train might know, even the best program will have diminishing returns as the body adapts to the regular pattern. This is not so for Crossfit. The workouts constantly vary, incorporating weight training, calisthenics, running and other forms of exercise in combinations that few have seen before. While there are several staple workouts such as the infamous Fran, these are far between and serve as a benchmark for progress.
Workouts are not planned but rather come in the form of a WOD, or workout of the day. Not having to worry about what the next workout makes it easy for a lot of people to have a fresh training regimen without a personal coach. And it’s all available free on the Crossfit website.
Because of the extreme variety, crossfit has the effect of training you in novelty itself. The new workouts will have you constantly gassed and pushing against your limits. You will get very well conditioned from a cardio perspective, but even with all of that each workout will become an intense mental challenge. This is compounded by a culture of getting the best score or time on a workout. Mental toughness is applauded, crossfit gyms actually have jokes for puking during a workout and will give out t-shirts for doing so.
In my experience with crossfit, I felt very prepared for the challenges I faced in the sports I was doing at the time. Moving from kickboxing to judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I felt prepared to go the distance more than I ever had before. What’s more important, I was able to retain strength.
Compared to powerlifting and strongman style training, which had been a mainstay of mine for years I may have had slightly less raw power. But the strength I did have I was able to use for longer. In a survival situation, endurance is key, and actually defending oneself will look a lot more like a crossfit workout than hitting the weights. It’s no surprise that this style of training is popular among military and police forces and combat athletes.
3. Dangers and limits
Crossfit is not all sunshine and rainbows. It has come under fire from a number of people in the fitness world for increasing the chances of injuries. The criticism is that the programming is based more around muscle confusion that balancing out complementary muscle groups. In addition, doing complicated lifts with poor form due to fatigue or focusing on speed can increase the risk of bad things happening. Finally, running the typical 3 days on one day off schedule is considered overtraining by some.
The best advice for someone looking to get into crossfit is to find a gym in your area. Trainers that are comfortable with showing the difficult motions will do a lot to prevent injury and get you started on the right foot. Also, you are definitely going to want a t-shirt when you end up puking.