Should this hurt? Things to consider before trying CrossFit

CrossFit

When it comes to working out, there’s always a curiosity to try out new exercises that we hear about through friends, or read about on social media. One in particular is CrossFit.

CrossFit has been around for a decade and has more recently become a prominent go-to workout for functional training. It involves varied, high-intensity movements meant to improve overall activity of daily living. For those who see people performing these exercises, it can appear extremely intimidating. For others, it may be quite intriguing.

Jocelyn Battle, a registered health coach at BCBSM, explained that CrossFit may be great at improving one’s functional fitness in a motivating environment. But it may also be “great” in causing a joint injury, muscle strain or heart complications, in more severe cases. Although this work out has its fair share of peaks and valleys, it really comes down to who is teaching you.

When choosing a gym, Battle recommends taking a good look at the trainers and learning their backgrounds. Sometimes being an Olympic lifter, power lifter or gymnast isn’t enough. Search for trainers who have an exercise science background or are certified by organizations such as ACE, NASM, or ACSM.

Ultimately, one must outweigh the pros and cons themselves to determine whether or not this workout is worth the risk. Below are considerations as to why you should and should not try CrossFit.

Why you should try CrossFit:

If done right, you’ll notice the results – The high intensity movements involved with these exercises, allows you to not only burn a ton of calories, but it allows for the body to tolerate more stress (as long as proper diet and recovery are being implemented between sessions).

A little competition never hurt anyone – Sometimes the best workouts are the ones where you push yourself even further to keep up or surpass those around you. CrossFit is more about a community working toward a common goal, than it is about someone outdoing the crowd.  That extra push from fellow CrossFitters could mean the inspiration one needs to be that much closer to reaching his or her goal during a workout session.

Why you shouldn’t try CrossFit:

You’re going to hurt yourself – For those who decide to jump into a class without any prior physical fitness routine, you may find yourself decommissioned before you hit the ground running. Potential harms one can run into are severe fatigue, strain and overuse injuries. In addition, these classes may complicate joint pain or be the cause of an actual joint injury. If you have any chronic conditions, consult your doctor first.

Your ego may get in the way of what your body is trying to tell you – When it comes to CrossFit, there really isn’t any shame in quitting, especially if your body can’t physically handle the intensity of the session. In these instances, you need to make a choice whether to continue and risk injury, change up your workout, or take a few days off to let your body recoup.

To those gearing up for their first session – be safe, be smart and stay focused!

Photo Credit: Runar Eilertsen

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