With more than 4,000 gyms in the US, CrossFit is quickly becoming the new Pilates (or Zumba, or P90x, or cycling classes). The workout and lifestyle regime was founded in 2000 and has since acquired a cult following of fitness fanatics looking to get in shape through the program's combination of high-intensity weight lifting, cardio bursts, and anaerobic conditioning sometimes adding a strict Paleolithic diet.
Think squats, pull-ups, burpees, box jumps, and barbells. These one-hour workouts aren't for the faint of heart, and though intimidating, the environment is safety-based and welcoming, and trust me, you can do more than you think.
I tested the trending workout at downtown's Xplore CrossFit. On the day of my first class I walked in to see an insanely strong man squatting 330 pounds. I don't think I could squat half my weight. Well, here we go.
The class starts with a quick warm-up followed by a skills set and a workout of the day (WOD). Monday and Tuesday's WODs are the hardest, with intensity winding down by the end of the week. For my class (which was on a Tuesday...awesome) we practiced snatches, an exercise that involves lifting a PVC pipe, then a bar, then a bar with weights from the ground overhead in a smooth, uninterrupted movement.
So should you try it? We asked owner Jordan Holland who opened Xplore six years ago before moving to Western Ave last year. "It really is for everyone, but I definitely wouldn't say that everyone should do it—everyone can do it," he says. "You're going to do something that you like longer, harder, better than something that you don’t like. If you don’t fundamentally like what's going on in here, and not everyone does, it's not going to be for you."
To see results Holland suggests coming to class a minimum of two times a week. But for the die-hard CrossFitters, that isn't nearly enough. "It really produces results, and people get addicted," says Holland.
The day after my class I felt a soreness in my shoulders and in places I didn't know existed. The workout, while short, was extremely effective in causing me to desperately want a massage for the following three days. But as beat up as I was, I'm afraid I'm addicted already.