Tag Archives: exercise

CrossFit: The New Scientology?

crossfit pros consThis week the NYT published an article called When Some Turn to Church, Others Go To CrossFit. In it, author Mark Oppenheimer likens CrossFit to religion, and it’s hard to argue with him when you see quotes like this one:

CrossFit is family, laughter, love, and community.

CrossFit, if you’re not familiar, is the one of the hottest workout movements, with 13,000 locations and over 2 million participants. CrossFit’s strenuous Workout of the Days (WODs), which combine Olympic-style weight lifting with functional movement, have been criticized for their propensity to cause injury.

Pros and Cons of CrossFit

I don’t have any affiliation with CrossFit … never been to a CrossFit gym, in fact. But I think it’s pretty awesome for two big reasons:

1. Doing interval training combined with strength training is the absolute best way to lose weight and build lean muscle.
2. The community-based environment is a great support system for anyone who’s had trouble sticking with a workout regimen (aka, everyone).
3. The CrossFitters I know are all in great shape … your friends who do it probably are too.

The whole CrossFit-causes-injury argument is way overblown. CrossFitters push themselves more than other exercisers … and that’s not a bad thing! Injuries happen in every sport and every type of workout, and they’re almost always attributable to poor form when you’re in the gym.

I’ll sum this one up by quoting CrossFit co-founder Greg Glassman in the NYT article:

Three hundred fifty thousand Americans are going to die next year from sitting on the couch. That’s dangerous. The TV is dangerous. Squatting isn’t.

The Best Ways to Exercise Without Going to the Gym

If you’ve ever used Quora, you know it’s a pretty awesome resource for getting quality answers to almost any question imaginable.

If you haven’t used it, definitely check it out.

The other day a Quora question showed up in my inbox and I was so impressed with the answer I had to share it with you.

The question was What are the best ways to exercise without having to go to the gym or lift weights at home?

First off, not lifting weights is perfectly okay … BUT I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO DO SOME TYPE OF STRENGTH TRAINING … ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE A WOMAN! Contrary to popular belief, strength training isn’t just for bodybuilders. It should be included in every single person’s fitness regimen and you’ll see why below.

So back to the Quora question …

The best answer, which is fittingly at the top of the page, is from Fitness Coach Darren Beattie.

Here are a few highlights from Darren’s answer (I’ve paraphrased him in places) that can help any of you who have hit a plateau with your workouts (or are looking to start working out at home):

You can’t just pick a method and stick with it indefinitely. You need to constantly cycle your body outside of its comfort zone to create adaptation.

Doing something seemingly simple like 100 pushups, sit-ups, chin-ups and squats at home won’t cut it long term. It might work for 4 or so weeks though. It will however need to be changed to make it progressively more difficult at that point. We call this the point of diminishing returns. Doing the same thing for too long to yield less and less desirable adaptation relative to the work put in.

Now, Darren’s answer centered around muscle growth, but it’s still fantastic advice for ALL exercisers and important to understand as a basic “Exercise 101” concept.

Here are some of my other favorites (again, I’m paraphrasing):

Strength training burns calories while you are at rest because your muscles are always burning fuel to repair and grow. Pick 1 to 6 movements that target the entire body, with 10 variations from very easy to super hard, working towards feats like one-armed push ups, one-armed pull ups, pistol squats, and one armed hand stand pushups. (from Adam Macallister)

There is no excuse for not being fit when you can work out for just 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week, in your living room. (from Tom Sullivan)

Begin with easier exercises for the six major moves: Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, Handstand Push-ups, Squats, Leg raises, Bridges. (from Devendran Mudaliar)

Do something you like! Dancing, walking your dog, golfing, swimming- try to find something that you ENJOY so it does not feel like a chore. (from Steven DeCillis)

Focus more on your diet. Aim for a healthy balanced diet with the right calorie and macros. (from Mindy Zhou)

If you work out hard, but eat too much, you’ll still get fat and you won’t see losses. (from Bart Loews)

Regardless of your preferred workout method, try pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying out some of the strength training advice above. This is the stuff that help me get into fantastic shape and see my abs for the first time in years. I love doing yoga for mental and physical balance and flexibility and hitting the trail for my cardio workouts … but nothing has gotten me results better and faster than following the types of advice you see above. Give it a whirl, and you’ll start to see a new you when you look in the mirror.