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Crossfit: What You Need to Know

You’ve probably heard about it somewhere. Crossfit has taken the fitness world by storm! It’s been labelled many things: cultish, extreme, empowering, dangerous, transformational, revolutionary and much more. The backlash against it has been as strong as the support. Crossfit can be an amazing way to get in shape but like many other sports comes with risks. Maybe crossfit intrigues you or maybe it terrifies you, either way this article will help to answer any questions you have.

What Is It?

Crossfit is an exercise philosophy that “specializes in not specializing.” These athletes draw from a variety of different sports and incorporate it into their training. It includes aspects of gymnastics, olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, high intensity interval training (HIIT), and is certainly not limited! Basically crossfit athletes want to kick butt no matter what comes their way. Sounds pretty good right? Crossfitters complete various WODs or ‘workouts of the day.’ These WODs combine strength training and cardio aspects that are centred around functional fitness, meaning incorporating types of movement that our bodies are naturally meant to do: pushing, pulling, running, squatting, etc.


Crossfit is a cult – Crossfit gyms, also called ‘boxes’ are tight-knit communities. Members work out in groups and cheer each other on. There is certainly a large community aspect to the sport. Of course, some boxes are more welcoming than others but in general most gyms welcome new members with open arms.

Crossfit will make you bulky – This falls under the common misconception that lifting heavy weights will make girls bulky or “manly.” Girls don’t have the testosterone levels that men do, so it’s actually very hard for us to get bulky! The girls seen in fitness magazines with bulging biceps workout for hours each day and take supplements to help them gain that much muscle – It’s their job! In reality weight training is a great way to tone your entire body and the more muscle you have, the more food you can eat (and no one’s complaining about that). Crossfit is a great introduction to weight training for girls and will ensure you work the entire body.

You have to follow the Paleo diet – Diet is always a personal preference. There is a lot of scientific research backing the benefits of the Paleo diet, and it is certainly the most recommended diet by Crossfit coaches and boxes but no one will force you to follow it.

Crossfit is too expensive – Box membership is certainly more expensive than a regular gym due to the small classes and close attention from coaches. However it is much cheaper than personal training. Many boxes will offer student discounts, or have seasonal deals. If you’re pressed for money but are still curious about crossfit many workouts for home performance are available online.


Crossfit carries the risk that comes with engaging in any high intensity sport or form of exercise. Crossfitters lift heavy weight as quickly as possible. Form can often be sacrificed if people are pushing themselves too fast or too far and this can lead to injury. However, these risks are not present solely in crossfit. Lifting heavy weights that are too heavy, sacrificing form for reps, running to a ‘breaking point’; overtraining in any capacity is bad and can lead to injury. Crossfit coaches will push you to push yourself as hard as you can – in a safe capacity. They are always concerned with your safety and proper form. This is why most crossfit boxes have orientations and beginner classes when people first join to ensure safety. If you encounter a coach that isn’t concerned with your safety, then you should definitely switch gyms. Remeber, proper form is more important than number of reps!

Hopefully this article has served to make Crossfit seem a bit less intimidating!

Emily has been known to spend way too much time in coffee shops and to have a quote for anything. She is currently in her second year in the Arts and Business program at the University of Waterloo, and is majoring in English Rhetoric and Professional Writing. She is a lover of writing, sharks, A Game of Thrones, video games, crossfit, folk music, and the Oxford comma.
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