13 Apr

CrossFit: The World’s Most Polarizing Workout?

Love it or hate it, CrossFit has some of the most devoted fans and avid enemies. This fitness regimen was founded by Greg Glassman in 2000, but its cultural significance has recently taken the world by storm. Garnering a following with certified trainers in approximately 7,000 gyms nationwide, CrossFit’s specific regimen has gotten the attention of workout fanatics, sparking both praise and criticism. To some, CrossFit’s jargon and even the attitude of some of its promoters have given the program a bad name. Critics claim that the trainers are not put through a strict enough certification process, allowing bad form and lifting techniques to injure participants. The workout phenomenon has reached the Internet culture as well, sparking thousands of Internet “memes,” poking fun at the aggressive mentality or “oversharing” nature of its followers.

For others, however, the CrossFit program is a structured, effective way to reach their fitness goals. They feel the daily workouts and forward-thinking mentality keeps them motivated and working hard. Its unconventional workouts and high-intensity exercises has given what many feel as a fast-track to losing weight and getting fit. Participants often do exercises such as overhead weights or climbing poles, challenging the body in ways that a typical day at the gym might not cover. The sense of community also spurs many participants to continue with CrossFit. Unlike many gyms where members tend to pop in headphones and work out alone, members of a CrossFit gym tend to cheer each other on and encourage them to reach beyond their status quo.

CrossFit, like many workout routines, works for some, and not for others. But so long as you maintain your fitness, health, and have a good time doing it, who’s to judge your method?

Thanks to Crossfit Kandahar for the photo of people participating in a CrossFit workout.

Intense Workouts Changing The Fitness Scene?

12 Apr

Intense Workouts Changing The Fitness Scene?

The number of people taking an interest in fitness is rising, as alarmingly high obesity rates and the related health risks continue to be front page news. A few years ago, trying to be healthy for many people meant hopping on a treadmill or an elliptical machine a few days a week. Others find they’re most motivated in group activities, such as Zumba or spinning classes. In 2014, a new emphasis on training smarter, not longer, has gym goers of all ages and capabilities thinking a bit differently. That’s where the intense workout enters the scene.

The intense workout is all about fitting in a stronger, smarter workout into a short amount of time. In 30 minutes, these express workouts will have you breathing heavy and sweating–and probably more than a little sore, too. Unlike a leisurely stroll on the treadmill, you’ll know you had a good workout after an intense workout session.

There are many kinds of intense workouts available. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), such as CrossFit, is really taking off at a national level and is offered at studios dedicated exclusively to this style of results-focused, very intense training. DVD-based programs, like Focus T-25, make it possible to fit in an extreme workout at home. Major gym chains are beginning to offer live streaming at home as well.

Fans of the intense workout approach love the results they get. Not only do they cut workout time in half in many cases, but they also do more for their body in 20 minutes than those people who spend an hour on traditional gym equipment. They sculpt and tone their body, as opposed to just exercising for fat loss. It’s a winning combination of benefits that has many people rethinking their approach to exercise.