Still pretty vague? The best way to tackle the common question, “What is CrossFit?”, is to give meaning to the 3 items bolded above.
CrossFit is CONSTANTLY VARIED
In CrossFit’s definition of fitness, being physically competent across a broad array of fitness related skills is of primary importance. These skills include: strength, flexibility, endurance, stamina, speed, power, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy. We find that variety is a must to be prepared for anything. Routine is the enemy when it comes to a fitness regimen. We regularly change workouts, exercise, times, rest times, weights, reps… You name it, we change it. CrossFitters run, row, jump rope, climb rope and carry odd objects. They move large and heavy loads quickly over short distances, and use powerlifting and olympic weightlifting techniques. CrossFitters use dumbbells, kettlebells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, amongst many other things. CrossFit specializes in NOT specializing. Any athlete from any sport can use CrossFit as a training method, and return to their sport better, faster, stronger and more capable.
CrossFit is FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENTS
Functional movements prepare you for life outside of the gym. For example, when we drop our keys and bend over to pick them up, we are essentially performing a deadlift. Therefore we practice by performing deadlifts! We wouldn’t pick up our keys by performing a single leg curl would we? A leg curl is not something we define as functional. When was the last time you performed flys, lateral raises or tricep kickbacks or other isolated joint movements, during your normal everyday life? Never. That’s why we don’t practice these in CrossFit, and why our gym isn’t filled with machines. Everyone needs to be generally physically prepared to run, jump, throw, lift things and squat in everyday life, therefore; that’s what CrossFit prepares you for.
CrossFit is HIGH INTENSITY
Intensity will determine your rate of progress towards fitness. It is the rate of work or power expended to complete a task. It correlates to heart rate and how quickly you complete a Workout of the Day (WOD). Fitness gains come fastest to people who hold the highest average intensity over sustained periods. Intensity and results are directly proportional, while intensity and comfort are inversely proportional. In short, as a CrossFitter, prepare to be uncomfortable and leave your comfort zone way behind. You’ll be astounded at how much sweat your body expels in an hour, so get ready to sweat and pant. Intensity translates into results–faster times, heavier weights, more reps, greater fitness. Intensity is what separates us from all the other gyms. We have no machines, no mirrors, no cables, no chrome, no supplements, no gimmicks, no 7 minute ab routines. You’re not walking out of this gym with makeup intact, you’re walking out after having left your body imprint in sweat on the mats, feeling immensely satisfied.
Is CrossFit Right For Me?
YES! We believe all individuals are capable of CrossFitting at some level, regardless of their current fitness level. The needs of our grandparents and the Olympic athlete vary only by degree, not kind. For example, EVERYONE needs to squat to some degree. Everyone needs to get up from a sitting position right? My grandparents would practice squatting with no weight simply to keep their bodies moving and avoid becoming decrepit. The Olympic athlete’s goal would perhaps be to squat as much as possible. Regardless of your fitness level, you will receive near personal training every time you step foot into All Level. You will never be left wondering what to do. You will be coached by a certified CrossFit trainer every time you join us for a WOD.
Making an adjustment in a workout for a beginner (something we call ‘scaling’ a workout) means reducing the total reps or rounds, reducing the distance, eliminating the clock, reducing the weight, and/or reducing the complexity of a movement. This is something we do all the time and your trainers are really good at here. The prescribed WOD is created for an elite athlete. Most of us here at All Level strive to Rx a workout (complete it as prescribed) but we scale all the time, so don’t let the WOD scare you! We never sacrifice form or health for the sake of Rx-ing a WOD.
Now, having stated that CrossFit can be for anyone; not everyone has it in them to sweat, pant and grunt. You’ll either love it or hate it. If you want to be in the best shape of your life and want to work for it, you’ll love it! That’s why we offer the free introduction. Come on in and see for yourself.
What to expect All Level CrossFit.
Our CrossFit classes are 60 min long and consist of four components: Warm-Up, Skill Practice/Strength, The WOD (Workout of the Day), and lastly, mobilization/stretching.
The WOD combines the following in a constantly varied, seemingly random fashion:
Weightlifting/Power Lifting (Deadlifts, clean, squat, presses, jerks, snatch…)
Gymnastics (Pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, handstands…)
Monostructural metabolic conditioning or “cardio” (Run, bike, row, swim, jump rope…)
Here are some expectations we have for our members. Expect to:
To coach and be coached – Even something as simple as a squat has proper form associated with it, especially when you’re using weight with it. You have the luxury of near-personal training each time you set foot in All Level, and with that comes continuous feedback and coaching. Learn to embrace correction and feedback. At the same time, as you become more proficient at the movements and improve your workout times it will be your turn to spend time pushing and encouraging others who are still learning.
To be part of a great community – Here at All Level we pride ourselves in our members and our community. Expect to make friends and have fun. You will be surrounded by people whose names you will be happy to know.
To talk a lot of numbers – We like to talk numbers and weights, such as putting bodyweight overhead, pumping out # of pullups, deadlifting double bodyweight or rowing a sub 1:30 for 500 meters. We talk about ‘the girls’ and times, like a 4 minute Fran or an 8 minute Helen. You’ll get it, we promise. We will coach you through it.
To be responsible for your attitude – It matters to us if you show up. We count on you to have a good attitude. We want you to be better than you were yesterday. We want to coach motivated, tough minded people who want to be part of our awesome team environment. If these are character traits you possess, CrossFit is for you!
To sweat – We’re not talking a-brisk-walk-on-the-treadmill-sweat. We mean hope-you-have-nowhere-special-to-be-after-class and leave-your-body imprint-on-the-mat-when-you’re-done sweat. It’s likely you’ll work harder than you ever have before.
To be uncomfortable – Ever try to learn a new language? Frustrating, right? CrossFit is a new language for your body. You can count on trying things that feel weird and looking a bit odd when you do them for the first time, and waking up the next day sore in places you didn’t know you had muscle. CrossFitters are willing to test themselves because they know that the long-term reward is greater than the pain.
To consistently do it differently– Routine is the enemy when it comes to fitness. At All Level, you can count on a daily workout that is constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movements. Rather than trying to train specific muscles or do cardio, we train for better movement. Don’t be looking for ‘an ab day’, that’s not how we train here.
We have made a list of abbreviations and terms that are often used. Knowing the language of CrossFit should help reduce confusion and allow you to focus on your performance.
- 3,2,1, GO – A Count down used at the start of many CrossFit WODs
- AMRAP – As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible
- Athlete – This is YOU. As long as you are pursuing health and fitness here at All Level CrossFit we will refer to you as an athlete
- Beast – An athlete with exceptionally good work capacity or work ethic.
- Beast Mode – The state of performing like a “beast”. An athlete of any level can enter “beast mode” if they want to. Beast mode is both a state of mind and physical performance.
- Box – CrossFit gyms are typically referred to as a ‘box’ because they are traditionally located in industrial type warehouses.
- BP – Bench press
- BS – Back squat
- BW – Body weight
- CFT – CrossFit Total – consisting of max squat, press, and deadlift.
- CLN -Clean
- C&J – Clean and jerk
- DL – Deadlift
- DNF – Did Not Finish. For WODs with a fixed amount of work and a time cap, it is possible to not finish the prescribed amount of work in the given time. In such cases, the score will be appended with “DNF”.
- DNS – Did Not Start. If for some reason and athlete is an able to start a WOD, they Forfeit their efforts and receive a “DNS”
- DU’s – Double unders. When jumping rope the rope passes under your feet 2 times between each jump.
- EMOM – Every minute on the minute. So for instance on the whiteboard one day it is written; 10 Push-ups EMOM for 10 minutes. This means that you must do 10 Push ups at the top or beginning of every minute for 10 minutes.
- Fire breather – An elite-level CrossFit athlete.
- FS – Front Squat
- Girls – Several classic CrossFit benchmark workouts that are given female names. The names of these workouts are arbitrary and not named after actual girls.
- GPP – General physical preparedness, aka “fitness.”
- Gymnastics – Historically, the term “gymnastics” is used relatively loosely in CrossFit to describe exercises that involve controlling body movement, typically with no weight other than body weight such as; sit-ups, push-ups, air squats, ring-rows, box jumps, etc.
- Heroes – Several CrossFit Benchmark Workouts are named after actual military, law enforcement and firefighters that have died in the line of duty. These workouts are typically very difficult as a way of honoring these heroes. Unfortunately, the list of Hero WODs continues to grow.
- HSPU – Hand Stand Push Up. While in a handstand position against the wall or freestanding. You touch your head to the ground and press all the way up until your arms are locked out.
- HSQ – Hang squat (clean or snatch). Start with bar “at the hang,” about knee height. Initiate pull. As the bar rises drop into a full squat and catch the bar in the racked position. From there, rise to a standing position
- KB – Kettlebell
- KTE – Knees to elbows. Similar to T2Bs described below.
- ME – Maximum Effort. For example if on the board it is written: 2 min ME rowing. That means you will row as hard as you possibly can for 2 full minutes therefore putting forth a maximum effort.
- Metcon – This is an abbreviation of ‘metabolic conditioning.’ Metcon is training with the intent to enhance performance in the three metabolic pathways that provide energy for all human action. These metabolic pathways are known as the phosphagen pathway (10 seconds or less), the glycolytic pathway (last up to several minutes) and the oxidative pathway (last in excess of several minutes). The term “metcon” is often misunderstood and incorrectly used by CrossFitters as a synonym for longer-duration cardio vascular training.
- MP – Military press
- MU – Muscle ups. Hanging from rings you do a combination pull-up and dip so you end in an upright support.
- OHS – Overhead squat. Full-depth squat performed while arms are locked out in a wide grip press position above (and usually behind) the head.
- Paleo – A term coined by Dr. Loren Cordain in his book “The Paleo Diet”. A theory of nutrition that humans are best suited to eat only foods that have been available in nature and eaten by hominids (including humans) for millions of years. Paleo nutrition excludes refined sweeteners, grain and grain based foods, alcohol, legumes (beans, peas and peanuts), dairy and other processed or artificial ingredients. Paleo nutrition is a guideline and scientific theory backed up by decades of solid research and common sense; it is not a philosophy, belief system or a religion.
- Paleolithic life-style – A theory that we should try to replicate the lifestyle of our Paleolithic ancestors as well as we can (within reason) in our modern lives, including: paleo nutrition, sleeping longer and more often with no or minimal electric light at night, minimizing stress, minimizing repetitive work, walking a lot every day, moving heavy things often, exercising near maximum intensity every once in a while and maintaining close daily contact with a friends and family
- PC – Power clean
- Pd – Pood, weight measure for kettlebells
- PP – Push press
- PR – Personal record
- Primal – A term coined by Mark Sisson in his book “The Primal Blue Print”. The Primal lifestyle is nearly identical to the “Paleo” lifestyle and there are no fundamental conflicts.
- PSN -Power snatch
- PU – Pull-ups, possibly push-ups depending on the context
- Rep -Repetition. One performance of an exercise.
- RM – Repetition maximum. Your 1RM is your max lift for one rep. Your 10 RM is the most you can lift 10 times.
- Rx – Or prescribed. Every WOD and movement has standards. Performing a WOD or movement according to the standards is referred to as doing it “Rx’d”; aka as prescribed. If you modify or “scale” a WOD or movement, it is not Rx. Performing a movement with a partial range of motion or with assistance is also not Rx. We urge all of our athletes to attempt both movements and WODs Rx as long as it is within their ability.
- SDHP – Sumo Deadlift High Pull. Using a wide stance and narrow grip, you pull the bar from the ground up to your chin, keeping the bar close to your body
- Set – A number of repetitions. For example; 3 sets of 10 reps, often seen as 3×10, means do 10 reps, rest, repeat, rest, repeat.
- SN -Snatch
- SQ -Squat
- CF Games – An abbreviation for the CrossFit Games. The CrossFit Games is an annual competition to find the fittest man and woman on Earth. Everyone on Earth that has access to the internet, a video camera and some basic equipment or access to a CrossFit affiliated gym is welcome to participate in the 5-week “Open” qualifier to The CrossFit Games. In 2016, more than 324,000 people from all over the world participated in the Open, submitting results for one mystery workout each of the 5 weeks. The top scorers in each region go to regional qualifier competitions. The top scorers from the regional competition go to The Games.
- T2B – Toes to bar. Hang from bar. Bending only at waist raise your toes to touch the bar, slowly lower them and repeat.
- TGU – Turkish get-up
- WOD – Workout of the Day.