I just finished a four week Crossfit workouts for beginners seminar last Friday. At the gym where I train, they require people to finish this course in order to be qualified to go to the workout of the day (WOD).
My experience with this seminar has been really good. The workouts are highly focused on body weight exercises, kettlebells, exercises with barbells such as deadlifts and shoulder presses, squats, dips, ball throwing, and a lot more. The heaviest weight we ever loaded on a barbell in this course was 35kg (77 pounds), a light weight compared to what I’ve been lifting in the gym.
The workouts in this Crossfit for beginners course have been really short compared to how I’ve trained before. The class would consist of a short warm up, then our trainer would teach us certain moves with a large emphasis on how to do them correctly. Then the workout itself would usually last for about 15 minutes. The longest workout was 18 minutes and the shortest one was only 10 minutes. The exercises were three times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 12 workouts in total.
What really got to me was the cardiovascular factor. The weights we used weren’t really challenging for me, but having to lift them really fast, and going between different exercises with no rest in between, I’d usually be exhausted in a few minutes.
A sample workout (“Fight Gone Bad”) – Click link for instructional video:
- Wall Balls (throw a 20 pound ball up on the wall) – 1 min
- Sumo Deadlift High Pull (kind of a sumo deadlift/upward row hybrid) – 35kg – 1 min
- Box Jump (jump onto a 50cm high box, step down, repeat) – 1 min
- Push Press (A shoulder press where you can bend your legs to help push the weight up) – 35kg – 1 min
- Rows (A basic rowing machine) – 1 min
We would do all these exercises in sequence with no rest in between, then take a 1 minute break and do all five exercises again, for three rounds (17 minutes total). These weights really seem awfully light, but doing them in this way makes it ridiculously hard.
If I were to slap a number on it, I’d say that a Crossfit workout is about 10 times harder than a tough bodybuilding workout, even though it’s much shorter. I feel that this form of exercising is way superior to doing workouts in the gym, I’m actually really sick of going there, trying to go for a pump and maxing up my weight in order to gain more size.
I’m really just beyond that point in my life. A few years ago I was obsessed with this and planned on competing in bodybuilding. At my peak I was over 200 pounds and it was mostly muscle, and that is quite a lot for a guy who is only about 174cm (5’8). Right now, I just want to be healthy, fit, fast, lean and strong. Crossfit is excellent for that purpose.
A Crossfit workout is most definitely a High Intensity Workout, where you are expending a massive amount of energy in a short time. I’ve felt that eating low-carb on workout days has hindered my performance a bit, so I’m going to try adding in some more non-gluten carbs (about 100-150g) around my workouts. The muscle cells do need glucose to fuel anaerobic respiration, that is a biochemical fact.
I’m going to continue going there three times a week, this time doing the workout of they day instead of the beginners course. I will write a post later about my results with adding carbohydrate around a workout and I’m still going to keep the carbs low during non-workout days.