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Sweating with Sienna - CrossFit

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Preparing the body “not only for the known, but also the unknown” is the slogan for CrossFit, one of the fastest-growing strength and conditioning programs today. It is not a conventional specialized training program like performing isolated weight lifting for a certain muscle group. Instead, CrossFit prides itself on not limiting itself to one muscle group. The CrossFit founder Greg Glassman said, “Our specialty is not specializing.” 

Rather than being specialized, CrossFit is part of a training trend called functional training. This means the training program is broad and includes all forms of natural movement. Running, jumping, lifting, squatting and agility are all fundamental pieces of the CrossFit training program.

Exercising the CrossFit way requires you to work out three to five days per week. The workouts are highly intense and short, taking about five to 15 minutes to complete.

CrossFit workouts – referred to as WOD (workout of the day) - are a blend of callisthenic and weight-bearing exercises. The workouts typically combine explosive exercises done in a circuit format - one exercise follows right after the next with little to no rest in between. The blend of workout movements creates an all-over fitness regime.

It’s like this: CrossFit would never produce an athlete that could lift a truck but not run a mile.

The core of CrossFit is about inclusiveness and adaptability, meaning the workouts are all scalable. Scalable means that you lift what you can and you move what you can. “Crossfitters” improve at their own pace by sticking with the fitness program and continuing to grow stronger and fitter. The scalable workouts infer that CrossFit is capable of serving any and all types of bodies in any condition.

It should be noted that the bright, shiny and comfy elements of your fitness center will almost certainly not be found in your average CrossFit gym. The gym is a warehouse-like facility where the exercise equipment consists of a bunch of bumper-plated Olympic weights, dumbbells, pull-up bars and medicine balls. The only cardio equipment you’ll see are rowing machines. There is not a treadmill in sight. Instead, “Crossfitters” like to hit the pavement and run outside.

When first joining CrossFit, newcomers go through a one-month initiation course where they learn the proper techniques for all of the major exercises performed in the CrossFit program.

I recently went to a CrossFit squat foundational class. I had previously thought that a squat was one solid movement but at the class I learned that there were thousands of different ways to perform a squat. For some squats, your legs needed to be directly under your hips. For others, you needed to stand like a sumo wrestler. Still others required you to hold weight while performing the squat.

I performed what felt like a billion squats in about an hour. The next day, I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a train. My legs felt tremendously sore; just going up stairs felt like it took an extra 20 minutes. But while I felt sore, I also felt that I had worked a muscle group and that I was on my way to becoming fitter.

No pain, no gain!

If you are interested in joining a CrossFit affiliate, there are locations in Bangor and Old Town. 

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