Why CrossFit? - Intensity
In Part 1 of this blog series, we discussed how modifiable and scalable CrossFit can be. Despite the fact that we can, and highly encourage modifications of our workouts, we still stress the fact that intensity is the key to an effective CrossFit workout, or any workout for that matter.
Another common theme we see in gyms all the time is the lack of intensity. Just being in the building does not necessarily mean you are going to get fit or improve your life or situation in any way. Sure, any workout is better than no workout at all, but measurable gains only come when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Some of you reading this will scoff at this thought. Intensity is not exclusive to CrossFit only, and you're absolutely right. It is entirely possible for an individual to put a plan into action, go to the gym, bust their butt, and get great results. This happens every single day. In fact, I would even go a step further in agreeing with you that CrossFit did not even invent high-intensity interval training, or the metabolic conditioning that you see in CrossFit boxes across the globe on a day-to-day basis.
Having said all of that, there are modalities built right into the framework of CrossFit itself that lends itself to pushing individuals to a point of discomfort (i.e. intensity). A clock ticking away, a set rep scheme to finish, a Coach pushing you to move faster, fellow class members encouraging you to pick up the pace, and of course your own inner desire to improve. All of these factors combined give you a tremendous feeling to move faster and get yourself to that point of being uncomfortable.
I love this following video from CrossFit. We see that although these high-level athletes are now in great shape and could be considered extremely "fit," they too had a starting point where there was a workout that made them feel that all too familiar hurt you get from an intense CrossFit workout. Not only that, but I am also reminded of the quote: "It doesn't get easier, you just get better!"
The built-in modalities that was talked about previously apply to long-standing CrossFit members as well. Despite getting fitter and fitter, every single time you show up, you should be ready to work and push yourself to your limit. We are only improving when we push ourselves to a point where we are doing something we couldn't do before, and that is where CrossFit is so effective.
Once you begin to get the intensity of CrossFit, you will soon become oddly attracted and addicted to it. All of the individuals in the above video have that wry smile on their face, because even though they know their first workout (and probably every workout since then) had that hurt, it is ironically the reason why they keep coming back for more.