“THE ART OF EXECUTING COMPOUND EXERCISE AT HIGH INTENSITY“
“Remember, this is Thailand. There is nothing regulating the Health & Fitness industry here. Anyone, gym or organisation can falsely claim to be a Personal Trainer, CrossFit qualified instructor, and CrossFit affiliated gym. If you are an experienced player in Crossfit, then scroll down to see the gyms I know are legit. If you are new to Crossfit then read on so you are aware of what a Crossfit class should be like.”
On a random side note, before we continue… If you are coming to Phuket and looking to do some CrossFit, you might also be thinking about travelling around Thailand and Asia during your stay. I would highly recommend getting these Travel WOD dice, they are one of the coolest things since sliced bread. WOD Dice is a great travel companion if you are like to work out and keep fit but plan to move around and explore. The Dice consist of all compound exercises (Obviously) with Timed and Rep Dice options. Test your readiness against the unknown and unknowable with these bad boys.
FIRST THINGS FIRST. WHAT IS CROSSFIT?
CrossFit is a training style developed by former gymnast Greg Glassman who firmly believed that physical fitness is a measure of the overall fitness level of the body. Instead of exercises that focus on a certain muscle group or in developing a specific skill set such as, say, ‘powerlifting’, CrossFit training uses varied functional movements, thus building the general fitness of the entire body with each workout.
Don’t, even for a second, misunderstand this to be an easier way to build your fitness levels. When Glassman says overall fitness instead of specialized training, he doesn’t intend to go easy at all. Instead, in order for CrossFit training to be as effective, or even more than the conventional training style, it is performed at high intensities in a very limited time span.
THE CROSSFIT PHILOSOPHY — ‘JACK OF ALL TRADES, MASTER OF NONE’.
This philosophy is by no means, meant as an insult. It, in fact, defines the strategy which CrossFit uses in building an overall high level of fitness i.e. executing a greater workload over a broad time & modal domain. The functional movements CrossFit employs have been tried and tested over many years and are the best of weightlifting, rowing, gymnastics, running etc.
THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF CROSSFIT
The way CrossFit sees it, there are 10 primary components to physical fitness – Cardiovascular or respiratory endurance, power, strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, agility, speed, stamina, and accuracy. The functional movements used in CrossFit training are constantly varied for each workout and is performed at high intensity. The idea here is to maximise the workload in the least amount of time. This work divided by time method is used to measure the power output. The aim ultimately is to address and improve upon the 10 building blocks of our physical fitness.
The higher the intensity, the bigger the power output, the greater the gains.
Well, there are numerous tactics CrossFit training incorporates in order to keep its participants motivated and to achieve the desired results. For starters, CrossFit is a group training activity. This is done primarily for two, very good, reasons. One, motivation is an essential commodity when it comes to highly intense and painful workouts. The second is, of course, competition. A competitive environment tends to bring out the best in us. That’s just human nature.
Other things you’ll commonly notice in a CrossFit box (or gym) are a scoreboard, rules defining the standard of performance expected of each workout, a ticking clock, an equally motivated trainer pacing to and fro, and of course some very unconventional training equipment.
Even the CrossFit training sessions are different from what you might be used to. A session typically lasts 40 minutes to 1 hour and are mostly divided into 4 sessions.
A Dynamic Warm-Up
This is not your typical light movements, such as a few minutes on the treadmill. Instead, you’ll be doing stretches, functional and mobility movements, activation exercises etc.
A technique or Skill-based workout
Here, per the daily schedule, you will engage in a workout that focuses entirely on building pure strength or improving a skill or technique, most likely an Olympic Movement. The training done in this session is usually to complement and prepare the body for the ‘workout of the day’.
Workout of the day or WOD
This is kind of the main event that will have you sweating and swearing. Here, the participants are given a specific workout in which they are to complete a certain number of reps in time or check how many reps of the exercise can be completed in a set amount of time (AMRAP).
Finally, stretch and cool down.
Finally, you get to sit down and do some static stretches to help cool down and relax the muscles. If he is good, the teacher might get you on a foam roller to help speed recovery.
CROSSFIT PHUKET: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY.
Big results always come with big risks. Crossfit training is no exception to this universal law. With CrossFit training, there are many key components, namely the training program, the trainer and the trainee. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but when you’re doing high reps of very heavy weights at high speeds, if even one of them is left unchecked, the results can quickly turn south. Given the big gains and losses involved, if you’re new to the CrossFit concept, here are a few pros and cons of the game:
PROS OF CROSSFIT TRAINING
Crossfit enhances muscle building.
Due to the varied functional movements performed at high intensity, several muscle groups are worked on at the same time, thus improving the overall muscles endurance. No wonder, CrossFit training builds muscles fast!
Improved cardiovascular health
Since the CrossFit workouts are performed at high intensity, the heart rate is constantly elevated during the training sessions, thus enhancing stamina and endurance.
Crossfit is scalable.
This is perhaps one of the main reasons to get you started with CrossFit. Although the workout program remains the same for the entire class, the load and intensity can be adjusted as per the individual. This helps you stay with the class without putting undue stress on the body. Once your strength and endurance levels increase, so can your workload and intensity.
CrossFit training is not a static workout. Instead, the focus is on functional movements that constantly vary with each workout. Such exercises help with body strengthening, joint movements, agility, balance, mobility and flexibility.
Not just due to the group training, but with the scorecard insight and the adrenaline rushing, you will soon find you are constantly competing against your past performances.
A supportive community.
Unlike conventional gyms, CrossFit is specifically a group activity. Group members tend to be a great motivating and support factor during those very very hard training sessions. Sharing the pain, sweat, and rewards together, the CrossFit training groups often turn into tightly knit communities whose relations extend even outside the box.
CONS OF CROSSFIT TRAINING
Greater risk of injury.
Crossfit training often encourages its participants to push themselves to the edge, not just in terms of weight (or strength) but in terms of intensity as well. Which means you might be lifting more and trying to do more reps than you comfortably can. When focusing on maximizing the reps, it is very easy to lose form. This very often leads to serious injuries. Check out my article on the Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining to make sure you don’t fall into this category.
Not good for specialization or sports-specific workouts.
Crossfit follows the philosophy of overall fitness without focusing on any one area. This is bad news if you’re specifically looking to improve a certain skill set or performance related to specific muscle groups.
An over-obsessed community.
I’m sure you’re wondering why this is both a PRO and a CON. When the community stays involved with CrossFit to a certain limit, it is PRO. However, from my experience so far, because of the intense nature of the CrossFit workouts, the community soon gets obsessed with CrossFit. It’s ok to live, breath, eat and sleep CrossFit. But it’s not uncommon for Crossfit groups to become very “clicky”, “pushy” and judgemental on other fitness groups or enthusiasts.
Poor quality control of CrossFit boxes.
This, for me, is the biggest negative about CrossFit. One only needs to clear a level 1 certification to start assisting in a Crossfit class, which is just basic training and I have seen plenty of LVL 1 Crossfit trainers who can’t even do a proper squat. Get to LVL 2 and pay the affiliate fees of around $3000 a year to be qualified to start a CrossFit box or gym. Given the popularity that CrossFit has gained, it comes as no surprise that there are so many poor quality CrossFit boxes out there.
In the CrossFit community, this medical condition is also referred to as ‘Uncle Rhabdo’. Although there is absolutely nothing funny about this condition and is an example of how things can turn ugly if precaution is not taken. Here’s why – Rhabdomyolysis is a condition that occurs when one puts way too much stress on the body, the muscle fibres breakdown and enter the bloodstream which leads to kidney poisoning. Uncle Rhabdo still sounds funny to you? Although this is a very rare condition, in almost all of the cases it is the fault of the individual ignoring instructions or a bad trainer not instructing on time!
CROSSFIT PHUKET – THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX, BUT TRAIN IN IT!
Now that you know the good and the bad side of CrossFit, are you still wondering if this is something you can work with? Well, you’ll never know unless you give it a try. Although, if you’re completely new to fitness training, my advice would be to just get started with some regular and basic training first. Build yourself a foundation and some experience. These will not just help you evaluate better but also bring down the chances of any injuries.
The next precaution should be the trainer. Make sure they are CrossFit certified and have sufficient experience with the same. A good trainer is paramount to an effective workout. Never ever take chances with the trainer. If you are looking for a real affiliated CrossFit gym in Phuket, then you don’t need to look twice. Unit 27 is the gym you need to go check out. As far as I am aware they are the only gym in Phuket that’s actually CrossFit affiliated.
Education plays a major role in preventing training-related injuries. Share this article, if you have friends who are contemplating joining a CrossFit box. We all learn from experience. If you’ve had any with CrossFit training, let us know your experience through the comments.
Krix Luther is a Health and Fitness Specialist and one of Asia’s leading Personal Trainers. He is an Ex Professional Muay Thai fighter and Avid Free Diver. At the same time, he is very active, has a passion for gaming, and has his own Twitch stream. You can contact him via his Instagram if you have any questions.