Does CrossFit Really Help You Lose Weight

Crossfit - training at the limit

Jumping, sprinting, climbing, lifting weights and all that in the shortest possible time with as few breaks as possible - no wonder Crossfit is one of the toughest sports ever! Find out from eBalance.ch how you can lose weight with Crossfit and why you should exercise caution. What is Crossfit? If you just want to build muscle, you are wrong with Crossfit [...]


Jumping, sprinting, climbing, lifting weights and all that in the shortest possible time with as few breaks as possible - no wonder Crossfit is one of the toughest sports ever! Find out from eBalance.ch how you can lose weight with Crossfit and why you should exercise caution.

What is Crossfit?

Anyone who just wants to build muscles is out of place with Crossfit: Various fitness skills such as flexibility, speed, coordination, strength, balance and accuracy are equally trained in the context of functional training. The exercises are sometimes carried out with your own weight, sometimes with aids such as dumbbells, medicine balls or kettlebells.

What many do not know: today's trend sport is by no means a new phenomenon. As early as the 1980s, US coach Greg Glassmann put together a set of 60 functional exercises that could be combined in different ways. However, training courses were only offered 15 years later and the great hype was again a long time coming. In the past, crossfit workouts were more aimed at competitive athletes, but now this particularly effective training method is also accessible to the general public.

Lose weight with Crossfit: what does a workout look like?

Crossfit training usually lasts an hour. The warm-up phase is already intense, followed by skills training with strength exercises and ten to twenty minutes of high-intensity training. The latter is based on the daily changing “Workout of the Day” (WOD), which is announced by the instructor shortly before the start of the training and defines which exercises are to be completed. The aim is to complete as many laps as possible in a given period of time or to master a certain number of laps in as little time as possible. It can be both maximum strength exercises with aids and interval challenges. Before the training is over, the pulse can drop again during a stretching phase.

Because the participants are always concerned about time and repetitions, Crossfit has a competitive character. Nevertheless, a good group feeling is the focus of the fitness philosophy: athletes never only train for themselves, they also encourage each other. Some of the exercises are even done in pairs so that the participants can control the posture and execution of their colleagues.

 

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Who is Crossfit for?

Crossfit advertises that everyone can join - regardless of age, weight and fitness level. Before the actual entry into training, most providers have an obligatory introductory course, during which the fitness level is clarified in a personal consultation. Then all participants pull in the same direction; they only differ in the intensity with which they perform the exercises. It doesn't matter whether someone manages two or five repetitions in the given time. The main thing is that the exercises are carried out precisely and at your own performance limit.

Since the workout is very intense, a lot of calories are consumed during a workout. If you are overweight, however, you should carefully consider whether Crossfit is the right sport for you. If you are very overweight, joint-friendly sports such as walking, swimming or cycling are certainly better - at least for starting (again). If you have already lost a few pounds and feel fit enough, you can of course still dare to try Crossfit. In this case, however, detailed advice and careful execution of the exercises are all the more important. Do not let the instructor's drill stress you too much and keep your own pace, even if other participants are faster.

Criticism of Crossfit

Despite the great hype, there are some critical points that are particularly emphasized by sports scientists:

  • Risk of injury: As there is great time pressure and increasing effort in the training, there is a risk that the exercises will no longer be performed properly after a certain time. If the instructor does not recognize this, long-term damage can result.
  • Overtraining: Crossfit is highly intensive and should therefore only be trained in combination with days off. In the worst case, overloading the body can lead to painful muscle damage.
  • Exercise structure: Many experts doubt that strength training in circuit form and the strong concentration on a time limit make sense in combination. So the precise execution of individual exercises should be in the foreground. Endurance and strength can also be improved more effectively if they are trained separately from one another.
  • Number of participants: The fact that every participant should be picked up at their personal fitness level places high demands on the instructor. If the lesson is then filled with more than 15 to 20 participants, it is simply not possible to check that the exercise was carried out properly.

By the way: “Workouts often the Day” can often be found as YouTube videos or Internet instructions. However, it is not advisable to do this on your own before some training lessons with a trained instructor have taken place.

Claudia Müller, graduate Nutritionist HF, Jasmine Helbling, editor eBalance / Image: © David Pereiras - fotolia.com