Contrary to popular belief CrossFit isn’t just for bodybuilders or men looking to “bulk up.” Each and every day, more and more women trying out this mix of high intensity gymnastics, weightlifting and cardio movements. Guys – before you stop reading because this article “isn’t for you,” read on. Most of the comments here apply to men too. Not only that, but all the knowledge in this article is incredibly valuable to learn and share with all of the important women in your life.
Before we get into some reasons why specifically women can’t stop talking about CrossFit, let’s discuss some general benefits that both men and women are seeing from CrossFit.
There are many reasons why women are starting to turn to CrossFit as part of their workout regimen. For starters, CrossFit emphasizes proper form. We require new CrossFit athletes to complete our Foundations course where they learn correct technique. Anyone can join a boot camp style class and throw dumbbells and barbells around for an hour, but if you don’t learn the underlying foundational movements, you’re putting your body at risk of injury, either now or down the line.
So many of the people I’ve talked to had no problem joining a new workout class or gym. They signed up and even went to a few sessions. But what happens with most of them after about two weeks is they get bored; the classes get repetitive, the same movements are recycled and the initial excitement dissipates. When you join a CrossFit class, you will never get bored. Every day there’s a new and unique “workout of the day” (“WOD”). Some workouts may have running, gymnastic, kettle bell exercises, dumb bell movements, rowing and more.
Finally, CrossFit gets you measurable results. Some athletes like to measure their results against their friends and others in the CrossFit classes, but you don’t have to. The most important aspect of seeing results over time is measuring against yourself. By logging the weights used and the overall score of each conditioning WOD, it makes it easy for you to see the improvements in stamina and strength you’ve made over time.
If you’re new to CrossFit, there are a few unique things to realize before you get started. There are several fun acronyms and terms used in CrossFit lingo. Terms like WOD (mentioned earlier) or ‘workout of the day,’ the Box which is how most CrossFit members refer to the gym. The Girls, which refers to a list of popular “benchmark” CrossFit workouts is another example of a neat bit of lingo. A benchmark WOD is just a workout that was given a girl’s name that has a set structure and specific movements in it.
These benchmark workouts are great to track over time. You can see how much faster, stronger, more flexible you’ve gotten over time. That is because you have access to thousands of CrossFit athletes worldwide to compare to online! Getting familiar with these terms can save you time when you see them in your local box while you’re doing a “WOD” (see what I did there?).
There are varied exercises like burpees, overhead squats and kettlebell swings in CrossFit that have made it a household name. These are exercises designed to work the whole body, igniting your core and giving a total body-conditioning workout. This methodology has been proven to initiate weight loss and a whole host of health benefits that we’ll get into next.
One of the chief hesitations or complaints I hear from women before they start a workout program is how they are afraid they’re going to get “bulky.” It is understandable and perfectly legitimate to not want to turn into a tortoise just because of lifting weights. Let me dispel all the rumors and theories out there about this idea that lifting weights actually causes women to bulk up. It doesn’t.
You can finally breath easy. Weight training is not what gets women building mass. If a women did want to gain muscle mass or “bulk up,” it would be incredibly difficult. First, men and women’s hormones are different; men naturally develop large muscles more easily. Women can put on mass if they really wanted to, but it would involve eating a ton more carbohydrates and protein than most can manage, and a very specific workout program.
CrossFit is ideal for women who are looking to lose weight, get toned, or get healthier in general. When you weight train, you build lean muscle (think toned) and get stronger without developing large “bulky” muscles. In addition, that lean muscle you’ve built actually increases your metabolism, meaning even when you’re sitting around and not exercising, that muscle will help your body burn more fat.
So many of the female athletes that walk in the door want results fast. With CrossFit, you get results fast. CrossFit WODs are only an hour long, but the benefits last up to 72 hours after the workout. Immediately after exercise, your body will do its job in recovering and repairing torn muscle tissue (how building muscle works). This effect can last for 2-3 days after a WOD and your body will be burning calories the whole time! You won’t get the same results running on a treadmill for 60 minutes. The treadmill might read “500 calories burned” but the effect is only good for about 24 hours. After a CrossFit session, your body will be burning calories and heating up your metabolism for 2-3 days.
CrossFit offers wide range of workout programs with varied exercises and structures. This makes the whole workout more fun and exciting. Since every day there are different exercises you will have to perform, doing CrossFit every day will never bore you and always keep you engaged.