What is CrossFit, how does it work and how does it benefit you? CocoPro ambassador Sophie Adams explains…

What is CrossFit?

As a ‘CrossFitter’, I often struggle with how to explain what CrossFit is to those who have never come across it.

The official website describes CrossFit as:

‘constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life. They move the largest loads the longest distances, so they are ideal for maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time.’

To simplify, CrossFit is a fitness regime developed by Greg Gassman which incorporates elements from high-intensity interval training, weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, strongman, and other exercises. The overall aim is to forge a broad range of fitness supported by measurable, observable and repeatable results.

How does CrossFit work?

CrossFit is mainly ‘class-based’ and the main session you would expect to find at your local CrossFit gym, also known as a ‘box’, would be a WOD (workout of the day). WODs generally last for an hour and usually incorporate a warm up, skill development, a high intensity workout and stretching. The main part of the WOD is usually the high intensity workout, which lasts for 15-20 minutes. Your performance on each WOD is often scored, to encourage competition and track individual progress. The WOD can be built of a variety of movements from box jumps, deadlifts, rope climbs and kettlebell swings to rowing and running. You never really know what is going to be thrown at you – which is half the fun of it!

How can it benefit you?

I personally use CrossFit to enhance my running. Your heart rate remains elevated throughout the entire workout, which increases your cardiovascular endurance and is perfect for long distance runners such as myself. CrossFit also helps increase my overall body strength, which helps improve running form and efficiency.

CrossFit focuses on improving the following domains: stamina, strength, and coordination.

The combination of the vast variety of movements can lead to a complete transformation of your quality of life and overall health. As a result of doing the varied functional movements your joint mobility can also improve. It will also help to lower your risk of injury during every day life and help with every day tasks.

CrossFit is empowering and it helps boost your confidence.

There is a big sense of community and camaraderie within the boxes, which helps push you, support you and drives a competitive nature. There is a totally different vibe compared to a normal gym, with much more interaction between people creating a family type environment; which is the thing I love about it. This family feeling also spreads worldwide as there are affiliated gyms across the globe and you feel connected to them through competitions such as the CrossFit Open and Regionals.

CrossFit has really changed the way I carry out, plan and think about my training. If you find the right box, CrossFit is an awesome choice for a lot of people and can give you so many benefits. A lot of CrossFit boxes offer a free first session so it really is worth giving it a go if you want to see what it’s all about. It’s great because the workouts are suited to everyone – whatever your ability, the workout can be scaled accordingly so my one piece of advice is don’t be scared to give it a try!


About the Author

Ultra & Trail Runner

Connect with Sophie Adams

Sophie Adams is a London based trail and ultra marathon runner; as well as co-partner of the running community Wild Trail Runners.

Starting her journey as a track athlete and representing her local county at a young age, Sophie has now progressed into longer distance running and competing in various races across the world. She has recently competed in European races such as the Skyrunner World Series race Transvulcania, on La Palma Island, and Italy’s Sciacche Trail.

After transitioning to long distance, mountain running events Sophie also has a strong focus on strength conditioning and CrossFit endurance training.

Head over to Sophie’s blog to see her latest adventures.