Conquer CrossFit

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“The Strong Always Survive”

By Amanda Thomas, Photos by Wild Creek Media

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CrossFit has taken the fitness world by storm as of late, but with some misconceptions. CrossFit is a type of exercise that combines strength training with explosive plyometrics, Olympic style weight lifting, body weight exercises, gymnastics, and endurance training.

Paul Dyck, the owner of Starke CrossFit, explains the difference between working out at a CrossFit gym versus working out at a regular exercise facility.

“At Starke CrossFit we don’t have fancy equipment because you already have the most amazing piece of equipment ever invented — the human body. We are the machines. Using traditional gym equipment has taught people to isolate movements rather than to squat, lift, bend, twist, throw, and carry the way the body was meant to. If you neglect the abilities and ranges of motion the human body is capable of, you can become restricted and cause permanent damage to your greatest asset.”

Matt Winchar, owner of Undeafeted CrossFit, backs up what Dyck explained.

“You’ll walk in and probably think, where are all the machines? We use barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls. We have jump ropes, rowers, and we run outside – sometimes with weight on our backs. The thing that sets CrossFit apart is how we take advantage of compound movements. Exercises that require the use of your whole body, rather than isolating muscle groups. This produces many benefits, such as an increased metabolic cost (which burns more calories), a holistic strength development, and most importantly for a lot of people, more bang for your buck. You can spend less time working out. Our workouts are only an hour long and you’ll be challenged with that.”

Another misconception about CrossFit is that there’s some sort of required fitness level to start. That’s not the case, anyone can do CrossFit because the workouts can be modified to suit where your personal starting point is. If you can’t do a regular pull up you can use a band to help support your weight, Dyck explains.

“We have all types of people doing CrossFit. We have a 70-year-old gentleman who has had two knee replacements that is constantly getting fitter and stronger. We have many women who are busy moms who haven’t had any previous athletic experience who learn quickly that they are capable of doing a lot more physically and lifting a lot more weight than they could’ve ever imagined. Any of our CrossFit workouts can be modified to suit where a specific individual is at.”

CrossFit workouts are high intensity and constantly varied. The level of intensity is relative to each individual and your personal fitness level. As your fitness increases, a high level of intensity can be maintained in the same workout by increasing the weight, and working faster, while keeping a high quality of movement and technique.

4starke-w1200-h1200Form and proper technique are two of the most important parts of CrossFit. The trainers are there to teach you the proper techniques so you can make the most of your workout without injury. While there’s risk with any type of high intensity activity, the risks with CrossFit are certainly reduced by having a mindful trainer who is conscious of the proper movements and will correct any flaws. They won’t throw you into an Olympic lift without having taught you each step of the lift and having you practice it numerous times before doing it with even a minimal amount of weight. CrossFit classes also tend to have a smaller class size (generally six to 12 people) to allow the trainer to have eyes on each athlete and to be able to pick out improper technique and quickly correct it.

Most, if not all, CrossFit gyms in the city will let you try the workout for free before you sign up. Investigate where the nearest CrossFit gym is, then check out their website to learn about the complimentary introductory class. It’s beneficial to try it and become familiar with the way specific trainers run their classes. If you’re in the south end of the city, visit Matt at Undefeated CrossFit on Waverley or online at www.undefeatedcrossfit.com. In the north end of Winnipeg you can find Paul at Starke CrossFit on Brazier Street and online at www.starkestrength.com.