CrossFit is all the rage in physical fitness. It appeals to both men and women alike. Back in 2000, the first CrossFit gym opened in California. From there, the movement slowly spread across the country, with approximately 13 gyms opened by 2005. Since then, CrossFit has spread like wildfire, with more than 13,000 gyms now open nationwide.
The CrossFit philosophy is that in everyday life activities and movements aren’t segmented into just cardio or just strength training; there is a combination of the two always going on when you’re chasing and carrying a child through an airport or hiking with a friend. In CrossFit, the combined movements of cardio exercises along with strength and agility are all wrapped into one to mimic these everyday activities. It provides a workout where “functional fitness” is put into play. The high-intensity, high-power realm of exercise produces an overall conditioned body. Within the program, gymnastics is incorporated, as are running, rowing, kettle balls, free weights and resistance bands.
John Miller, Maple Grove resident and owner of My Town Fitness CrossFit, claims that CrossFit is the “most efficient way to achieve strength and endurance.” With CrossFit, a person doesn’t have to work out longer; they just need to work out more efficiently and effectively. During each workout, a considerable portion of time is dedicated to proper technique. The coaches teach, enforce and then reinforce correct methods for various exercises or movements. “We want to see people still moving at age 70 and not injured and out of commission because their body took a beating from working out improperly when they were younger,” Miller says.
This type of exercise isn’t for the weak. Take Maple Grove resident Kevin Lysdahl, age 55, for instance. After his wife passed away a few years ago, his daughter encouraged him to begin working out on a regular basis to forge new friendships and battle depression. He found a supportive environment at CrossFit Alces in Brooklyn Park. They were there to cheer him on, and they truly wanted to see him succeed. Not only did he get into better shape, but the friendships he made along the way were invaluable as well.
Lysdahl has gained more confidence since beginning CrossFit and he is in the best physical and mental condition he has ever been in. Before he started CrossFit, he tipped the scale at 181 pounds. His doctor encouraged him to lose weight, but Lysdahl wasn’t sure how to go about it. After a year in the CrossFit world, he is down to a much healthier 150 pounds.
His weekly workouts have given him a competitive edge as well. This past spring, he competed in the CrossFit Open, another fun aspect of the CrossFit phenomenon. It is a contest focused on competing against yourself as well as others from around the world. It consists of participating in three new workouts each week for five weeks. The workouts, done at a certified gym or via video, are then judged, ranked and scored against others.
The CrossFit bug has spread to others close to Lysdahl. Both his son and daughter are participating in CrossFit. His daughter competed in the CrossFit Open in 2015, and placed No. 1 at the “box” or CrossFit gym, and then went on to be ranked No. 8 in the world for her age division online.
CrossFit isn’t only seen in a “box” or in a gym-type setting. The high-intensity, cross-functional movements can be applied to a variety of professional as well as athletic settings. It has become increasingly popular in training firefighters, law enforcement agents and military organizations, and it provides cross training for high school and college athletes and sports teams.