This is part 2 of a series in explaining how a CrossFit gym is different from a commercial/globo gym. For our purposes, we will be focusing on the following major differences between our box and some of the local commercial/globo gyms:
Coached Classes - When people go to a commercial gym they will typically wander around looking for a machine that is available to use. If you're lucky, on upper body day you'll find the applicable machines available for your upper body workout. However, the problem with a commercial gym is that the equipment you need might be unavailable at the time you need it and even if you are able to claim the machine needed, you might be using a piece of equipment incorrectly thus negating any benefits of that machine. For females specifically, in most commercial gyms you can find a self-proclaimed fitness expert/know-it-all that may interrupt your sets to inform you that you are incorrectly using a machine, when perhaps, in fact, you were using it correctly but because you have boobs they just assume you don't know what you're doing. At a commercial gym there is little hope of relying on a certified coach available to correct your movement to keep you safe and injury free. Unfortunately it is common in commercial gyms to have a so-called "trainer" onsite that sometime might not know as much as you do when it comes to lifting. We see it in our local area: local gyms that say they have a trainer when in fact the person they are touting as a trainer has no credentials, no certifications, and are no more than a person that might look to be in shape.
In regard to the machines and equipment that people use in commercial gyms, going to the gym on your own and just going through the motions on the equipment can be boring and monotonous. There are very few sports in which the athlete is sitting stationary on a piece of equipment and in life, we should be as physically active as possible well into our golden years so that our mobility is sufficient. So, why should you trust your workout regimen to machines that have no real life applicability to quality movement patterns?
CrossFit's founder, Greg Glassman, said that his idea for starting the revolutionary fitness craze he named CrossFit came about due to his frustrations with practices in traditional gyms. "I mean you sit on this thing, you put the pin in the hole, there's only one way you can move it, and that's not really what people need," he said. CrossFit workouts change daily and contain variety to keep its membership on its toes. The regimen consists of functional movements that aim to increase individual work capacity and is applicable to other sports activities.
Enter a certified CrossFit coach
When people attend a CrossFit class they participate in a structured class. There is no coming in and doing your own thing. CrossFit boxes have specific programming designed to help you achieve certain stimuli. One day the programming focus might be on conditioning - light weight, high reps, a set time frame. Another day, the focus might be more on skill - loading up AHAP (as heavy as possible) until your form breaks down and then you should back off and go AHAP with good form. On another, maybe the focus is just on lifting heavy. The class is coached from the beginning of the class, which includes a warm-up, coached through the strength and/or skill portion of the class, and coached through the movements of the WOD (workout of the day), until the class is concluded. We like to finish our classes with relevant stretches/mobility. A class is structured to last for no more than one hour. CrossFit coaches are certified and are able to provide coaching cues to make sure the athlete is performing the movement safely and correctly. In a commercial gym, you are left to your own devices and even though you might think that you are squatting to depth, you aren't. And how many times do you see "cheater" push-ups happening with no lock-out of the arms at the top and people not touching their chest to the ground in fitness classes that don't have the rigid standards a CrossFit class does? The goal for fitness is to develop a full range of motion in your body movement patterns and if you are left to your own devices, you're gonna short-range the shit out of squats and push-ups because otherwise, it HURTS; otherwise, you won't be able to do as many reps; otherwise, it will take you longer! And that, folks, is the main reason YOU NEED A CERTIFIED COACH, not some random Joe Shmo who took an exercise science class in college. There are standards that should be met in your body movement patterns and if those standards are not being explained and enforced, you are wasting your time and falling short of receiving the benefit intended from an exercise. You should exercise to get fit so that no matter what life throws at you, you are strong and can survive. A certified coach is someone that wants you to succeed and knows that if you aren't doing a movement correctly, there is little benefit.
Speaking of performing a movement safely and correctly, why is that so important? Well, to begin with, if your goal is to get in shape and you get injured because of performing a movement incorrectly, you won't be able to workout. The goal is to perform movements without risk of injury so that you can advance in your strength and conditioning. Although CrossFit has been the butt of many jokes regarding how unsafe it is, the vast majority of people with half a brain know (and we aren't saying that even half the population has that much mental capacity) that is an unfair statement. When you consider the actual number of people that do CrossFit worldwide (it's estimated that a whopping 4 million people do CrossFit!) in relation to the fail videos that circulate on the internet (regurgitated by strength athletes that are jealous they can't hang from a pull-up bar for 30 seconds let alone do a pull-up or a muscle-up), the injury ratio for CrossFit is far less than the sports of powerlifting and strongman (sorry, folks)! CrossFit has fostered the culture of putting everything online which has helped to perpetuate the myth that CrossFit is unsafe. NOT TRUE, especially when you have coaches that are engaged and invested in their members. At CrossFit Intense, we are fortunate to have knowledgeable, educated and certified coaches that are invested in our members' quality of movement.
The proof of quality coaching, however, is in the pudding. Through the coaching onsite at our facility, we have taken a "skinny fat" former marathon walker who was in her 50's who definitely didn't need to lose weight, but she came to us because she realized that as she was aging she lacked the necessary strength needed to perform reasonable tasks. Six years later, the 60-something year old deadlifts over 200 pounds, has competed in a power lifting meet and holds state records, and is proficient at Olympic lifts, jumps on boxes and can do double-unders and more movements than we can name here. These were activities she never dreamed of doing before starting CrossFit. She has succeeded because of the programming and coaches.
We had one female that begin CrossFit in her 40's that couldn't do a sit-up when she first started. Now, she does tough mudders and spartan races, competes in local CrossFit competitions, can do pull-ups, toes to bar and is proficient at body weight movements in addition to barbell movements. Again - her proficiency throughout the broad realm of exercises is to voluminous to list.
We had a 50-something year old female that began CrossFit for the first time at our facility in 2010. She had never participated in sports growing up and under our coaching she finished the CrossFit Open in 2015 as 60th in the world in her age group. Without proper coaching, that is a feat that she never could have accomplished.
We had a 53 year old join us in late March 2014 at the conclusion of our Zero to Sexy in 6 Weeks class during bring a friend week. Gayla was able to deadlift 95 pounds the first time we had a deadlift 1 rep max challenge which wasn't bad considering that that was almost her body weight! Within the next 8 months or so, Gayla was coached throughout a broad range of movements during her CrossFit classes and she attended classes 4-5 times a week which caused her to see dramatic improvements relatively quickly. Because of Intense Barbell Club, the side of our facility that was created for those athletes that was to focus on strength, Gayla began receiving more one-on-one coaching and her power lifting numbers skyrocketed. Long story short, she ended up qualifying for IPL Worlds in February 2015 at the first annual Pro/Am Strong Box meet, and at IPL Worlds in November of that year she set three IPL World Records, which she still holds today. Gayla had a 275.58 pound deadlift (an increase of 180 pounds in 18 months). She won't have these records for long, however, as she has qualified for IPL Worlds, once again, and will go back in November 2017 to add some pounds to her totals. All of this came about because there were coaches invested in her training regimen. She had trained at a local facility prior to coming to CrossFit Intense but again, she did not receive any significant coaching that enabled her to make any credible advances in her strength (remember, her deadlift was just 95# when she started with us)! Under proper coaching, she has gotten older yet stronger -- something that should be the goal of everyone over the age of 50!
We've had more people than we can count that have lost 70+ pounds since they began CrossFit at Intense. Weight loss is primarily controlling your food intake; however, those at our facility that have had major weight loss after they joined us made huge strength gains while at the same time losing significant weight.
The common thread among these people is that they committed to the programming and trusted the coaches at our facility. Coaches are not only motivators, they look at a member and know they can't fix everything in just one session - we are building a relationship with our clients and adding layers of confidence and ability every time the person walks through the door. A coach builds from the ground up instilling confidence, encouraging, pushing, motivating and developing the character needed to push through an exercise that the member thought would be impossible just a few weeks ago, yet now they are not only performing the movement efficiently but they are having fun while doing it. A certified coach knows when to modify a movement for someone and yet knows when to push the person to do more, go faster, lift heavier.
If everyone could go it alone through life and remain in shape there would be no need for any gyms. The fact is, most people go it alone through life and become immobile, weak, stiff and lack energy to do menial tasks which often times leads to obesity and ultimately their acknowledgment that they need to begin a workout regimen. Doing things on their own is the main reason they are out of shape, so why would they think doing things on their own in a commercial gym is the answer to getting back into shape? Coaches are necessary to motivate and critique movement patterns so that even the most out of shape person can be successful in improving their fitness.
Looking for a motivating atmosphere to increase your capacity and strength? Fill out the form on our website to schedule your free fitness assessment and you can see for yourself how a coach can help you increase your fitness abilities.
Making you harder to kill.
CrossFit Intense is an affiliate located in Fairmont, West Virginia in Layne Performance Center (LPC). We are a business that is focused on assisting you in maximizing your performance, whether it be for increased it quality of life in your daily tasks, increase in strength, greater mobility, sports conditioning, benefit from chiropractic care, or access to physical therapy and whole foods nutrition.
We are home to Intense Barbell Club which members are strength athletes devoted to powerlifting and strongman and dedicated to advancing in their sport. We have numerous state and American Record holders on our team, as well as a few IPL World Record holders.
Live in NCWV and serious about strength? Come join our team. You'll be glad you did.