What is CrossFit and How Does It Work?

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CrossFit.  This is a word that not too long ago entered the popular vernacular and basically refers to a new type of workout style that quickly took the fitness world by storm, with practitioners popping up all over the country.

crossfit course

CrossFit is still a relatively new practice, focusing on functional movement and challenging strength training for the whole body.

That said, CrossFit as an overall concept is still the source of some confusion for some people, as the word itself – “CrossFit”, might seem a bit vague, and, because of what some CrossFit classes can be like to the uninitiated, the imagined intensity can seem a little bit intimidating for some.

Here’s an example of some more “hardcore” CrossFit training, that might spring to mind if you haven’t given much thought to CrossFit, but presume you have an idea what it’s all about.

The following video is complete with a dubstep soundtrack that will either excite you and get you more interested to try CrossFit, or make you think, “Hm, I don’t think I could handle this…I’ll stick to the elliptical for now.”

While videos like this can be a huge inspiration to some, others might shy away from it because it gives the impression that CrossFit is something that can only be practiced if you’re already in great shape, and some kind of proto-human with abs of steel who wants to have your steel abs replaced by titanium.

Q&A with Jacqueline Dolan of Golden Pheonix CrossFit

Well, today we talk to Jacqueline Dolan of Golden Pheonix Crossfit, in Kenilworth, New Jersey, to get her take on CrossFit, and see what someone who teaches it thinks about it. Could it be something you can incorporate into your fitness routine one day?  We shall see!

Jacqueline Dolan golden pheonix crossfit

Without further delay, let’s hop into the Q&A with Jacqueline Dolan – Enjoy!

Q: What is CrossFit, in your view?

CrossFit is workout programming that make everyday tasks easier. The functionality behind the movements and why we perform them prevent injury for the aging population and create a healthy lifestyle.

Q: Who invented CrossFit / when did it start?

CrossFit began in 2000 by Greg Glassman.


Q: Do you promote a certain type of CrossFit in your gym?

There isn’t a “type”. We focus around a mix of cardio, weight training, and mobility.

Q: Would you say that CrossFit is “hard”?  Can you think of anyone who shouldn’t attempt CrossFit?

Everyone can do it. CF has made a huge impact in the adaptive athlete category which truly proves anyone can do it. The modifications are endless.

(Note to reader: If you have time, watch this video that shows some of the basic movements of CrossFit, as taught by Prevoxin)

(Back to the interview)

Q: Do you consider CrossFit a sport?

Its 100% a sport. We have the CrossFit Games which is televised each year on CBS Sports and a season that leads up to it. People work on different skills in order to improve themselves, which defines sport.

Q: Can CrossFit be bad for your joints?

CF can only help your joints. Use it or lose it wasn’t created out of thin air. The more muscle tone and less fat you are able to build the less pressure is on the joint.

We also teach safety, so you may see that when people go to pick something off the ground, and they use proper deadlift form, they are less likely to injure their back.

Check out the Golden Phoenix CrossFit Youtube channel

Q: Some say CrossFit is dangerous, or just plain “bad” for you.  Why would anyone say that?

Bad publicity is publicity, and we are always looking to write a bad review for anything before a good one. People also tend to fear what they don’t know and form opinions on things based on hearsay.

Marathoners actually suffer the most injuries in any sport due to the constant repetitive motion. Sitting on your couch eating chips and ice cream is dangerous, getting healthy is never dangerous.

Q: Is CrossFit a good training regime for beginners to start with?

Anyone can begin CF. Just like anything, you start slow and work your way up. No one made it to the Superbowl without playing and learning from someone first.

Q: What are some good shoes to wear while doing CrossFit?

If you walked into our facility you would see the members of the gym wearing Nike metcons, each new metcon has a number attached to it. So right now the metcons 5 and metcon free 2 are what you will see

Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit 2

The other shoe is the Reebok nano 9.
The purpose of these shoes is a to have a minimal toe drop, for jumping and agility. They also have a stable heel for lifting and kettle bell work. In the center of a CrossFit shoe is always a rubber part in the instep for rope climbs.
This is a key for our shoes so we don’t slip climbing up or down the rope. When a new member joins the gym you quickly see them grab themselves a CrossFit shoe and they always come in and say what a difference they feel in their workout.

Q: Can CrossFit make you bulk up?

In order to “bulk” you need the most precise nutrition and workout programming.

Q: Can you do CrossFit at home?

You can but the purpose is to be in class and pump and cheer each other on.

Q: Is CrossFit an all-ages type of training?

100%. Our youngest is 6 and our oldest is 64.

Thanks Jacqueline!

And thank you for reading this!  If you have any comments about CrossFit, please leave them in the comments section below.

I think the bottom line here is that if you are under the perception that CrossFit is bad for you in some way, or too intense, you’re just not approaching it properly.

CrossFit is a tool to better your health, like any serious fitness discipline, and, as such, can be modified to suit you.  So, next time you’re at the gym and you see a sign up for a beginner CrossFit class, perhaps give it a try, and let us know how it goes!

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