The CrossFit Craze

A primer to Westchester’s new high-intensity fitness fad

CrossFit: Everyone seems to be talking about it these days, but what, exactly, is it? In short, CrossFit is a set of functional movements performed at high intensity—and, true to the hype, it happens to be a really exciting fitness program. While the workouts are undoubtedly tough, community spirit coupled with varied, ever-changing exercises means boredom is virtually nonexistent.

CrossFit blends elements of powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, and other disciplines into an exhausting set of exercises called a WOD, or Workout of the Day. This broad range of physical challenges pushes attendees to their limits, all while concentrating on safety, proper form, and togetherness. WODs take place in a CrossFit gym or “box,” where attendees can expect to see equipment like pull-up bars, barbells, kettle bells, and rowing machines.

This equipment is used in extremely varied workouts that often include some form of high-intensity cardio, heavy lifting (such as deadlifts or squats), and conditioning exercises such as pull-ups and dips.  All of these workouts are conducted in a group session, during which participants are often supported and cheered on rather than admonished for mistakes.

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CrossFitters also tend to adopt a diet high in protein and lower in fats and carbohydrates. While CrossFit has been traditionally tied to the so-called Paleo Diet—in which meat and vegetables are prioritized over grains, sugars, and fruit—this association has recently lessened. Today, most CrossFit boxes recommend “eating clean,” which is shorthand for the consumption of whole foods rather than processed items.

However, it is important to note that CrossFit does have a few negatives. Risk of injury is perhaps the most notable detractor, as doing several sets of numerous workouts in a short period of time can cause bad form and, consequesntly, injuries. Also, due to the number of individuals in an average CrossFit class, students may not receive the one-on-one support expected in an average personal training session. Finally, CrossFit’s cost can be prohibitive, with a fee of about $20 for a one-time class and roughly $100 to $400 for an average monthly membership.

These negatives aside, there is a reason why CrossFit is on everyone’s lips these days, and that is due to the fact that it is a truly excellent workout program that often provides real results. While prospective CrossFitters may want to first discuss the possibility of beginning such a regimen with a doctor, those who do join up will find a fitness program that offers equal parts intensity and community.  

Four of Westchester’s best CrossFit boxes:

1. CrossFit Mount Kisco

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2. CrossFit Port Chester

3. CrossFit Westchester

4. North East CrossFit

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