The definition of CrossFit is: constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity.
If someone was to ask you at Target or the Astros game what CrossFit is and you respond with the CrossFit definition, more than likely they will look at you even more confused and just walk away.
Let's first breakdown the definition of CrossFit and then how should you respond to someone who ask what CrossFit is.
Constantly varied means our program is broad, general and inclusive. Our program is referred to as general physical preparedness (GPP) which means we don't specialize in a specific component of fitness instead we do everything. Our program leads to you expanding your margins of experience which helps you develop by exposing you to your weaknesses (we all have them). What we vary in our workouts are load (weight), reps, distance, movements and time domains. One of the biggest things to remember about constantly varied is this, true fitness is a compromise. This means we want to be good at conditioning, weightlifting and gymnastic skills. If we are WAY too good in one of those specifically, there is a high chance one of the others has been sacrificed.
Functional movements has the following characteristics: natural, safe, essential, universal motor recruitment patters, compound yet irreducible, core to extremity. Functional movements are natural so this means that us squatting is as natural as a dog wagging it's tail or a bird flapping it's wing. It is built into our DNA. Functional movements are essential in life and they are also safe. Functional movements are a universal motor recruitment pattern which means we are using multiple joints that work together. Functional movements are compound yet irreducible. This means I can have someone do back squats and they will be strong at any machine at a traditional gym setting. But if someone only does leg extensions, leg curls, calf raises, abductor slides and they do these movements on a machine, their back squat may still be weak. Functional movements teach us about core to extremity and how our true power starts in our core and travels to our extremities. These are characteristics of functional movements but what defines functional movements is this, it allows us to move large loads, long distance in a quick time. That is the power of functional movements.
High intensity is another way to say power. Intensity is the one variable that leads to favorable adaptation. This is why focusing on stimulus of workouts is crucial. When it comes to intensity we must all remember that it is relative. This means we all have different levels of intensity based on our physical and psychological abilities. This is very important to consider when it comes to intensity. The only way to see if we are moving at higher relative intensity is to measure our results. We can't confuse correlates with intensity such as a higher heart rate, sweat, screams or fatigue.
Now that we have broken down what the definition of CrossFit means, what should we tell that person at Target or the Astros games?
You tell them what CrossFit means to you personally. You tell them what CrossFit has done for you in your life. You tell them why you continue to show up. We all have different reasons and they can vary from confidence to having fun to the community to feeling happier to feeling unstoppable and so much more.
You tell them how CrossFit has changed your life for the better.