Many of us see CrossFit as a hard physical workout that gets us to get in shape and looking good, but what does CrossFit really do for our body? The answer is a lot more than you think.
This month’s monthly mindset comes from some inspiration I got from my father’s doctor’s appointment he had the other day, and how CrossFit being a part of his life set him up for success. First, a little background on the story.
My father, at 70 years old, started CrossFit on January 1st of 2021, never having exercised in his life, but felt his body breaking down and wanted to do everything he could to prevent that. He attends class religiously 3 days per week, works hard, doesn’t go above his means, and just try’s to be a little stronger and move a little better each day.
He recently found out he had an enlarged aortic aneurism, and was told to come in for a consultation regarding surgery to get it corrected. Now for those that do not know, this is basically an open-heart surgery in a sense, whether open or less invasive, you are working on the main artery that keeps us going. There is risk in that.
Upon meeting with the surgeon in Boston, he was told he was a perfect candidate for both versions of the surgery, whichever he chose, and at his age, being as physically fit and healthy as he was, the risk by nature of the surgery was much lower for him, than if he was not in that situation. His body in the state it is in, is better equipped to take on the procedure and recovery of the major surgery that came up out of nowhere really. Which was really good to hear!
So what does this all mean? Well, truthfully it means that CrossFit does more for our body than just what’s on the outside, so much so that I would be willing to say the outside matters very little compared to the benefits of your health within your body you gain by adding CrossFit to your routine!
Yes, everybody loves to look a little better. It is typically the main goal for everyone that enters the gym, but what if we changed our focus of health, and focused our efforts in the gym to be the best prepared for whatever life has to throw at us?
What CrossFit Does to Your Body?
If you are unfamiliar with CrossFit methodology, we have a basic concept in the foundation of our program called the sickness, wellness, fitness continuum. What this concept says is the fitter you get in the gym, you hedge yourself against sickness and most preventable chronic disease, and when you are “fit” you have to become “well” before you can become “sick.” It is a secondary line of defense.
But wait a minute. You mean CrossFit doesn’t just try to make me look jacked? There is actually some sort of health and science behind what we do? Ah yes, absolutely! The whole focus and birth of the CrossFit methodology was to inherently make people healthier, feel and move better for the rest of their lives. Its sole purpose was to put some truth to a lot of the lies that society had preached to us that were “healthy.” And it prepares us for whatever presents itself in life, putting us in the best position to succeed and conquer.
But what does CrossFit do to our body that makes us so much better?
Many times when we go to the doctors and get a blood test, they will give us a blood test and look at certain health indicators, and place them in a range of either good or bad. Some outside factors influence these factors, such as genetics, but for the most part you can improve or make worse depending on how you take care of yourself. CrossFit’s natures of high intensity training, gets our heart rate elevated quickly, puts the body under stress, and gets the internal functions of our body moving at high efficiency. Our metabolism starts to function at high efficiency, and allows us to process nutrients in our body at a very efficient level. We no longer would look at bio-markers as either good or bad, but good and optimal. Whether it be your blood glucose, and your body’s ability to process blood sugars, blood pressure, inflammation, or cholesterol, all of these bio-markers are improved through varied high intensity exercise. When these biomarkers are in bad shape, we start to see increases in chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer just to name a few, but for the most part we can be in control of improving these through exercise, specifically the high intensity work performed in your local CrossFit Gym.
Getting high intensity CrossFit training into your regular routine starts to adapt the body to stress in a controlled manner. It becomes more able to handle and withstand external stresses put on the body, not only physical but mental. In the case of the story above, when a curveball might be thrown our way in life and a major procedure is necessary to correct and continuing living a good healthy life, your body is better prepared to handle the stress induced on it to undergo a procedure of this nature. This also is considered in rehabilitation and recovery. Whether it be from an injury, a fall, sickness, or recovery from a major procedure or disease, training your body regularly to handle stress more efficiently only allows it to perform is the highest level when it needs too. It is always better to be prepared than to be in a situation where you wish you began working on your body earlier.
Finally, strength is essential to living a healthy and efficient life. The stronger you are the more active you will be, the less assistance you will need for functional tasks. We stay stronger and more efficient as we get older, and our body is able to handle many more tasks and movement without compensation or worry. CrossFit does just this to your body, make its more capable in all aspects of life. Your muscular structure in your body can handle more variables and be used to support other functions when you need it too. Cardio alone will not get you everything you need, even though the benefits are high. Strength throughout the body allows us to adapt more efficiently and naturally, and promote better recovery and functionality throughout the body.
All in all, what CrossFit does to your body goes beyond on the exterior physical nature. It makes our body function in its entirety, healthier and more efficient. I urge people to think about exercise and training as more of an internal health promotion, rather than just an exterior superficial change. Yes, we all love to look better. It makes us feel better, but what CrossFit does to our body, makes it healthier through all of its internal function, and when it comes down to it, that matters the most in the grand scheme of our health and wellness, and living a happy, healthy, long and fulfilling life! Take this mindset into your training and give yourself purpose to every single day, and bless yourself with the opportunity to give yourself the greatest advantage to making the most of this one life we get!