What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a workout program, a culture, and a community. The mission of CrossFit is to “build a program that will best prepare trainees for any physical contingency—not only for the unknown, but for the unknowable.”
CrossFit participants complete a workout of the day (WOD) either solo or with a trainer and a group of fellow exercisers at a designated Crossfit gym, also called a “box.” The workouts tend to be short, extremely intense, and engage full body, military-style exercises.
For participants who are interested, nutrition advice is offered on the Cross Fit website where the suggestion is to follow either a 40-30-30 nutrition plan (40 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent protein, 30 percent fat) or to use the Paleo Diet to reach their performance and body fat goals.
CrossFit Weight Loss Benefits
So should you use CrossFit to lose weight? “For weight loss,” says Zuffelato, “CrossFit can be an excellent program with some modifications.” Benefits of the program include:
- CrossFit burns calories: When performed properly, high-intensity workouts like CrossFit are extremely difficult. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) reports that men can burn 15-18 calories per minute and women can burn 13-15 calories per minute while doing the workouts. In addition, participants who work at a high intensity burn more calories all day with EPOC.
- CrossFit builds muscle to boost metabolism. CrossFit participants can expect to build strength and increase muscle mass. Greg says that the biggest change he saw when he started with CrossFit was a change in his body fat and muscle mass. An improved body composition not only helps your body to look leaner and tighter but also helps you to maintain a healthy metabolism.
- CrossFit community provides social support. A key element of the CrossFit program is sharing your WOD results online or with others in your community. For many people who are trying to lose weight, this element of sharing may help improve accountability and consistency.
- Workouts are accessible to anyone. According to their website, CrossFit is available to “anyone with an internet connection and the willingness, curiosity, and bravery to try it.” Participants can work out on their own using the WOD posted on the website or they can go to a local CrossFit box. In many cities, the cost of going to a box is less than the cost of joining a full-service health club.
- Workouts are quick and efficient. For healthy people who already know how to perform typical CrossFit exercises, the workouts provided are both quick and effective. If you are a busy person who is trying to lose weight with exercise, short workouts may help you keep your exercise program on track.
Is CrossFit Good for Weight Loss?
If you do CrossFit consistently and with proper modifications, you are likely to see positive changes to your body. But if you want to lose weight, you need to combine your exercise program—no matter what it is—with a good nutritional foundation.
“The people that just do CrossFit and don’t have a nutrition plan do not lose weight,” says Zuffelato . “When they get serious with the CrossFit program their appetite goes into overdrive and without a proper plan they don’t see any sustained weight loss. They will see a small change in their body fat, but like any other exercise program, if proper nutrition is not part of the plan the results will be disappointing.”