What the Heck is CrossFit?

A primal form of fitness.

That’s how Dhani Oks, founder of Toronto’s Academy of Lions describes CrossFit, arguably one of the toughest workouts around.

For the uninitiated, CrossFit is a super intense, constantly varied strength and conditioning program. The goal is simple: improve all around fitness.

Workouts are short but demand total exertion. A typical session includes a structured warm-up, skill development (say, kettle bell swings, Olympic weightlifting or ring dips) all building to the Workout of the Day (or WOD as it’s known in CrossFit circles). Newcomers will quickly become familiar with WODs with names like “Helen,” “Fran” and “Cindy” (a.k.a. “Hell,” “Agony and “Kill Me Now”).

Critics argue that being a jack of all trades makes you a master at none, but that’s precisely the point. “CrossFit culture brings out people’s motivation,” explains Oaks. “People want to work hard and do well. It keeps you going.”

CrossFit differs from metric-obsessed fitness. How many sets? How many pounds? “This is about performance,” says Oaks. “Do things better, lift more and run faster: that’s more exciting for people.”

“You’re chasing performance. If you move better and work harder, you’ll feel great and look sexier.”

After several months of regular workouts at The Academy, I can report that, while it hasn’t gotten any easier, my strength and cardio capabilities are vastly increased. The workout scalability and motivation from fellow fitness enthusiasts helps everyone regardless of age or ability reach their goals.

No gym? No problem. The internet is loaded with WODs – check out Academy of Lions for updated workouts daily. No access to equipment? Flip a tractor tire, bale hay, do some pull ups, move a pile of rocks 400 metres or visit a local playground. Just continually challenge your body to keep moving.

Image courtesy of Amber Karnes


1 thought on “What the Heck is CrossFit?”

  1. I’ve been going to Academy of Lions for over a year.  Dhani and his staff are tops.  Never a dull moment.

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