How Quick Does CrossFit Get You in Shape?

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program used by military, police officers, athletes and recreational exercisers. The design of the workout program attracts a wide variety of followers, along with the performance, health and wellness benefits that occur as a result. CrossFit yields some benefits quickly, but aims to keep you fit and healthy over your lifetime.

CrossFit rowing workouts build strength and stamina. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Physical Skills

The CrossFit workout program and individual exercises are chosen and designed for a specific purpose -- to maximize your fitness by building the 10 general physical skills. These skills include cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, speed, agility, power, flexibility, balance, accuracy and coordination. For example, CrossFit uses running and rowing to build cardiorespiratory endurance and stamina along with weightlifting exercises such as squats and deadlifts to build strength. It's possible for a beginner who follows the program to see benefits and more muscle definition in as little as two to three weeks.

Long-Term Benefits

While some individuals may experience significant changes to their fitness level in a few weeks after starting CrossFit, the CrossFit program is designed to build a lifetime of health and wellness. Improving all 10 physical skills to their maximum capability can't realistically be completed in a period of several weeks or even several months. Instead, it takes commitment and dedication over the long term that spans a lifetime. This lifetime approach to getting in shape revolves around the continuum of sickness and wellness. The CrossFit program blends various elements such as diet and exercise to optimize wellness while avoiding sickness.

Scalability

No matter what your fitness or ability level is, you can complete the CrossFit workouts. This is achieved by designing the individual workouts for universal scalability. To scale the workouts, the load and intensity are adjusted, not the overall program. For example, an elite athlete will use heavier loads at a higher intensity than someone looking to lose weight. As a result, your fitness level constantly improves as your body adapts to the workouts.

Progression

Every workout within the CrossFit program is measurable and repeatable. Common techniques for measuring your workout performance include time, weight, rounds, distance or repetitions. CrossFit uses a series of named workouts called "girls" and "heroes" as the benchmark workouts to track and monitor your success and performance. You may perform a specific workout or exercise at the beginning of the month to obtain baseline information and then perform it again in six weeks to see your progress. For example, the "Angie" workout is performed as fast as possible with 100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 situps and 100 squats.

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