CrossFit has been the buzz of fitness training for the past 15 years, increasing its affiliates from 13 in 2005 to over 10,000 in 2015. It’s a dynamic fitness movement and a community that KU CrossFit trainer Moe Travis is proud to be a part of.
CrossFit: A Little History
Greg Glassman opened his first gym in Santa Cruz, CA in 1995. In 2000, CrossFit Inc. was founded by Glassman and Lauren Jenai. The first CrossFit affiliate gym or “box” as they are known, was in Seattle, with the company growing from 13 affiliates in 2005 to more than 10,000 worldwide today.
Prior to 2000, Glassman, a former gymnast, was looking for a workout that would give him the same euphoric, exhausted feeling he would achieve following a full-on gymnastics performance, where he would give everything to an event and come out the other side exhausted and ready to collapse, all the while still having to smile through the dismount.
After developing sets of high-intensity, repetitive exercise, Glassman was on his way to creating CrossFit. Working as a personal trainer for several gyms, Glassman opened his first gym in 1995. That year, he was tapped to provide training to the Santa Cruz Police Department, and in the decade that followed, CrossFit became a household name.
Today, CrossFit is practiced by thousands of private affiliated gyms, fire departments, law enforcement agencies, and military organizations around the world. It is also utilized by some high school physical education teachers in the United States and Canada, college sports teams and the Miami Marlins baseball team. Appealing to both men and women, statistically, CrossFit was shown to be practiced by men and women almost equally.
A Global Philosophy
CrossFit prides itself in not being a specialized fitness program, but rather a concerted effort to assist its members to optimize their own physical competences in ten recognized fitness domains, which include: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
Explaining further, KU Crossfit trainer, mom and world champion kickboxer Moe Travis states, “CrossFit is a strength, conditioning, and movement philosophy that takes functional movements and groups them in a mixed modal manner, does them at a relative high intensity, and injects variance into how they are delivered. The outcome is participants become well-rounded and improve in all areas of fitness.”
What to Expect From Your KU CrossFit Workout:
Expect to learn and know the term “WOD.” It stands for Workout of the Day—typically a one-hour class featuring a warm-up, a skill development segment and a high-intensity workout that is scored and measured to encourage competition and a way to track individual benchmarks and progress.
Moe Travis gives a closer glimpse into what participants can look forward to at KU CrossFit, stating,“CrossFit practices and trains major lifts such as the deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J (clean and jerk), and snatch. We also try to master the basics of gymnastics such as pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. We also bike, run, swim, and row—hard and fast!”
What’s in a Name? The CrossFit WOD:
It’s pronounced “wad,” and CrossFit’s Workout of the Day is posted daily on the CrossFit headquarters’s website for all affiliates to incorporate that day. With a goal of explaining a WOD once and then giving it a name to reference it in the future, Glassman has named well over 100 WODs after fallen servicemen and servicewomen, as well as the much-talked-about naming of workouts after women. Glassman once explained that, “I thought that anything that left you flat on your back, looking up at the sky asking, ‘what just happened to me,’ deserved a female’s name. Workouts are just like storms; they wreak havoc on towns.” Popular WODs named for women include: Fran, Amanda, Lynn, Mary and Nicole.
The “Fight Gone Bad” WOD:
The first Fight Gone Bad WOD appeared on the CrossFit headquarters website Dec. 1, 2004 and was created to simulate the timing of a mixed martial arts fight and therefore, can be done in three-minute or five-minute timed versions. The WOD sets rotate between five elements (20 lbs. Wallball shots, 75 lbs. Sumo Deadlift High-Pull, 20-inch box jumps, 75 lbs. Push-Press and rowing) switching each element after one minute with a one-minute rest between sets.
When asked how it compared to being in a fight, former UFC champion B.J. Penn remarked, it was “like a fight gone bad,” and the legendary WOD name was born.
How CrossFit Applies to MMA, Kickboxing and Other Disciplines:
As no two fights are alike, no two CrossFit training sessions are alike. It benefits the competitive athlete to improve his or her speed, accuracy, explosiveness, core strength and endurance for the multitude of situations that can occur during competition. In a sense, CrossFit mimics unpredictable competitions.
Is KU CrossFit for You? Can anyone do it?
“Absolutely!,” says Travis. “CrossFit is a program that is asking people to move using functional patterns, doing so with high relative intensity, and to vary the types of movements executed regularly. Movements are often scaled, substituted, and/or altered in some way in order to attain the prescribed dose response of whatever is being asked that day. [For example] That means a “heavy” back squat day is very relative to each member participating. Many members will lift what they perceive as heavy while some may just need help doing an air squat with no load other than their own body’s weight.”
The Added Bonus: The KU CrossFit Community
Some say that being part of the CrossFit community, both online as well as at your local CrossFit facility is the best part of CrossFit.
“This is the best part of KU CrossFit,” agrees Travis. “CrossFit community is like family. As a coach and owner, you see all these people’s lives changing. You see their body composition changing and they are becoming healthier able bodies. You see these people who were so timid at first become these confident people ready to tackle whatever obstacle or task you give them. You meet all walks of life in a CrossFit gym. Everyone has one task at hand and everyone works hard when they come in. Everyone waits for the last person to finish, cheering them on to complete their task. We encourage each other. We help each other. We go to each other’s birthday parties and celebrate promotions together. I have personally met very cool people and lifelong friends from my CrossFit gym and KnuckleUp!”
What KU CrossFit Can Do for Moe, it Can Do for You:
“Once I started doing CrossFit, I started working on my strength and conditioning by following programs, learning Olympic lifts, and playing around with gymnastic stuff,” explains Travis. “Today, I feel stronger mentally and physically and it is fun. The workouts are always different and challenging. I feel like I’m in better shape now then when I was in my 20’s.”