Friday the 13th. (Insert horror music here.) Of all days to choose for our trial session for CrossFit, who was the dumb fool who scheduled such a nerve-wracking, lung-busting, sweat-inducing workout on the most ominous day of the year?! Oh wait, that was me!
Good thing I dragged along 10 innocent TBR readers, plus a friend, Jun, to join me for what I expected to be 30 minutes of hellish pain.
Before I tell you what happened, allow me to share exactly what Crossfit is as explained by one of Crossfit MNL’s partners, Miggy Dy-Buncio:
TBR: What is CrossFit?
Miggy: CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.
CrossFit workouts are constantly varied movements executed at high intensity, thus every workout is different and you will rarely do the same thing twice. The workouts themselves are completely scalable, which means that a new participant and an elite athlete can complete the same workout with changes in load and intensity. CrossFit workouts will deliver phenomenal fitness in and of themselves or as a compliment to your sport-specific training regime.
CrossFit workouts are a combination of Running, Kettlebell Training, Gymnastics, Track and Field, Plyometrics and Weightlifting. You will be doing the workout together with other Crossfitters of all ages and all fitness levels. The workouts are rarely more than 45 minutes long and so they can fit into even the busiest schedules.
Finally, CrossFit is FUN! Our coaches and participants are welcoming, supportive, and committed to creating an environment where everyone can succeed.
TBR: How can Crossfit benefit runners?
Miggy: Crossfit will help runners develop speed, strength and endurance. It will also reduce injuries.
Taken from www.catalystgymn.com, they best summarize the benefits of Crossfit for runners. Some things Crossfit emphasizes that will REALLY benefit runners:
1) HIPS, NOT KNEES. You run with your hips. You climb with your hips. Your hips control your speed. But runners, in the gym, squat with their quads, and do quad extensions on the machine. While running, your quads act as shock absorbers; they don’t actively move you. True, rectus femoris is largely responsible for the swing phase of your stride, but most runners don’t train hip flexors either! Crossfit trains hip flexors with explosive stretch/contractile velocity – perfect for running.
2) SHORT, INTENSE WORKOUTS THAT EMPHASIZE RECRUITING MUSCLES TOGETHER. To get faster, you need to get your hamstrings, gluteus, and gastrocs/soleus operating smoothly together, as an efficient unit. Isolating them with leg curls, calf raises, and glute machines won’t do that. Kettlebell swings and deadlifts with the correct form will.
3) TRUNK STABILIZATION. Situps aren’t effective ‘core work’ for runners. Runners need stabilization around the trunk, with some small degree of rotation at the same time. In fact, in our culture, so rich with ‘seated’ jobs, tight hip flexors is a major problem contributing to low back pain. Starting a run with tight ‘six-pack’ muscles (rectus abdominis) will lead to a shortened stride, as hip flexors are stretched to make up the difference.
4) BALANCE. As a runner, you’re teetering on the verge of overuse injuries all the time. You’ve got to find balance: pulling as often as you push, sprinting as often as you jog, etc.
5) NEUROMUSCULAR EFFICIENCY. Frankly, your movements can become smoother and more powerful only by lifting faster or with more force. Crossfit is great for increasing force.
6) INCREASED ANAEROBIC AND AEROBIC CAPACITY – research on the Canadian Armed Forcesshowed a great improvement on military personnel. These were NOT marathoners, though.
Miggy briefly introduced us to CrossFit as well before we officially began our first trial session. Then, we started with some warm ups and stretches. I bet this was also a confidence-building period to prepare us for the humbling experience that was waiting for us…
Then, Miggy went off to teach us the 4 basic exercises we would do to complete 1 set. These were: 7 wall balls (using 10lbs balls for women and 14lbs for men), 7 push ups, 7 box jumps, and lastly 7 burpees. GULP! We were to complete as many sets as we could in 15 minutes. DOUBLE GULP!
Before we could complain or exit the fire escape, it was a go. And, as I threw that 10lb medicine ball up in the air (even hitting my face once), pushed my body off the floor barely feeling my arms, hopped up and down that box while seeing my sweat drop down onto my shoes, and cursed in my mind as I performed those awful burpees while dreaming of slurpees instead, I realized that, whoa boy, I actually enjoyed it!
I loved being yelled at and being pushed further when I was completely exhausted. Loved trying to compete with the others in the room for the most sets. Loved the sweat dripping from my face and hair as if I had just run 10k. It was thrilling and, ironically, completely energizing! Now this was a fun workout, I thought!
Before we knew it, the 30 minute session was over. It was a quick yet challenging and strenuous workout. Just the kind of workout for hectic days that leave me with little time for long gym workouts or long slow runs. A CrossFit session burns those calories, builds your strength, and does it all in 30 minutes.
Perhaps the only downside I see with CrossFit for us runners is that it’s a risky activity for those prone to injury or those who are currently managing an injury. There are explosive moves and jumping and one wrong move could hurt your running. If you really want to try it, then I would suggest you inform Miggy or the staff at CrossFit that you are a runner or that you’re training for a particular race (especially if it’s a marathon or ultra!), so that they can recommend what precautions to take or what sessions will best suit you.
As for me, I would love to do this every so often. I don’t think I can fit it into my crazy life and hectic training sched (swim, bike, run, and weights), but I’ll surely try to drop by once or twice a month to jolt my body out of its usual routine and have me some fun!
Here’s what our TBR readers said after the workout:
The techniques employed combined with hands on coaches on the actual 30 min. routine was just so superb. Cross Fit Manila sealed my apprehension with their approach indeed. They had me on an intense combination of exercises that’s a sure fire complement to a training regimen in preparation for an upcoming long distance run. Overall it was a rewarding experience. TBR and Crossfit Manila you rock!
It was the most intensed & challenging 15 min workout of my life! What’s so good about it is that it kept me going, even though i wanted to rest already. The high energy coaches, & music gave me all the boost that i need. Will definitely comeback one of these days. Crossfit rocks!
A whole body training every runner should try. After the trial, I know where I am weak at and for my F12 fitness plans, I will consider CrossFit given that it is near the Fort, so after the circuit, a nice 10k jog will do.
For inquiries, contact:
Facebook: Crossfit MNL
186 Magnitude Bldg
E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave, Q.C. Phils
Contact number: +63917.569.2399; 02.964.7251
Philippine Army Gymnasium
Lawton Ave. cor Bayani Road, Taguig, Philippines
*** CROSSFIT MNL HAS AN ONGOING PROMO WITH DEAL GROCER: Php 3,650 instead of Php 5,000 for 1 month unlimited sessions. Click HERE.***