Are you interested in an intense workout but don't want to start CrossFit? Looking for a style of training that will help you to build strength, shed the pounds and really challenge you?
Look no further! We've found the fitness classes that are a perfect alternative to CrossFit and that will still give you the gains you're looking for.
What is Crossfit?
For those of you that may not be familiar, let's do a quick recap of CrossFit. According to the official website, CrossFit is "constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains." Clear as mud, right? CrossFit is designed to make you better at functional activities - things you may or may not encounter on a daily basis. CrossFit strives to make you bigger and better in ten specific fitness domains including: power, strength, flexibility, stamina, speed, coordination, balance, and accuracy. CrossFit classes will also often include pieces of gym equipment such as kettlebells, barbells, battle ropes and a fair amount of Olympic lifting, and weightlifting.
What are the risks?
With CrossFit, you’re encouraged to complete rounds of exercises in the shortest time or to accumulate the biggest amount of reps possible in a given period of time. Because of this, sometimes less attention is paid to actual body form or positioning, leading to a greater potential for injury.
According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, nearly 75% of CrossFit participants reported an injury during their training. Of these 168 reported injuries, nine led to surgery.
CrossFit, even for the amateur, can be competitive. Most "boxes" or gyms have whiteboards to track each individuals' performance in the work out that day. For those not driven by competition and focusing more on their goals in health and fitness, CrossFit may not be the best choice.
CrossFit Alternative with Similar Results - HIIT
A great, very popular alternative to CrossFit is HIIT - High-intensity Interval Training. In fact, HIIT training is the most popular fitness trend for 2018.
A little more about HIIT - it involves a short burst of very high-intensity activity, followed by a short period of rest or recovery. HIIT primarily uses exercises with just your body weight such as things like air squats, push-ups, burpees, jumps etc. This type of training is great for increasing your heart rate and boosting your metabolism so that you burn fat and build muscle in a much shorter period of time.
How HIIT and CrossFit are similar
They both offer cycles of exercises. No one will get bored in a class, both of these exercise styles keep it fresh and exciting by moving quickly between activities.They pack a LOT in to an exercise session. Lots of muscle groups, a tonne of cardio, equalling great results.They’re not for wimps. While both CrossFit and HIIT can be scaled to benefit anyone at any fitness level, they both provide a really great overall workout. If you want a lot of bang for your buck, these classes are the way to go. Of course, both types of exercise are best done under the instruction and supervision of a trained coach.
Benefits of HIIT
HIIT is a great CrossFit alternative with loads of benefits.
HIIT workouts are perfect for people that don't want or have a lot of time to spend at the gym. You can get an intense full-body workout in just 15-20 minutes of interval training.
A 2011 study from the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting claimed that two weeks of interval training improves your aerobic capacity the same amount as what can be achieved in 4-6 weeks of endurance training.
Burn More Fat
A HIIT style workout increases your body's need for oxygen. As a result, your body continues to crave oxygen post-workout, creating a type of afterburn effect known as EPOC - Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This state causes you to continue to burn fat up to 24 hours after you've completed your workout.
Lose Weight, Not Muscle
For those that diet, they know it's difficult not to lose muscle along with fat. But the correct mix of both HIIT and strength training will allow dieters to lose the weight while better maintaining their hard earned muscle.
Weight loss with these programs comes from burning mostly fat stores instead of muscle.
HIIT pushes your body into its anaerobic zone - a place at about 80-90% of your maximum heart rate. You'll know you've hit it when you're breathing hard and have difficulty speaking in full sentences. Pushing your heart muscle, and giving it breaks in between, helps to develop your cardiovascular endurance and strength.
EPOC is also what drives a boost in metabolism post-HIIT. There's also a spike in your Human Growth Hormone (HGH) - up to 450% post-workout. The increase in HGH helps your body to burn calories, but also, slows the aging process.
Who doesn't want to burn more calories for longer and look younger too?
Quick and Convenient
We mentioned that a HIIT workout can be completed in 15-20 minutes. But it's also can be done anywhere. If you travel a lot for work and can't get to a gym, HIIT workouts can be done in the privacy of your hotel room.
Most workouts use body weight alone, so even if you do have access to a gym, you can claim a small corner of it, and get your workout done in half the time as everyone else.
HIIT workouts are very challenging. You'll never finish one and wonder if you got a good workout in. The other benefit is that they're completely scalable. Your goal is to push your heart rate into the anaerobic zone and then rest over short periods of time. If you're just getting back to the gym, and a jog pushes you into that zone instead of a sprint, great. You're exactly where you need to be. You can work up as your body progresses.
Where To Start with HIIT
So if you've decided that HIIT training is the perfect CrossFit alternative for you, where do you start?
While there are certainly workouts that you can do on your own, the best place to start if you're new to this level of workout is at a HIIT training class. Here's what to expect if you head to a class:
What to Bring
There's no doubt that you're going to be sweating, so bringing a towel and a large bottle of water is important.
If you normally use a heart rate monitor, bring it along so you can see the differences between your normal workout and a HIIT workout.
What to Wear
Aside from the obvious workout wear, try to wear a flatter shoe or structured sneaker. You will be moving quickly and your knees will be taking some impact, so keep that in mind.
What to Expect
HIIT classes range from 45 to 60 minutes. Class sizes can be varied from just a handful of people, up to 20.
The warm-up will feel more like a workout, and you will likely get into the high-intensity workout quickly. Classes will have a wide array of exercises and each class will be different.
Good instructors will provide suggestions to modify exercise that may be more challenging. Listen to your body. Leave your ego at the door. You want to get a great workout based on your body and what works for you, not what the person next to you may be doing.
Join a HIIT Class Today
If you're ready to start a CrossFit alternative workout that will give you great results, try a HIIT class today.
Our gym offers several different variations of HIIT style classes, so contact us today and we'll help find the right one for you!