Understanding Crossfit From The Experts

Written by

Puneet Gupta

As a form of training. CrossFit picks all those aspects of sports and fitness that are the most relevant and applicable to our daily lives and routines and combines them together.

Over the past year or so, you may have found yourself hearing more about a new form of exercise – CrossFit. And, chances are you would’ve looked it up to find a very generic yet succinct definition that says ‘CrossFit consists of constantly varied, functional movements which are executed at high intensity.

But what does that mean? As a form of training. CrossFit picks all those aspects of sports and fitness that are the most relevant and applicable to our daily lives and routines and combines them together. More simply, functional movements are those that mimic our lives outside of the gym – climbing stairs, carrying groceries, picking up a chair from the ground.

So basically, cardio? Check. Weights? Check. Mobility training? Check. Flexibility training? Check and check.

CrossFit in India is still in its initial developmental phase but with this newfound spirit and sense that has gripped the Indian lifestyle, people are opening up to explore a regime that fits their routine led by passionate fitness trainers who are on a mission to put CrossFit on the Indian fitness map.

Before we break down this sport, let’s learn a little bit about the experts and their journey to CrossFit.

Paridhi Doshi, Fittest Woman In India, 2021 / CF-OL1 Coach

Paridhi Doshi, claimed the title of the fittest woman in India in the year 2021 at the young age of 21. As a state level professional track and field athlete for over 10 years, her lifestyle has always been centred around health and fitness. Her introduction to CrossFit led her to immediately fall in love with the sport and transition her workout approach and routine altogether. The adrenaline that this workout brought to her made her feel alive and she has never looked back.

Nakul Goel, Co-Founder & Coach, Crossfit Create Gym, New Delhi

Nakul describes himself as the chubby kid who always had a keen interest in sports growing up. It was in his first year of college, when he did not qualify for a football team due to his weight that he decided to hit the gym regularly. Nakul’s introduction to CrossFit was in his 3rd year of college and he instantly fell in love with the variation, intensity, the fun and the community which he felt was lacking in a regular gym. After training for the next three years and sensing the gap in the Indian market, he decided to open his own CrossFit gym as the existing ones were run by people with an older school of thought and CrossFit is ever evolving.

Aditi Kakkar, 3rd Fittest Woman In India 2020;

Co-Founder, Ochre

Aditi has been into sports since the age of 4. She has competed in national and international events in athletics, karate, swimming, water polo, and weightlifting CrossFit. CrossFit caught her eye in Sydney where she took her first trial class and knew immediately that this was the workout routine she wanted to continue forever. Having a knack for sport and competition, Aditi quickly got accustomed to the sport and is still continuing and educating the same in India.

Malika Budhiraj, 15th Fittest Woman In India 2020; Co-Founder, Baarique

According to Malika, every fitness journey is a constant battle for women to remind the world that they do not need to look a certain way to be happy. CrossFit changed her perspective about beauty where mirrors have been replaced by scoreboards, crash diets by a balanced lifestyle and looking skinny by becoming strong. She ranked 15th in the CrossFit Open India in her first attempt in 2019 and 2 years henceforth. She is also a powerlifting gold medalist.

What Is Crossfit?

In layman’s terms, CrossFit allows you to develop a fitness capacity that enables you to perform all basic functional movements to the best of your abilities and in technical terms, it’s about increasing your strength and conditioning which is the core of all sports” says Paridhi. “There is no specific routine attached to this training. The idea of CrossFit is specific to the coach coaching it and the owners running the gym. You can incorporate anything and everything in CrossFit – gymnastics, powerlifting, olympic lifting, callisthenics, endurance training, bodybuilding, HIIT etc. That’s the beauty of it. It’s all encompassing and ideal for everyone.” according to Nakul. Aditi says it is a way of movement. Although widely considered a sport, many practice CrossFit recreationally for the thrill. It is a sport to test your truest fitness. As a training methodology, this sport is designed for everyone to get better at movements that make up people’s daily routines. It is a fitness regimen that involves constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity, says Malika.

Who Is CrossFit Ideal For?

All the four experts agree that the beauty of CrossFit is that it is designed for everyone. The movements involved in this sport are utilized in our daily lives. There is something for everyone of every age.

How Can One Get Started With CrossFit In India?

The official website of CrossFit has a lot of content where one can learn a lot and get started with the sport. Malika suggests picking out simple exercises, making a circuit and playing around with intensity to begin with and once you get accustomed, you can move towards more complex movements and push for higher intensity. According to Aditi, joining a Crossfit gym and the growing community is a different feeling than what one can experience alone at home, as one can never experience the same thrill and fun of sharing a workout with a group who love the sport so much. Paridhi recommends starting CrossFit with an affiliated box (a place that has been approved by CrossFit itself) under a certified coach which Nakul agrees with. According to him, coaches play a huge role in selecting a CrossFit gym – looking for positive reviews, testimonials and going for a trial class before finalising.

What’s The Difference Between CrossFit And Other Workouts?

Crossfit training methodology is more about movement and 360 degree physical development rather than hitting a certain muscle group or a body part each day at the gym. As you go deeper into the world of CrossFit, the skills required to compete get harder and more complex – says Malika. Nakul points out that at a deeper level, this training helps you unlock a lot of strength potential as it incorporates mostly functional movements i.e movement patterns that are applicable in real life. The major difference according to Paridhi is that CrossFit promotes ‘General Physical Preparedness’ i.e. the atheletes keep varying the distances they run, the time intervals in which they train, the loads they lift and they mix them up as much as possible to have a very broad range of training.

 

Where Do You See CrossFit Making Its Place In The Indian Fitness Landscape?

With fitness having gained an upward momentum, especially after Covid-19, people find CrossFit more suitable for their daily lifestyles as its aim is to improve the quality of life, says Paridhi. Malika has huge hopes for the growth of the sport in India as the training philosophy has started penetrating the Indian fitness landscape since its the need of the hour for the general public’s well being and people are responding to it positively. Nakul agrees with the positive impact it has made over the years as a discipline and fitness ideology. He has concerns about it as a business model in India as there are currently very few official CrossFit gyms (one has to pay a yearly royalty to be affiliated with CrossFit HQ). As a market, the fitness industry in India is almost a decade behind the west which Aditi has also experienced personally; she believes CrossFit in India has a long way to go when it comes to quality and the incorrect assumption that the sport is for bodybuilding or just a fad. However, she believes in the consistent growth of the fitness culture in India and is confident that CrossFit will find its place in the market soon.

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