Few in the world of fitness can boast about a resume like Matt Chan can. A four-time top 10 finisher at the CrossFit games, he has been one of the event’s most consistently successful participants since it was first held in 2007, including placing second in 2012. Matt is a co-owner of Denver’s CrossFit Verve, voted one of the best CrossFit boxes in Denver in 2013. Here, Matt shares his top ten reasons why you should try CrossFit.
- Results – That’s what we’re all after right? Whether you’re after decreased body fat, increased muscle mass, improved triglycerides, or stronger bones, CrossFit produces measurable results that are visible in blood tests and in the mirror. Who doesn’t want to look good naked?!?
- GPP – CrossFit is a General Physical Preparedness program that prepares you well for life’s demands. No matter how simple the task, by practicing a wide array of functional movements, you’ll be increasing your longevity and independence. Gone are the days of “back and bi’s, chest and tri’s.” Welcome to a world where routine is the enemy and the certainty is change.
- Universal scalability – Whether you’re a professional athlete, out of shape, or a retiree, the CrossFit program is adapted to suit the needs of any individual. We scale the loads, repetitions, or even the exercises and produce the same fitness. Should Grandma do CrossFit? Absolutely! Will it look very different from a CrossFit Games-level athlete? Without a doubt.
- Neurological sufficiency – By practicing functional movements that are inescapable in daily life, you’re learning to move safely and efficiently. For example, though the deadlift might sound dangerous, any time you pick an object off the ground, you’re completing a deadlift. By practicing the movement, you’re wiring your body to perform the movement well.
- Mindset – CrossFitters experience many adaptations to the program, but one of the biggest is the adaptation that occurs between the ears. CrossFit requires hard work and hard work is uncomfortable. One of the greatest elements of CrossFit is the mental toughness that it creates and carries into all aspects of life.
- Off-season training – There are a lot of sports that people participate in that are seasonal (triathlon, skiing, climbing, football…) and require a sport-specific skillset. CrossFit is an amazing program for off-season training to improve fitness as a whole by developing cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. By bringing each of these specific capacities up, athletes perform better in-season.
- Community – Experience a community unlike any other. CrossFit at an affiliate, such as CrossFit Verve, is more than just exercise. You’ll celebrate personal records alongside other athletes (all participants are considered athletes no matter what level). You’ll have the opportunity to experience community events, such as Paleo potlucks, competitions (as a spectator or as an athlete), team events, learning workshops, and subject matter expert lectures. Or, you can just come in on an active rest day, and mobilize your tired muscles and chat with friends.
- Affordability – A point of contention for many people. There are several options for getting involved with CrossFit, from personal training ($$$), to small group training at an affiliate ($$), to working out on your own utilizing CrossFit.com (free!). The most common route is starting at an affiliate, where you’ll be taught the skills necessary to complete a WOD (workout of the day), be coached through a WOD, and then be cooled down. Try getting that for $150/month at a “Globo-gym.”
- A change of pace – Losing the excitement you used to have for exercise? Well, keep it going! Because the workout changes everyday, you’ll find yourself clicking refresh on your affiliate’s WOD blog (a guilty pleasure of all CrossFitters) each night until the new workout is released. You’ll find yourself getting butterflies in your stomach on the way to the gym and you’ll be rushing with endorphins as you leave.
- Fun – CrossFit is making working out fun again. This is the biggest point for most people. By combining elements from the list above, CrossFit will leave you sweating, smiling, and wanting more. Don’t believe me? Call a buddy and attend a free “intro class” at your local affiliate. Most allow one or two free drop-ins to get a feel for the culture at the gym. If you don’t like one, try another!
Matt Chan is Co-Owner and Head Trainer of CrossFit Verve in Denver, Colorado, Seminar Staff Head Trainer for CrossFit Inc., and a firefighter and EMT. Matt began CrossFitting in May 2007 and opened CrossFit Verve in 2008 (voted one of the best CrossFit boxes in Denver in 2013) as a means of creating an outlet for people in the Denver area to explore their fitness potential and improve their longevity through general physical preparedness. Matt seeks an elite level of fitness that has helped him become a four-time top 10 finisher at the CrossFit Games, including placing second in 2012. Matt loves to help others by sharing his passion for fitness and the experience he’s gathered in his own pursuit. Find him at CrossFit Verve or follow him at @Matt1Chan.