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CrossFit: a newwies guide

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Is there anything more misunderstood than CrossFit (emo kids maybe)? At Project UNITED, we don’t care what you do for fitness, just so long as you do something. But for the newwies who don’t know much about CrossFit besides YouTube fails, here are our top five moments of clarity:

1. “WoD”

“WoD” simply stands for “Workout of the Day”. Yes, it absolutely should be “WotD”, but it isn’t. Most CrossFit affiliates will assign set workouts each day depending on their programming schedule. Some days will feature more than one “WoD”, which further reinforces the inaccuracy of the acronym. We prefer the acronym “SHS” which stands for “Some Hard Shit” – it’s accurate, versatile, and applies to all.

2. Why a lot of “WoD’s” have ladies names

CrossFit founder Greg Glassman said that he named these workouts after girls names based on the USA’s National Weather Service naming convention. He felt that given these workouts are so physically demanding, they leave you feeling as though a storm hit you. He was quoted as saying, “I think anything that leaves you laying on your back gasping for air wondering what just happened to you should be named after a girl”.

That is all true FYI.

3. Why venues are called “Boxes” and not “gyms”

I couldn’t find a legitimate reason for this but I suspect it is marketing related. Most early CrossFit establishments were warehouses and sheds – rustic, beaten down venues without aircon or sexy mirrors. Referring to them as “rustic, beaten down venues” wasn’t palatable so I suspect they took the lead from Le Vian (a jeweller who coined the term “chocolate diamonds” in order to make shitty brown diamonds more profitable) and decided on “box”.

4. “Rx’ing” a WoD

The symbol “Rx” is said to stand for the Latin equivalent of “recipe”, meaning “to take”, and was adopted by the medical industry to use in reference to “prescribe” or “prescription”. If one is to “Rx” a WoD, they are said to have done it “as prescribed”, or exactly as it is programmed.

“Sx” on the other hand is used when one chooses to “scale” a WoD (doing the allocated workout but changing the weight, the movements, or the repetition scheme). “Sx” has no origin anywhere else apart from CrossFit – another marketing asset if I were to hazard a guess.

5. There are 86 million varieties of pull-ups

There are actually 86 million varieties of every movement, but the reason I single out pull-ups is because the internet has a tendency of losing its shit when someone does any pull-up that isn’t like how they would do a pull-up. We call that “calm down and don’t be an asshole” syndrome, or CDA syndrome based on the “WoD” rationale.

But each variation does have a purpose of its own – a long run, or sprint session for example both have value, but the value depends on the objective. Pull-up variations (and other movement variations) have differing objectives depending on the variation.

At the end of the day…

CrossFit is just a name for an exercise methodology. Like anything, if you want to kill yourself during a workout, or just get a light glaze, you can. It’s your workout. Unfortunately, the methodology is a victim of its own brand which kinda sucks, but at its core, it’s just a bunch of different exercises performed in a set time period that is intended to help us improve our own level of fitness.

UNITEDCrossFit: a newwies guide

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