One often surprising thing about CrossFit is that people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities can and do follow the same programme, working out together in the same class and all getting great results, something that is achieved by tailoring the day’s workout to meet the individual through varying the load, range of motion, and intensity of the exercises being performed – we call this scaling. 

We have mixed ability classes because as CrossFit founder Gregg Glassman put it “the needs of our athletes differ by degree, not by kind”, meaning the physiological attributes required by both elite athletes and the elderly are in fact the same, with the only difference being the degree to which those attributes need be developed. 

A semi professional football player needs to squat to develop explosive power in the legs and hips that will contribute to their performance on the field, and our elderly athletes (yes, we call everyone athletes) need to squat to develop the flexibility and strength in the hips to be able to walk, sit and stand unaided and experience better quality of life. In this instance both needs are met by improving the athlete’s squat, just at different intensities.

As well as being a fitness programme that centres around improving health and functionality across a lifetime, CrossFit is also a competitive sport. The CrossFit Games is the sports largest competition that each year seeks to find the fittest man, woman and team on earth, and across the world there are hundreds of smaller competitions catering for everyone from the sport’s elite athletes right through to complete beginners. 

An important distinction to make is that although CrossFit training, which is to perform constantly varied functional movements at relative high intensity, is the prescription for both optimal health and elite athleticism, training for health and training to compete in the sport of CrossFit are not the same thing. Sport demands that athletes get as fit and as strong as possible right now (or at least in time for the start of the next season), whereas health requires a different approach, we want to be as fit and as strong as possible for as long as possible, which is a key point to understand along with an assessment of your overall goals when considering how to approach your training.

At Outwork we’re all about making people better, by helping them lead healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives, and while our programming lends itself more toward long term health than competition, we do still cater for those who are interested in the sport of fitness. Our coaching team has a wealth of first hand experience to draw from when it comes to taking to the competition floor and will always be on hand to help you make the best decisions around scaling, workout frequency, accessory work, rest days and many other facets of training, whether you choose to compete in CrossFit or not.

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