Two Things

1. Just added a sidebar link to “What is Fitness?”, a great article from CrossFit headquarters that clearly and succinctly lays out what CrossFit training is all about. Any NYC CrossFitter who hasn’t seen the article already is strongly encouraged to give it a careful read. If nothing else, it makes great ammunition when trying to explain to friends, family and gym-mates what the hell you’re doing.
2. Also, a note about easing in: a fair number of the people who’ve joined the CFNYC fray so far are brand new to CrossFit, are fired up about getting seriously fit, and have started to follow along with the Workout of the Day individually (found on between our group classes. All of which is excellent. At the same time, CrossFit, when done at full-out intensity, cripples even world-class athletes. It’s brutally hard. So start slow and build up gradually.
In the past few weeks, trainees at several other CF gyms have had serious cases of rhabdomyolysis, or, as we affectionately call it, Uncle Rhabdo. Rhabdomyolysis is basically caused when very large numbers of muscle cells break down, releasing their contents into the blood stream and overwhelming the liver, which temporarily shuts down.
Most cases of Rhabdo are seen in people with severe muscle trauma from car accidents. Occasionally, it’s also seen in elite marathon runners who tax their muscles at high levels for hours on end. CrossFit, performed at blazing intensity by people who haven’t built up to it, has caused cases of Rhabdo after workouts lasting only about 15 minutes.
Which, oddly enough, stems from the same thing that draws us all to CrossFit in the first place: it’s way more effective and time-efficient than anything else out there. Still, like with anything new and hard, start at your level, build from there, and save your liver for CFNYC’s other favorite liver-damaging activity instead: after-work drinks.


  • Keith W.

    Excellent point, Joshua. I find that I have modified and diluted most of the workouts, but still do them intensely and get results. For example, I had to modify today’s WOD for the gym I was using. So I ran the 400s on a treadmill and had a 35# dumbbell standing by. I jumped off the treadmill and did 8 one-arm snatches with each arm then got back on the treadmill. 5 rounds of that took me 19:33. Not a world-class effort by any stretch of the imagination. But my 20 minutes was way more intense than any of the people jogging near me. I took it light today, but it was still a good/great workout.
    I think most people should attack all the workouts with caution at least the first time they see them. After a month start to ratchet up the intensity. Then as you need to, go harder or lighter depending on the state of your body.
    Keep notes on some workouts that you like. Pick a day and do them again with intensity…maybe on a rest day or when you can’t find the right equipment for the WOD or just as a test/benchmark once a week/month.
    Most importantly…exercise your mind! Read the Crossfit website. Get the Crossfit Journal. Search the message boards. Wrap your brain around it first, then the body will follow.