Crossfit Delray: totally relearning endurance training
By Jason Schultz
Until maybe two weeks ago I hadn’t even heard of this bizarre mix of strength training and extreme short bursts of exertion known as crossfit. But then I started hearing about it everywhere. A very nice trainer from Delray Beach who does powerlifting told me about it, then I heard about it from another woman on the Treasure Coast who does mixed martial arts. But I wasn’t convinced because I was looking for something to improve in endurance sports and I was not looking for something that would just get my upper body all “gacked” up so I could become one of the gym guys whose lives revolves around their biceps and asking women if they want “two tickets to the gun show.” I had no interest in body building and combat sports so I was still hesitant.
Then I talked to two wonderful people, Crossfit Delray Beach co-owner Sarah Bowling and my friend, the one and only Joey D from South Florida Runs, my favorite running group in Palm Beach County with their own line of T-shirts and gelatin deserts. Joey D swore this crazy crossfit thing would make me faster. Bowling told me how her gym or “box” was filling up more and more with endurance athletes that are not only losing pounds, they are losing minutes off their race times.
That’s what I needed to hear. So this week I gave it a try at the wonderful box on Congress Avenue between Atlantic and Woolbright, Crossfit Delray Beach. What I found was not only how much pain could possibly be packed into a 15 minute workout (and believe me it is a lot) but I found something that will likely completely reshape how I train from now on and could do the same for anybody else trying to build their endurance.
Bowling, who opened Crossfit Delray in October of 2008 and now has 215 fulltime members, said crossfit endurance training is about “building a better motor” so the body can last longer and go faster. But it is about doing it without having to put all the miles on it from hours of running and biking and lifting that eventually break the body down. The super intense workouts are also super short, roughly 15-30 minutes and you get everything you can handle and then some in that time.
As Bowling explained it, the workouts are essentially a circuit of lifting and functional movement exercises such as flipping tires or pullups mixed with short sprints. Instead of the traditional way of doing three sets of 8-12 reps and resting several minutes in between sets athletes are moving continuously and as fast as possible in between each part of the circuit for a given period of time.
After two days I can clearly see that this will definitely build my endurance if it doesn’t kill me, and what I’ve done are just mild introductory versions at that. I did feel like I accomplished way more in the less than 30 minute workout than I would of in two hours at LA Fitness waiting for people to get out of my way so I could do something. When I woke up this morning and realized Crossfit Delray was the last place I wanted to go tonight and whatever they think up is the last thing I want to be doing tonight, that’s when it was clear that was exactly where I needed to be to get faster.
Its not cheap, that’s for sure. But what I spend in money I am hoping to save in time so I can pack more training into the day. Finding enough time to bike swim and run for races is always a big problem for endurance athletes as well as building the endurance to maintain that race pace even when you are 10 miles in and its 90 degrees outside. Heat is still my nemesis. So whether crossfit works as well everyone is telling me it will work in the long run is something I’ll tell you this fall. But if something can make you faster and with more endurance while taking up less time than regular strength training, in my book it is worth trying.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 at 11:15 am and is filed under Equipment/accessory reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.