The Big Weigh-In: 5 Exercise Fads Plus Their Pros and Cons

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronsombilongallery/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronsombilongallery/

1. CrossFit

First up: the current big man on campus — CrossFit. Perhaps one of the greatest things about this exercise regime is that you always know who is doing it — because CrossFitters never stop talking about it. All jokes aside though, this exercise program definitely is one that has proven to stick, and certainly has many advocates singing its praises.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning group fitness program that encourages a community atmosphere among its members, and it is this teamwork and unity that exercisers praise. Crossfit’s community atmosphere is one of the program’s many merits, because the regime keeps its exercisers accountable while providing them with a support base that they want to continue coming back to. According to WebMDCrossFit targets the major components of physical fitness that include cardiorespiratory fitness, stamina, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. CrossFitters usually visit their gym, or “box,” three to five times a week and the workouts are intense, but short and sweet. They usually take around five to 15 minutes to complete.

These new, demanding exercises allow CrossFitters to see gains fast, but some still caution that the regime encourages muscle gain, and shouldn’t specifically be used for weight loss. In other words: CrossFitters are more fixated by the number on their weights, rather than the number on the scale. So, yes, there are many advantages to CrossFit, but there are also some drawbacks that should be considered before you sign up to jump aboard the bandwagon.

First off, CrossFit is expensive, costing $100 to $200 per month for unlimited classes at many places. In addition, some doctors warn CrossFitters about the many injury risks that surround the demanding exercise. Since CrossFit is intense, competitive, and puts a premium on the time a workout can be completed in, many exercisers either rush through programs, scale up their weights too quickly, or don’t pay enough attention to proper technique, leading to injuries down the line. The model that CrossFit uses is excellent — short, high intensity, focused workouts — however, not everyone sufficiently understands the mechanics behind the workouts, and thus some are at risk for overcommitting and ending up with an injury.