Fox Sports writer Erin Andrews is a CrossFit enthusiast.
# Fitness
What is CrossFit and is it worth the money?
The latest exercise craze is pricey but gets results. Here’s what it entails.

IF YOU’RE LIKE me, and many more I suspect, who’ve flirted with the idea of taking up CrossFit only to check the price of it for a month and rubbish the idea in a heartbeat, it might be worth considering that this latest fitness craze is one of the quickest ways to actually get in shape.

Granted, a six-month membership package with unlimited classes will probably cost you over €500 (and you can double that fee if it’s 12 months you’re after) but if you were in the condition you wanted to be afterwards, would you pay it?

Ian O’Leary of CrossFit, Cork makes the argument that though it is expensive, it’s unlike any other form of training.

“The easiest way to describe it is mixed-modality training,” explains O’Leary. “Rather than focussing on any one element, like just running, or just lifting weights, or just lifting your body weight, we combine all these elements in a training session to give people a general, broader, all-round fitness workout.

“What tends to happen is not only does people’s strength improve but their speed, their balance, co-ordination, flexibility as well. We test all these points, we don’t sacrifice any element of training. We train them all.”

Convinced? Maybe not, but consider CrossFit is now what many inter-county football and hurling teams are doing in the off-season, what triathletes and cyclists and boxers have been doing for years. CrossFit doesn’t train you to be an Olympic gymnast or weight-lifter. It trains you to be fit, argues O’Leary.

“It’s something new and fresh and every class is different,” extolls O’Leary of its virtues. “In CrossFit we use the term ‘workout of the day’ or WOD, so basically when someone comes into the gym they’re doing something different every day. They’re learning new movements. For a lot of people they’re coming from a background of no training, so their progression is really fast and they see themselves getting stronger and fitter every day and that’s infectious; when you see progress you just want to see progress with it.

“Also, you’re being coached or trained personally but it’s not personal training. We never take more than 14 at any class, some take in more but you have a qualified instructor there standing over you, helping you, encouraging you and they correct form. You’re being motivated throughout the whole session.”

CrossFit Ireland / Vimeo

And to the money-shot; why the high monthly fee?

“Definitely, it’s not cheap,” he readily accepts. “But It’s coaching, if we had our gyms open all day people would come in and do their own thing and that’d be a lot cheaper (for them) but to have a professional coach standing over you and taking you through the movements and giving you their expertise is worth the money. The other side is, if you’re doing personal training you’re looking at more expense again. For most people it’s a more affordable cost of being trained.”

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