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Is CrossFit Effective for Weight Loss?

CrossFit seems to be the current fitness darling. But if your goal is to lose weight, is CrossFit the right exercise program for you?
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CrossFit has been around as an exercise program for over a decade, but recently, the exercise technique has exploded across the United States. CrossFit is a type of exercise designed to increase both strength and fitness by constantly providing new challenges. Rather than simply completing the same exercises over and over, CrossFit exercisers keep adding more weight, repetitions, and other challenges to keep improving. With so much publicity surrounding this new exercise method, many individuals wonder just how effective CrossFit can be.

Is CrossFit an effective workout for individuals trying to lose weight, or is it better for individuals who are already workout pros? Read more about CrossFit and its effectiveness for weight loss below.

How Does CrossFit Work?

According to the official website for CrossFit, the workout routine is: “…the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.”

Basically, the program is designed to provide varied and challenging workouts so that you never fall into a complacent exercise routine. This style of workout aims to avoid common workout “slumps” by providing a mix of exercise styles. Rather than having different workouts for different people, the same workout is completed by every member, just with different weights or repetitions.

Can You Do CrossFit at Home?

Joining a CrossFit gym can be expensive, which is a deterrent for many. Additionally, CrossFit has specific exercise times, which may not work with all schedules. There are hundreds of websites online that provide information on how to complete CrossFit exercises at home. However, completing these exercises at home can be risky. Since form is important to prevent injuries, completing the exercises without a coach can increase the risk for injuries. Unless you are familiar with proper form and exercise techniques, it may be best to avoid trying any CrossFit workouts at home without a qualified coach nearby.

Potential Risks of CrossFit

CrossFit has had a lot of bad publicity because injuries are common. Some of these injuries occur due to members who push themselves too hard and some occur due to improper exercise techniques. Not all CrossFit coaches are trained professionals, which means some coaches may encourage participants to exercise beyond safe limits. CrossFit is safest when participants follow proper form when completing all exercises. Adding more weight or repetitions too quickly can lead to injuries.

A study from 2013 published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that the most common injuries occur in the spine, knees, and shoulders.

How can CrossFit Help with Weight Loss?

According to a 2013 study from Ohio State University, intense, interval-style exercises (and CrossFit specifically) are highly effective at promoting healthy weight loss and overall fitness. During the study, study participants exercised using CrossFit for 10 weeks.

All study participants had improved body composition at the end of the study period regardless of how fit they were at the start of the study. CrossFit is effective at not only promoting healthy weight loss, but also improving the overall function of the body. However, it is important to find a CrossFit gym that has trained coaches to help reduce the risk of injuries. Look for a gym that has coaches with several years of fitness and health training.

If you try CrossFit, don’t try to push yourself beyond what your body can handle. Form is more important than speed and ignoring proper form can lead to serious injuries.

Boost Workout Effectiveness with These Steps

Exercise alone (even an effective exercise like CrossFit or another high-intensity workout) is usually not enough to shed excess pounds. In fact, a review of over 700 weight loss studies found that what you eat accounts for about 75 percent of weight loss. In one study, participants who exercised without dieting lost only six pounds in 15 weeks, while participants who dieted without exercise lost 23 pounds in the same period.

So, how does exercise help weight loss if it is only a small part? According to health experts, exercise builds up muscles and bones that lose density during weight loss. Without exercise, you are not only losing excess fat, but also excess muscle and bone, which is not healthy. Exercise also stimulates the metabolism, helping to burn fat more efficiently. Use the following tips to boost the effectiveness of your workout routine (whether it is CrossFit or something else).

Watch Calorie Intake

Nutritional biochemist Shawn M. Talbott, PhD states that adults should aim to eat about 10 calories a day per pound of bodyweight. This means a 180 pound man should eat about 1,800 calories per day for healthy weight loss. Women who weigh about 130 pounds should eat about 1,300 calories per day. This provides a rough guideline that is easy to follow for healthy weight loss. As long as your metabolism is functioning properly, you should be able to lose weight following this rough guideline.

Eat Well

What you eat is extremely important for weight loss. In theory, if you eat 1,500 calories of pure sugar a day you can still lose weight, but junk food is horrible for the body. While losing weight, try to provide your body with the most nutrient-dense foods you can find. Vegetables with every meal, high-quality protein, healthy fats (like coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, and butter), and whole grains provide a nutrient-rich backdrop for maintaining health and energy even during weight loss. Avoid junk food, hydrogenated oils, processed foods, sugar, and large amounts of grain while trying to lose weight. Fill your plate at every meal so you don’t feel hungry between meals and snack on unhealthy snacks like candy bars or chips.

Consider Weight Loss Supplements

If you have been overweight for a long time, or are suddenly overweight, your thyroid or metabolism could be to blame. There are a variety of factors that lead to an imbalance of thyroid hormones and other hormones that encourage your body to hold on to excess pounds. Chronic stress, medications, inactivity, and genetics can all contribute to how easily you lose weight. Luckily, even if your body wants to cling to excess pounds, you can encourage it to release those last stubborn pounds with the help of weight loss supplements. These supplements are not the extreme, dangerous supplements often recalled by the FDA either.

These supplements are natural herbs and vitamins that encourage your metabolism to reset and pick up- leading to effective weight loss. If you have trouble losing weight, consider adding the following supplements to your diet:

Supplements that Boost Weight Loss

Citrus Aurantium Ext: A study published in The Journal of Medicine in 2002 found that when study participants supplemented with citrus aurantium, their weight loss progress increased significantly.

Green Tea: Green tea increases the rate at which the body burns fat. This is beneficial for improving a sluggish metabolism. Coffee may also have a similar effect. Glucomannan: glucomannan fiber helps control blood sugar levels and also encourages healthy weight loss. The high fiber content also prevents bloating.

CLA: CLA fats are effective at promoting healthy weight loss. CLA is found in dairy and beef products naturally, or it can be taken in supplement form. Animal studies show that CLA is effective in promoting weight loss, but human trials have shown mixed results.

Time Your Eating

Studies suggest that a narrow food window promotes effective and healthy weight loss. Animal studies have found that when rats were given unlimited access to foods within a small eating window (about 9 hours), they still remained leaner than rats who could eat less food at any time of day. This suggests that narrowing your eating window to 9 to 12 hours per day can significantly improve any weight loss efforts.

Start your eating clock with your first food consumption of the day (even if it is juice or coffee) and cut off your eating 9 to 12 hours later. If you start eating at 7 AM, stop by 7 PM. The most interesting part of these animal studies was that if the rats were allowed unlimited consumption of foods every few days (such as the weekend), as long as they went back to scheduled eating a couple of days later, the binge eating had no effect on their total body weight.

CrossFit and Weight Loss

Exercising is an important part of healthy weight loss- although it is by no means the only part. According to research, CrossFit can be highly effective at promoting strength, health, and weight loss when done properly. If you want to try CrossFit, make sure to use a gym with qualified, professional coaches to reduce your risk for injuries. Never push yourself to the point of injury, or you may find yourself with a hospital visit. For best results, combine a CrossFit-style exercise routine with healthy foods, supplements to boost the metabolism, and a reduced calorie diet.





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