At the beginning of this year I started to get more serious about Crossfit and make it my primary workout. So what is Crossfit? Crossfit is based on constantly varied functional movements, including running, rowing, Olympic lifting, body weight exercises (squats, push ups, pull-ups), and basic gymnastic movements. Crossfit has a Workout Of the Day, a WOD, and each day there is a prescribed workout that you do as a crossfit community (when you work out at a Crossfit gym or follow the workouts from the main page Crossfit.com).
Crossfit WODs can be as short as 2-3 minutes or as long as an hour, it depends on the WOD. They are primarily divided into 2 groups, metcons (metabolic conditioning) or strength, and the workouts are either done for time (as fast as possible) or for reps/rounds (AMRAP = as many rounds as possible). There are 'benchmark' WODs that are defined WODs with names like Fran (21-15-9 Thursters 65/95, and pullups), Cindy (AMRAP in 20 mins of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats), and Angie (100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats for time) that are used as a standard that Crossfitters can compare themselves to others to see how you measure up against other Crossfit athletes. Crossfit is universally scalable, so if you can't do the workouts as listed - referred to as prescribed or Rx - or you scale them to your level of ability - using less weight, doing less reps, using bands to assit with pullups, etc. As you continue to do crossfit, you will be able to get closer and closer to doing the WODs as prescribed as you get stronger.
Crossfit recently produced a commercial on YouTube, click here to check it out, it does a good job and quickly showing a little bit of what crossfit is all about.
I took a leap of faith at the end of 2009 when I quit my regular gym and abandoned my normal running routine (after completing my 3rd half marathon at the end of November) and decided to try doing only Crossfit as my workout regime. I wasn't sure what would happen, but to my surprise the combination of eating Paleo and committing myself to both strength and metcon Crossfit WODs got me into great shape and making strength gains continuously. When I started I couldn't do a pull up, now I can do Angie - 100 pull ups, 100 push ups, 100 sit ups and 100 squats - Rx (as prescribed) and I know how to do lifts like cleans, push jerk, snatch, and deadlift. I'm still working on the elusive handstand push up, but I hope to have it soon! Right now I'm doing a combination of crossfit and running, biking, and swimming since I'm doing 2 triathlons this summer. I've found that crossfit has made me much stronger and its made all of my races a little easier because I'm stronger overall.
Have I peaked your curiosity yet? I work out at Crossfit King of Prussia check out the site and check out the Blog where we post the WODs and results and pictures. Want to find a Crossfit near you? Go to the Affiliate page and search within your state and give it a try. I'll be posting more on why Crossfit works soon.