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Aug 31, 2012 by TAMMY McKENZIE
Focusing on Weight Training or Aerobic Exercise is Out - CrossFit Is In

Gone are days where exercise specialists are telling us to focus on one specific area of exercise. It never really worked quite well and it didn't take long before a better solution arose. A relatively new type of training known as CrossFit is popping up even in geriatric homes now. It has become a staple among people who want variety, results and a quicker workout.

CrossFit is a vigorous workout that combines weight training, aerobics and gymnastics all in one so that you become fit in every area of your game - not just one.

It incorporates interval-training workouts where you alternate periods of hard work (the stress phase) with periods of easy work (the recovery phase). It can also use specific heart rates for exercise intensity.

Doing bursts of hard exercise not only improves cardiovascular fitness but also the body’s ability to burn fat, even during low- or moderate-intensity workouts.

The goal is to be functionally fit - push every aspect of your body to the max so that you're healthy, strong and in shape.

Not just so you can lift a ton of weight or run a minute mile, but so you're fit to do anything that life throws at you.

One advantage is that it allows exercisers to spend more time doing high-intensity activity than they could in a single sustained effort. The rest period in interval training and crossfit it that it gives the body time to remove some of the waste products of working muscles.

To go hard, the body must use new muscle fibers. Once these recent recruits are trained, they are available to burn fuel even during easy-does-it workouts. Any form of exercise that recruits new muscle fibers is going to enhance the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and fat.

Some Crossfit workouts can be fast-paced, intense workouts that can take less than 15 minutes a day because that quarter of an hour is going to be condensed, non-stop movement.

It may only be three or four routines, a jog and squats, but the idea is that you keep doing each one over and over through the set time.

The key to CrossFit is the intensity but hidden in that fact is that you're inherently pushing yourself to do the most you can through each exercise in the workout.

For anyone with heart disease or high blood pressure -- or who has joint problems such as arthritis or is older than 60 -- experts say to consult a doctor before starting crossfit or interval training.

Exercising at a very high exertion level, but for a decreased amount of time, could have significant benefits for diabetic patients that rival those of traditional, but lengthy, periods of moderate exercise.

Tammy McKenzie is a certified personal trainer and fitness specialist with a speciality in women's fitness.

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