CrossFit boasts more than 10 million followers and recently inked a decade-long multi-million dollar deal with Reebok to sponsor the annual CrossFit Games. But despite the craze, are all those high-intensity WODs working?
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recently commissioned a small study by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse exercise physiology program, which monitored 16 healthy volunteers between the ages of 20 and 47.
The team put the subjects through the paces in two workouts, or WODs, the first being Donkey Kong, which incorporates burpees, kettlebell swings, and box jumps.
During the first round, each exercise was performed 21 times, the second round 15 times and the final round nine times. Between each exercise, subjects climbed a flight of stairs. Subjects then performed the Fran, which consists of thrusters (a front squat into a push press with a barbell) and assisted pull-ups.
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The men were found to have burned nearly 21 calories a minute while women burned just over 12. Researchers added that workouts were "very difficult" for most of the subjects. "It didn't matter their skill or fitness level, and it didn't matter how long it took them to complete the workouts," said researcher Paige Babiash. "Each person was extremely exhausted at the end."
"The two workouts were completed in fewer than 12 minutes, not including the warm-up and cool-down," Babiash added. "Yet, despite this short duration, subjects still burned an average of 115.8 calories."
"Seeing the benefits in such a short amount of time is encouraging, especially if you have a busy lifestyle," she added.
Downsides of Crossfit are that you could run the risk of injury. HuffingtonPost adds that to keep it safe, first-timers should look for a CrossFit box (CrossFit-speak for gym) with an attentive coach who cares more about safety than competition.