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The Daily Tar Heel

The best workout you never tried

Maybe you’ve heard of it. Some call it torture. For many it’s the best part of their day. CrossFit is the workout regimen that’s taking the fitness world by storm. I am a CrossFit coach here at UNC.

CrossFit is relatively new to the college scene. CrossFit UNC was founded in 2009, the fourth such affiliate on a college campus, and the first run entirely by students. Now we have more than 400 members, a substantial set of weights and a prime location in the Eddie Smith Field House.

Combining diverse cardio training, heavy lifting and athletic movements, CrossFit promises to get you in the best shape of your life, whether you’re a full-time athlete, overweight and out of shape or anywhere in between.

For most people, working out consists of lengthy cardiovascular exercise, isolation weight lifting or a combination of both. That dichotomy is nowhere to be found in CrossFit. So long as movements are functional and performed at high intensities, they’re fair game.

At CrossFit, we believe a workout routine should address every aspect of fitness. We’ve labeled ten fitness domains: respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.

We also believe that exercise should mimic reality. Whether you’re on the field, on the court, or out in the wild, your body is presented with unpredictable challenges devoid of patterns or formulas. Your training should reflect that. Constant variation in weight, in time and in structure is the hallmark of a CrossFit workout, and one way CrossFit stands apart from most fitness regimens.

At CrossFit, a year could go by without repeating a workout. One day we might run a 10k, the next day we might bench our body weight and deadlift twice that, and the next do several rounds of Olympic lifts and gymnastics exercises. There really is no typical CrossFit workout, and that’s why there is no typical CrossFit athlete.

Participants at UNC are runners, rugby players, boxers, you name it. Internationally, CrossFit is used to train police officers, soldiers, firefighters, mixed martial arts fighters and Hollywood actors. But most CrossFitters are everyday men and women who want to be healthy.

Perhaps the most attractive part about CrossFit, for college students, is the time commitment. Because our workouts are so intense, they are very short compared to the usual hour-plus gym session. At UNC, our workouts are never longer than thirty minutes. But don’t underestimate them — you will be exhausted and sore the next day. One of our favorite sayings is, “Your body will thank you … later.”

In my opinion, CrossFit is the most intelligent, challenging and interesting training program out there. You cannot beat it, and it cannot bore you, if you are serious about your health. From the day you get started to the day you can do 45 handstand pushups and 225-pound deadlifts in fewer than three minutes, CrossFit will push you to your physical and mental limits. You’ll cherish every grueling minute of it.

We hold workouts Monday through Thursday nights at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m., and we’ll continue until the last day of classes. We’d love to see you there!

Matthew Moran is a life coach columnist for the Daily Tar Heel. He is a sophomore English and math decision science major from Ridgewood, NJ. Contact him at mmoran@email.Unc.Edu.

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