Since CrossFit, Inc., was founded in 2000, the multi-function workout plan has turned into a bonafide fitness craze, now facilitated in more than 10,000 affiliate gyms across the country. But while some laud the program’s ability to transform weak, flabby physiques into ripped bodies of steel, others have slammed Crossfit for its significant injury potential. In fact, Kevin Ogar, a certified CrossFit trainer, suffered a traumatic injury to his spinal cord during a barbell snatch that left him paralyzed.
Thankfully, for those who crave an effective but safe workout, CrossFit is not the only solution. Following are four workouts that will completely sculpt your body – without the risk of spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair.
Licensed Master Sports Nutritionist and Functional Fitness Trainer Natalie Jill understands the desire for women to whip their bodies into shape without all the crazy equipment, complicated moves and extensive time commitment required by a program like CrossFit. Her solution? An exercise program that takes just 10-20 minutes, can be performed in the comfort of home and utilizes only body weight for resistance. Rev-4 is a full-body workout divided into four segments – Full Body, Lower Body, Upper Body and Core Crusher – and while Jill says you can combine them for a longer workout, she promises that just 10 minutes a day with completely change the way your body looks, feels and functions.
“You do short segments of intense exercises, using only your body weight, which decreases your risk of injury but still builds strength with the same intensity as CrossFit,” says Jill. “Whatever level you’re at when you begin the exercises, you’re still exerting the same level of energy and working just as hard as someone who may be more advanced. If you aren’t able to do the exercises right away, there are options for beginners, and you will quickly progress as you build strength and endurance.”
If you listen to CrossFit enthusiasts, they’ll lead you to believe that unless you’re pushing you’re body to the brink with exercise routines that tax muscles and joints on a daily basis, you’re not getting an effective workout. Not so, says wellness coach and fitness expert Jessica Smith. In her newest DVD, Walk On: The Ultimate Walking Collection, Smith turns one of the easiest and safest forms of exercise into a program that scorches calories and sculpts muscles.
“Let go of the idea that workouts have to torture your body in order to produce results,” urges Smith. “Many CrossFit warriors come to me after blowing out their knees and/or backs, and/or overeating from those intense workouts, and they find better – and more long-lasting – results with my “Walk On” DVD series.”
Each 30-minute routine on the disc combines walking, strength training and core conditioning that are gentle on joints and produce great results. They’re also pretty entertaining, which Smith says is a key component of their effectiveness. “One of the main reasons our workouts work so well is that our exercisers keep coming back for more because they are both fun and effective routines that make the body feel better – not worse – than when you started the program.”
“If people did DailyHiit workouts as often as the site posts videos, we would be a much healthier country then we are – and with much fewer injuries,” says Alison Roessler, a strength and conditioning specialist and CEO/founder of Truve, a training facility and wellness center in Oakland. Though not at all affiliated with DailyHiit, Roessler’s allegiance to the free exercise site is easily explained: She’s a busy trainer who can’t be everywhere at the same time, and DailyHiit gives her clients access to workouts that get results while she’s away.
Based on the High-Intensity Interval Training model, which alternates periods of short intense anaerobic activity with less-intense active recovery periods, DailyHiit’s workouts are about 12 minutes long, thus encouraging people to work hard for a short burst of time, says Roessler. The added benefit is that the programs require little to no equipment and are easily customizable based on fitness level.
“Someone who is a beginner will find all of the modifications that they need and can go through a workout just once,” Roessler adds. “More advanced exercisers can increase the weight or intensity, or they can repeat the workout to make it tougher. And while most workouts are designed to be adapted to any fitness level, DailyHiit does have a beginner’s fitness challenge, which would be a good place for someone new to exercise to start.”
For fitness expert and celebrity trainer Gino Caccavale, fitness is serious business – so much so that he created his Rezist workout to help people across the country achieve the same results he’s generated with celebs like Carmen Electra. But while you’d expect the former police academy drill instructor to drive a hard-hitting, CrossFit-style routine, that isn’t the case. Caccavale is equal parts no-nonsense and no-extremes.
“Extreme, by definition, means beyond what is reasonable,” Caccavale says. “Any workout that leads you to believe that such a workout is commonplace is setting its overzealous participants up for injury or disappointment. Workouts such as CrossFit or any other extreme workout pride themselves on leaving you nauseous, dizzy and in total body breakdown. The most important part of any workout should be the feeling of accomplishment and the positive endorphins released.”
Caccavale says Rezist is effective, not extreme, based on its 30-minute interval program that he calls “challenging but manageable.” “Your muscles are still overloaded to ensure growth, but the exercises are safer on your joints,” Caccavale adds. “By providing limited rest periods, Rezist also challenges your cardiovascular system, making it the most effective 30 minute workout that both burns fat and builds muscle safely.”