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August 11, 2014

Is Gymnazo Like CrossFit?

by Michael Hughes

In an interview with Ryan Foran and Paul Terek from ESPN’s radio show Living the Run talking about Gymnazo, I am used to answering the full gamut of questions.  After asking me a little about Gymnazo, who we are, what we offer and why we don’t ever do sit ups in class, Ryan asked me the most popular question I am asked:

“So is Gymnazo like CrossFit?”

No. We are not.

CrossFit is a very successful type of training. In 7 years it has become a household name, known for its short, intense group training sessions and culture.

With the heart to be objective and not critical, we would like to outline the three main differences as we see them.

Whatʼs your trainer’s background?

Some may think it a benefit to be able to change career paths and jump from the 9-5 boredom of an accounting job and become a certified trainer of your local CrossFit gym in a weekend.

From our research and from talking to those who are CrossFit trainers, we understand that CrossFit has two levels of trainers. To become a Level 1 trainer you do not have to have an educational background to sign up and pay for a 2 day lecture seminar/program. With no prior knowledge of the human body, joints, movement, muscles etc. you only need a 76% on the final written test to begin training your peers. Cross fit has set up level 1 and level 2 trainers.

Level One/Basic Trainer

  • To be a CrossFit trainer, you need to do the following:
  • Attend a 2 day workshop
  • Pay an amount of money
  • Pass a written test and get 76% or higher

That is all it takes to be a CrossFit trainer. You do not need to go through a training period, practice modifying work outs for people with injuries, or have any prior knowledge of the human body, muscles etc.

We are different from CrossFit in that we only hire trainers who have:

  • Completed our 10 week apprenticeship program which  includes projects, in class education/training, building workout workshops, observation, and more
  • Have bachelor degrees in related fields (Kinesiology, Nutrition, etc.)
  • A trainer must demonstrate proficiency and obtain a CAFS (Certification of Applied Functional Science)

This would be our equivalent of a level 1 trainer. Big difference.

Level 2/ Head Trainer

  • To be a level 2 trainer at CrossFit you need to attend/pass the following:
  • One day evaluation
  • Written exam of CrossFit methodology, programming etc.
  • Teach 6 CrossFit movements to a small group of trainees

To be a head trainer at Gymnazo you need to have all the prerequisites as outlined for a beginner trainer, plus the following:

  1. Being accepted into and passing a 40-week fellowship teaching Applied Functional Science
  2. A trainer must demonstrate proficiency and obtain a CAFS (Certification of Applied Functional Science)
  3. Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology

We do not recommend to our clients to trust their body and future of health in the hands of someone who does not have a comprehensive educational background to back their exercises, modifications and health advice. Gymnazo attracts local athletes suffering from injuries often caused from sports; they come to us to help rehab their muscles and joints and trust us with their health. We take this seriously and our standards reflect that.

What type of movements do you make people do?

The second thing that differentiates us from CrossFit is movement.

CrossFit provides an entire list of all 76 exercises they use to create their workouts. CrossFit is famous for their power cleans, sit-ups, pull ups, and squats. After analyzing the movements on their full list roughly 85% of them operate solely in the sagittal plane of motion (moving forward to back movement, or up and down.)

What is missing? Two very key planes of motion: frontal (side to side) and transverse (rotational).

Gymnazo is radically different. We have thousands of written exercises in all 3 planes of motion. We also continue to re-write and always pick equipment that sticks to our principles of fitness.

What do you mean by functional?

Probably the most hotly contested difference between Gymnazo and Cross Fit is the definition of function.

Based on Cross Fitʼs online definitions and discussions as well as personal ones, we believe that when a CrossFit trainer uses the word “function” or “functional” that they mean the movement is free from conventional workout machines like a leg extension machine, or a bicep curl machine. Their website defines it as “anything that is not done in a common gym setting.”

We believe that that is true. But that that definition lacks depth and understanding.

Gymnazo fundamentally believes that function is any exercise that creates an environment that allows our body to reenact real life movement by allowing our muscles to move in the way that the laws of physic (gravity, mass etc) allow us to move.

At Gymnazo we never give the same workout twice. Our rate of injury is staggeringly low. We pride ourselves on the testimonies of our professional athletes who have successfully rehabbed their sports injuries with us and avoided injury during their training with us.

Fitness is an investment. Just like considering which mutual fund to invest in, or which house to buy, when you consider your health, doing the research is vital.

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