CrossFit took the fitness world by storm and divided workout enthusiasts like no other activity could.
People either love CrossFit or hate it. You are rarely going to find an opinion that is between these two extremes.
However, since you are reading this guide, you probably enjoy CrossFit while traveling or are at least curious about it. Maybe you just want to know if it can keep you fit, especially on the road.
If that is the case, read on because we will look in-depth at how CrossFit is practiced on the road, what makes it great, and how you can do it while on the road.
Let's dive in.
How Does CrossFit Work?
You have undoubtedly heard of CrossFit and have probably seen people do that type of training or even compete. But what exactly is it, and what benefits does it offer?
CrossFit is advertised as the sports of fitness. In other words, activities like bodybuilding and powerlifting are "boring," but CrossFit provides a sense of engagement and healthy competition among trainees.
How much you agree with the idea is up to you, and we certainly are not here to discount other forms of resistance training to make CrossFit workouts stand out more.
In essence, CrossFit is more of a training philosophy people can use and adapt for themselves to develop multiple characteristics and become well-rounded athletes.
Instead of only focusing on one or two things (e.g., strength or endurance), CrossFit training combines activities in a way that helps trainees develop strength, endurance, coordination, and other characteristics.
Rather than specializing, CrossFit welcomes everyone interested in improving their fitness, having fun, and enjoying healthy competition.
Is CrossFit good for Beginners?
While most people see CrossFit as an advanced way to work out, the principles can be applied to the training program of any fitness enthusiast, including a complete beginner.
What makes CrossFit unique is that the same workout (WOD) can be made to fit all the trainees that attend a class.
For example, a complete beginner can use a lighter weight and do slower and more controlled reps, whereas someone advanced could lift more, performing each rep quickly and with explosiveness.
As a whole, CrossFit is ideal for:
- People new to weight training who are yet to learn how to exercise with proper form, structure their workouts, and build muscle
- Newbies who enjoy being part of a supportive community and feel more motivated to exercise in a group setting
- Beginners who may have been successful in other ways (for example, with distance running) and are looking for a new way to challenge themselves
Of course, CrossFit is not ideal for everyone. Here are some people who would be better off with another type of training:
- Those looking to specialize in a specific field, such as powerlifting or weightlifting. As mentioned above, CrossFit is not about specializing in one thing but working on multiple athletic characteristics simultaneously
- Those who prefer to train alone and are not big fans of group fitness classes. Such individuals would be better off doing traditional gym training.
- Folks who prefer to dictate their pace, write their workouts, and choose which exercises to do in their training.
Are you a beginner? If so, you need more help and should not be ashamed to ask a coach for extra attention. Doing so is a great way to bond with your trainer, learn important details about CrossFit, and build a solid fitness foundation.
Most CrossFit boxes (a CrossFit gym is referred to as a "box") worldwide offer classes for beginners, so it is best to reach out and ask when you can come in for a session. You can get a free session to see if you want to pursue CrossFit further. These are called introduction classes and typically consist of some explanation and a basic workout primarily made of bodyweight exercises.
If you decide to do CrossFit again, it is best to go through a course that teaches you how to perform the nine essential movements in the sport.
Such a course benefits everyone because CrossFit is highly dynamic, and trainees should have a firm grasp of each movement and the potential mistakes they could be making. Think of these as orientation.
How does a CrossFit Workout look like on the road?
Before diving into any specifics, it is important to note that CrossFit is not rigid, and there are no must-do activities. You can use the training philosophy to create workout sessions that fit your available equipment, preferences, goals, and fitness level.
A CrossFit class, which typically goes like this:
A traditional CrossFit workout lasts around 60 minutes.
CrossFit training begins with a dynamic warm-up sequence, typically consisting of bodyweight exercises like jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, jump squats, lunges, and pull-ups.
Your instructor will also recommend dynamic stretches and other activities that prepare you for the specific exercises you will do on that particular day.
WOD, which stands for workout of the day, is the core of each session. Here, your instructor will tell you exactly what exercises to do, what tempo to maintain, and how many reps to perform.
A traditional WOD is a circuit consisting of several exercises you perform back to back-as quickly as possible.
As the name suggests, WODs change, and you will unlikely do the same session. The case would be similar for WODs on the road.
Wrapping It Up
Every CrossFit session wraps up with a few minutes of stretching. You can perform these as a group or individually, as you see fit.
If you are not used to the intense pace, you can lie on the ground to catch your breath.
Is CrossFit actually Dangerous?
You have probably heard that CrossFit is dangerous and likely to result in an injury, so it is best to avoid it and go for more controlled forms of resistance training.
We agree with the idea, but only to an extent. CrossFit can be dangerous, but as with most things, context matters.
Doing complex barbell exercises with a lot of weight for many reps can be dangerous when you do not pay attention to your technique. However, using the appropriate weight and doing as many reps as possible with proper form will keep you safe.
The same goes for all other CrossFit activities. So, the most important thing is having a good coach who can give you enough attention, examine your technique, and provide real-time feedback.
CrossFit can be dangerous because you are instructed to perform several challenging movements back-to-back with almost no recovery time in between.
Fatigue can often affect training form and cause you to find ways to overcompensate by using momentum, swinging your body, shortening the range of motion, etc.
Such excessive motions can make each movement less effective and increase the risk of stress on the spine, hips, shoulders, and other areas.
When participating in a CrossFit class, always prioritize proper technique and never sacrifice your form to do extra reps. While it might feel great to push beyond your limits, understand that doing a few extra reps at the expense of good form could have consequences.
How to use CrossFit to stay fit while traveling
1. Find a Box
The best way to stick to CrossFit while traveling is to find a box and join with a day pass.
One option is to visit the official CrossFit page and review the available gyms list. Alternatively, input your location, and the tool will generate available CrossFit affiliate gyms.
Google Maps can also be an option. Open it up, write your travel destination in the search bar, and include the keyword CrossFit. Depending on the location, Google Maps could display many training facilities.
Websites like BODDY or ClassPass would be a third option if you struggle to find a good CrossFit box. Select your location, type the keyword 'crossfit', and the platform will generate all the available facilities in the area.
Finally, you can try out HotelGyms.com. While our search platform does not yet filter for CrossFit boxes, it can list countless hotel gyms worldwide, many of which offer CrossFit classes or are close to such facilities.
It is worth a look if you are traveling to a smaller city and struggling to find a good place to train.
2. Do Bodyweight WODs
A simple way to do CrossFit on the road is by completing equipment-free workouts of the day.
While CrossFit is known for kipping pull-ups, loaded carries, and heavy barbell lifts, you can apply the principles to push-ups, squats, sit-ups, jump rope, burpees, and other activities for your own WODs on the road.
The beauty is that, even if you are advanced and strong, you can pick bodyweight exercises that will challenge you to a significant degree. For example, if regular push-ups feel too easy, why not try your hand at plyo, decline, or single-arm push-ups?
3. Train at Hotel Gyms
Hotel gyms can be a hit or miss, but that does not mean you should not give them a chance, especially when you do not have other options apart from doing bodyweight movements in your hotel room.
The great thing about such gyms is they generally are less full than public training facilities, which means you can let loose and have most of the training equipment to yourself.
As a result, you can put together fun and challenging CrossFit-style circuit workouts at hotel gyms.
Even if you only have access to a pair of dumbbells, a barbell, and some weight plates, you can do dozens of movements to train your entire body.
- Renegade rows
- Man makers
- Goblet squats
- Bear crawl (forward and back)
- Burpees over dumbbell
- Strict press
- Romanian deadlifts
As mentioned above, HotelGyms.com can be a neat tool for finding hotel gyms and learning more about them:
- User rating
- Available equipment
- How much weight do they offer
- How well is the facility maintained
And other relevant details.
Plus, some hotels feature CrossFit boxes, so it does not hurt to check for available options where you're traveling. For example, the Comfort Hotel Børsparken in Oslo has an in-house box.
Another example is the Gibson Hotel in Dublin. It does not have an in-house box, but there is a CrossFit training facility nearby. It is an unorthodox way to find a CrossFit box, but it can work.
Bring your own portable CrossFit Equipment
In case none of the options did work out, or you just do not want to risk anything, you can bring your portable gym with you. Here's how to do it:
- Jump Rope: Jump ropes are not only lightweight and incredibly easy to pack, but they also provide an excellent cardiovascular workout and can easily be integrated into any CrossFit routine. Consider high-speed ropes for double-unders, a common move in CrossFit WODs on the road.
- Resistance Bands: Resistance bands come in different strengths and can replace nearly any move you would do with weights. These bands are perfect for strength training exercises and can be used for various workouts, including squats, rows, presses, and deadlifts.
- Suspension Trainer: A portable suspension trainer system, like the TRX, can be set up anywhere you have a sturdy door, beam, or tree. It uses your own body weight for resistance, and the variety of exercises you can do is nearly endless.
- Yoga Mat: An excellent addition to your travel workout gear, a yoga mat, is not just for yoga. It can be used for stretching, ab workouts, or as a clean spot to do burpees, push-ups, or any other bodyweight exercises on the floor.
- Exercise Sliders: These small discs can give you a full-body workout and are perfect for suitcase packing. Use them for lunges, bridges, mountain climbers, and more.
Remember, while equipment can enhance your workouts, the key to CrossFit is the intensity and variety of the workouts. You can often achieve a fantastic workout using bodyweight alone. So, if you can not travel with equipment, do not sweat it!
Conclusion, how to keep up with CrossFit workouts on the road
If you can not find a regular CrossFit Box, one viable option is to perform CrossFit workouts in regular hotel gyms.
The advantage is that you probably will only have to share a little of the equipment with others, especially if you prefer training early in the morning or late at night.
At HotelGyms.com, our primary objective is to help you find the right gym, regardless of your travel destination. Input your travel destination in our tool, select check-in and check-out dates, and hit 'Search.'
The important thing is to keep moving and maintain your routine. So you can continue to meet your fitness goals, even while you are on the road.