From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.
In the United States we love to try new ways to exercise. And when an exercise program promises to help us lose weight or get fit, it can become very popular, very quickly. It becomes an exercise trend.
One such popular exercise trend is CrossFit. The number of CrossFit centers, or gyms, has doubled every two years. And not just in the United States.
What began in a house in California back in the 1970s is now international. There are more than 8,500 CrossFit gyms worldwide. People who practice CrossFit live in South America, across Europe and Asia too.
But what is CrossFit? CrossFit is a whole body workout. And it is not easy. CrossFit is known as one of the hardest training programs in the exercise world. A good word to describe that is -- hardcore.
So who are these hardcore Crossfitters? They include the U.S. Marines, professional sports teams, fire departments, and police forces. But it is also popular with office workers.
CrossFit uses weight training and basic movements like running and jumping. The movements are simple but intense.
Kate Garufi is a trainer at District CrossFit in Washington, D.C. She says the main goals are to get stronger and to improve cardio – or the rate the heart performs.
“So you can have powerlifting movements, you can have Olympic lifting movements, you can have body weight stuff. We can have what we call single modal, running, rowing, swimming, anything can be thrown into a workout with CrossFit.”
Most CrossFit gyms are filled men. But women also practice this extreme workout. Samantha Rapoza has been doing CrossFit for about six weeks with the goals of losing weight and gaining strength.
“I think there are so many things that I didn't know I could do, and I am already making progress that I didn't expect to make as quickly as I made it. So I think I am going to have to revise my goals a little bit.”
Something else is different about CrossFit -- people train together in groups. CrossFit members say they begin to feel like a family.
There is also pressure as a result. Members say they do not want to fail their group.
But critics say CrossFit has a high rate of injury. Members can experience muscle damage, especially shoulder injuries.
CrossFit athletes, however, say that a good trainer can help people work out safely and avoid injuries.
And that’s the Health Report from VOA Learning English.
How do you exercise? Is CrossFit a good workout for you? Let us know in our comment section!
For video reports about health, visit our website at learningenglish.voanews.com.
I’m Anna Matteo.