In the past decade, fitness niche communities have left the confines of the big gyms and branched out on their own. Pilates and circuit training workouts found homes in strip malls across the country. Every once in a while a new fitness niche will emerge and suddenly there are multiple studios for it around the state. Such is the case with Crossfit. This is a high-intensity, diverse, strength and conditioning program offered by specially trained coaches.
If you can handle weightlifting, calisthenics and cardio such as running or rowing, Crossfit’s for you. It’s easy to assume this type of program would be for elite athletes or even for someone in training for the military, but here’s the secret—it’s for people like you and me. OK, maybe not me, but definitely you. Crossfit programs are designed so coaches can adjust the workouts to what you can handle. So maybe you can’t lift the heavy weights? They will give you something you can lift that will help improve your form and still work the right muscles.
I spoke with Derek Batman, co-owner and coach at Hardbat Crossfit in Newark. When I asked how something as intense as Crossfit caters to the range in fitness levels of his clients, he spoke about the program’s flexibility.
“Crossfit is scalable to anyone’s level,” he says. “What changes is the degree of intensity with which one does the workout. We have people who come with joint replacements, who are living with heart disease. We address their concerns and accommodate. It’s all about manipulating the body efficiently and preventing injury.”
Crossfit prides itself on the variety of the workouts, so clients get the benefit of a different workout every time. Class sizes range from five to 15 people and coaches work with each group to focus on biomechanics and improvement of form. Crossfit studios have popped up in Rehoboth, Dover, Middletown, Newark and Wilmington. When I asked Derek about the benefits of Crossfit training, he spoke to the importance of empowerment.
“People see results and are doing things they thought they could never do,” he says. “In our classes, we build community, which is also very important to the program.”
If you are interested in learning more about Crossfit, check out the following sites:
When Weight Watchers stopped campaigning to increase meeting attendance and started promoting their online experience, I knew the Internet had turned a corner. For years, Weight Watchers published clinical studies on the positive effects of meeting participation on weight loss and maintenance—and then it had a change of heart.
I am sure the organization still wants people to attend meetings, but it saw the need for a new level of engagement if it wants participation in the program. By offering the program online, it gives the participants flexibility, convenience and anonymity for those who prefer it. By removing the barriers of physical locations and set time schedules, people are more likely to join and participate in healthy behavior change.
I looked around and discovered this trend had extended to other healthy behaviors—such as quitting smoking. Technology is now helping people curb their smoking habit and chart their progress. I can actually say that if you want to quit smoking, there is an app for that. As a matter of fact, there are several.
Apps such as Quit Smoking by Azati and QuitNow! by Fewlaps offer tracking features, self-help guidance and innovative tools that show increases in life expectancy and lung function. My concern lies in the origin—who created them? Did the creators use evidence-based information to develop these apps? Fortunately, national organizations such as Livestrong did when they created My Quit Coach Lite. The National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health banded together to develop apps grounded in behavior change theory, which are likely to be more effective. Check out apps such as NCI QuitPal, Smokefree Teen: QuitSTART and QuitGuide at smokefree.gov.
The common factor with all the aforementioned apps is they leave the quitter flying solo. This technique may not work for everyone. I spoke with Deborah Brown, CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic about other important factors that help individuals quit smoking aside from the convenience of an app.
“Support from others is a critical piece for tobacco cessation,” Brown says. “The American Lung Association offers Freedom From Smoking Online which offers a community of support for those who want to follow a program on their own time.”
This web-based program allows those who wish to quit the opportunity to participate in the program and get the supportive feedback from others anytime they need it.
In the case of weight loss and tobacco cessation, technology helps to remove a key barrier—the time to attend a session. Quitting smoking is a very difficult behavior change to make. If our phones and laptops can make this easier and enable us to live longer, the term “power button” gets a whole new meaning.
A few months ago, I mentioned my fascination with health care marketing. After working in the industry for several years, I’m addicted to watching trends in how doctors and health systems market to consumers. The billboards tend to resemble one another with a core focus on the strengths of the institution, either through testimonials or awards received. I find myself fixated on the language. Here are some of the phrases health care advertisers use all over the media:
Hospitals and health care systems want you to know they will offer you excellent treatment and compassionate care. As health care consumers, that’s exactly what we expect from them. But if they want us to choose one over the other, they need to find new ways to tell us why
Wednesday, Dec. 19
Bariatric Informational Seminar
Location Bayhealth Milford Memorial, Rehab Conference Room
Time 6 p.m.
More Info. Free. Register by calling the Bayhealth Bariatric Office at (302) 430-5454.