Category Archives: Crossfit

Can You Lower Cholesterol Through Exercise?


Those of us who enjoy sport tend to see it as a panacea for all ills. A bit overweight? Exercise. Feeling sad? Exercise. Want to set yourself a challenge? Exercise. But what if you have recently done a cholesterol test and your levels are elevated? Is exercise a good solution here? In this article we discuss the research behind cholesterol and sport, looking at how you can lower your levels safely and effectively, and whether exercise can help.

What is cholesterol, and why might you need to lower it?

Let’s start with the basics. There’s no point trying to lower something if we don’t know what it is!

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance created by the liver and found in the blood. There are two different types: HDL (or “good”) cholesterol and LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol.

When people talk about having raised cholesterol they are generally speaking about LDL – this kind can build up, and if there’s too much in the blood it’s considered one of the risk factors of heart disease. Meanwhile, HDL-cholesterol can pick cholesterol up and take it to the liver to be destroyed, making it the good kind.

Confused? It’s always helpful to speak to a healthcare professional – and you can always request a cholesterol test along the way.

Can you lower cholesterol through exercise?

So now you know what cholesterol is, the question remains: Can you lower bad cholesterol levels through exercise?

The answer isn’t straightforward. Studies have found a link between LDL cholesterol and being overweight, so if you have elevated levels, exercising more may be a good step to take as it can help you maintain a healthy weight.

That said, if a cholesterol test has revealed that your levels are elevated, the most important thing to do is to take a look at your diet. Having a healthy, balanced diet overall is a good start, but it’s replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat that’s the major change to make.

How much exercise should we be doing?

Whether you’re trying to maintain healthy cholesterol levels or not, exercise is important for your health. If you don’t do much sport at the moment, this doesn’t mean you should start trying to run marathons – it’s important to always work from your base level and gradually increase.

The NHS suggests a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity five days a week, so start by trying to get to that point. Once there, you can then add to it. If you’re currently walking 30 minutes a day, for example, try stepping that up to jogging instead for two of those days each week – and if you’re doing that already, why not try weights?

Even if the link between cholesterol lowering and exercise isn’t clear cut, it’s still an important part of any healthy lifestyle. Once you get the exercise bug, you’ll feel great and your body will love you for it – just find something you enjoy and get going.

How To Create A CrossFit Gym In Your Home: A Guide For Newbies

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of going to the gym. To be honest, it’s not for the reasons you might be thinking! I’m someone that enjoys an active lifestyle. But, there are just many things that put me off going to the gym.

For example, equipment that is faulty but still gets used by gym members. Staff that seem to have poor training. And hygiene; some gyms are quite dirty and unhygienic! It’s for those reasons and more that you might want to create a CrossFit gym at home. Check out these pointers to help you get started:


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Find a suitable room in your house

To get started, you need to identify a room in your home appropriate for a CrossFit gym! Most people end up using the garage because it’s the least used part of any house. Of course, you might wish to work out in more pleasant surroundings.

Whichever part of your house you choose, make sure it’s big enough for your needs. The last thing you want to do is select a room that could prove dangerous to your activities!

Clear out your new gym area

Next, you’ll need to turn your new gym location into an empty space. Get rid of any furniture and junk lying around so that you’ve got a blank canvas. Some people might even remove the carpet and install hardwood flooring instead. Of course, that’s an option rather than a necessity.

Can’t put your redundant items somewhere else? You’ve got two options here. The first is to box everything up and stack them in the corner of your new gym. The other is to find somewhere outside of your home to store them. Usually, there will be some place around your house where you can keep those items.


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Make your gym safe

Before you buy the items you need, it’s crucial to make your working area safe. First, you should buy some stall mats like the ones used at commercial gyms. It just makes sense!

Next, think about spacing. Where will you install the equipment in your gym space? Too many items will clutter the area and make it dangerous. It’s better to be safe than sorry, as they say.

Buy other essential items

So, you’ve made sure your gym space is safe for you to use. But, what’s the point in having a home gym if you’ve got no equipment to use? When you set up a CrossFit gym, you need various items at your disposal.

You will need to buy essentials like:

  • An Olympic barbell;
  • Bumper plates;
  • A power rack or pull-up bar; and
  • Jump ropes.

There’s a whole raft of other items you can get. Make sure you think about the ones you’re likely to use the most.

Don’t work out alone

Last, but not least, you should never work out in your gym alone! The thing about commercial gyms is there are spotters and other gym users around. At home, you’ll need to ask a family member to be there with you.

If you live alone, all is not lost! You could invite a friend to train with you. Or you could hire a personal trainer. Whatever you do, don’t do it alone!

Getting Fit With Crossfit: What You Need to Know

So many people want to get fit these days, but they don’t do anything about it. This is usually because they don’t know where to start! One great way to improve your overall fitness and health is with Crossfit. It incorporates everything into its WODs (workout of the days) to ensure that you make strength gains and keep your cardiovascular system healthy. This guide will tell you what you need to know about getting fit with crossfit:

You’ll Build Muscle

Crossfit uses a lot of resistance exercises and weights, which means that you’ll build muscle. If you’re a man, you’ll more than likely get bigger providing you’re eating enough, and you’ll get plenty of definition in all of the right places. Women don’t need to worry about building muscle; it’s the only way to get a nice, lean, defined figure. They think it’ll make them bulk up, but women find it so hard to bulk up. You’d need to be doing a lot of deliberate bulking exercises and eating to get bigger as a woman. If you’re worried about bulking, watch what you eat and try HCG online to see if that can help.

You’ll Develop Stamina and Endurance

As Crossfit is usually an hour long non-stop with plenty of varied workouts, you’ll develop tons of stamina and endurance. This kind of thing is great for getting better at things in your daily life too!

It’s Intense

Don’t expect to have an easy ride at Crossfit. It’s intense. You’ll sweat a lot, and you’ll be pushed to your limits. You can expect to be challenged every time you go, but no workout is ever the same! You’ll be expected to lift your maximum weights and run as hard and as fast as you can.

You’ll Develop New Skills

Crossfit is brilliant if you’d like to develop new skills. There are ways you can make the workouts easier at first, but eventually you’ll be expected to do things properly. When you’ve been going to crossfit for a while, you’ll be able to do proper pushups, pullups, and skipping double unders. Those are just a few of the things you’ll be able to do!

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska -- Airmen, soldiers and civilians participate in a Crossfit fitness program at Hangar 5 on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson after duty hours, Wednesday, July 13, 2011.  (U.S. Air Force/Justin Connaher)

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska — Airmen, soldiers and civilians participate in a Crossfit fitness program at Hangar 5 on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson after duty hours, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. (U.S. Air Force/Justin Connaher)

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It Isn’t for Everybody

Crossfit isn’t for everybody. Some people prefer designing their own workouts or working alone. Sometimes Crossfit requires you to work with others. Some people find it too intense and prefer to build muscle the traditional way of lifting and then taking a minute or two to rest. Crossfit doesn’t incorporate much rest into the workouts!

You May Be Able to Compete

Crossfit is considered a sport, and so there are opportunities to compete for elite Crossfitters. You might find yourself winning some Crossfit games in the future!

It Has Its Own Language

There are some terms in Crossfit that you won’t understand yet. For example, ‘WOD’, like I mentioned earlier. Some exercises and techniques are called something different in Crossfit. You get used to it.

Crossfit can be a brilliant way to get fit – try it and see how you feel!

The CrossFit Games

imagesI didn’t feel as if I could mention one without the other, and seeing as I have uploaded a post about CrossFit, I thought it would be a good idea to post one about the competition side of things – The CrossFit Games

What Are The CrossFit Games?

In the summer of 2007, The CrossFit Games was first established and it has been held every year since.  The basic premise of the games is that they are a venue to determine who the Fittest of the Earth is and that all participants should be ‘ready for anything’.

While there are many different competitions and events out there, none of them can rightly be called a true test of fitness, not in the same way that the CrossFit Games are.

What Do The CrossFit Games Involve?

The CrossFit Games involve a broad range of different functional movements that move large loads over long distances very quickly.  The movements required and performed are the same that feature in CrossFit training sessions, though it should be noted that the games is not to train fitness, but to test it.

How Are The Games Organized?

The CrossFit Games should be seen as not just one event, but 3 steps on the same journey.


The Open is the first step on the CrossFit Games journey and is a worldwide, fully inclusive competition that lasts for 5 weeks and begins in springtime.  Only the top athletes that compete successfully in the Open ca go through to the second step.


The Regionals is a live, 3 day competition which whittles down the competitors further to find the very best of the best who then get to take part in the actual CrossFit Games

The CrossFit Games

At the Games, the thousands of competitors that remain are then whittled down to just 100 of the fittest men and women from around the globe.

The Unknown and Unknowable

One of the key elements that organizers of the Games believe is the best way of testing fitness fairly is the knowable and unknown.  Therefore the challenges set for each CrossFit Games is kept secret and competing athletes are only told a short time before they begin.

Events at the Games have also been known to feature some kind of surprise element, so there may be dusty hill sprints, sand bag carries to other things such as swimming in rough water with the addition of a softball throw.

The Current Champions: Who Could Beat Them?

As of the 2014 Games, the current champions and therefore fittest man and woman in the world are Rich Froning Jr. and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet.

Although the women’s side of the Games has been an open playing field in the last few years, meaning virtually any of the top competitors could take Leblanc-Bazinet’s title from her; with the men’s the same can’t really be said thanks to Froning’s dominance the last few years.  He won 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011 and came 2nd in 2009.



CrossFitCrossFit is something I have got into in a big way recently and I would encourage anyone looking to really challenge themselves in a friendly and unintimidating environment to head to their local CrossFit training session!

What Exactly Is CrossFit?

It could be that you have heard of CrossFit but were not really sure what it involved.  It is not for the faint hearted, but is very rewarding when you get things right.

Essentially it is the core strength and conditioning training program that many different people use from all walks of life from professional and elite athletes to champion martial art competitors, military and tactical operations teams and police cadets in order to get into the right shape.

Although it sounds overwhelming, if you ever attend a CrossFit training session designed for the general public you will see that it is as far away from an elitist type thing as you can get.  The idea is that it is aimed at anyone who wants to push themselves, regardless of their ability and skills.

General Broad and Inclusive

As mentioned the idea is not to cater to one type of person, but to cater to all people.  CrossFit has a universal scalability that nothing else compares with and you are just as likely to find housewives and retirees in a group alongside mountain bike cyclists, cage fighters and marathon runners.

The thought is that the training needs of retirees and Olympic level athletes differ not in terms of kind but by degrees.  This means that the training programs are never changed but just scaled and altered to match the intensity and load an individual participant can handle.

What Does CrossFit Involve?

Movements and Exercises Commonly Used In CrossFit

The focus of CrossFit is constantly varied, functional, high intensity movements and exercises that are inspired by the following:

Cardio – Swimming, Running, Rowing etc.

Body weight exercises – Rope Climbing, Muscle-Up, Handstand Push-Up, Burpee etc.)

Plyometrics – Squat Jump, Box Jumps etc.

Power Lifting – Squat, Dead Lift, Bench Press

Olympic-Style Weightlifting – Snatch, Clean and Jerk etc.

Calisthenics – Knee Bends, Dips, Sit-Ups, Lunges, Pull-Ups, Push-Ups

Various Miscellaneous – Wallball, Kettlebell etc.

Equipment Commonly Used In CrossFit

In order to complete these movements, a variety of apparatus and equipment is used such as:



Resistance Bands

Plyo Boxes

Medicine Balls


Jump Ropes

Gymnastic Rings

Rubberized Dumbbells


Terms and Phrases Commonly Used In CrossFit

When you attend a CrossFit session for the first time you could be forgiven for thinking that you had stepped into a foreign land where everyone is speaking in a different language.  I was exactly the same.  That is why I thought it would be handy to put a list together that featured definitions of the commonly used words and phrases.

AMRAP – As Many Reps (sometimes referred to as rounds) as Possible.

Box – The term box is used to refer to the CrossFit gym.

BP – Bench Press

EMOM – This means Every Minute on the Minute

BS – Self-explanatory really, Back Squat

CLN – Clean

C&J – Clean & Jerk

GPP – Your general physical preparedness, otherwise known as fitness.

GTG – This stands for Grease the Groove, meaning a protocol for doing many sub-maximal sets of a specific exercise or movement throughout the course of the day.

Rep – Another self-explanatory term, but worth explaining.  This refers to one repetition or performance of a particular movement or exercise.

SSP – SSP stands for Specific physical preparedness, also known as your skill training.