Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Inside The Box Book Review

CrossFit: Hard work, pain, and sacrifice propelled by a group dynamic

Inside the Box book cover

Inside the Box: How CrossFit Shredded the Rules, Stripped Down the Gym, and Rebuilt My Body (Boulder, CO: VeloPress, 2012), by T.J. Murphy, is the first book I’ve seen on CrossFit, so it really piqued my interest. CrossFit has been in the back of my mind for a few years, though I’ve never really researched it, as it is seen as somewhat kooky in endurance circles (though not, of course, by all). But, being a middle-aged man with my fair share of creaking muscles, an activity that promotes overall fitness has to be considered.
CrossFit is the sport of fitness, a radical new approach to exercise that is turning the traditional gym workout upside down. Every day at thousands of CrossFit gyms across America, fitness seekers of all shapes and sizes flex their inner athlete by racing to finish fast-paced workouts. Each workout mixes weight lifting and gymnastics into an explosively effective and addictive new way to lose weight and carve out a new physique.
Murphy did not come easily to CrossFit, looking askance at the tattooed, ultrafit examples that we are all exposed to. But knee pain that threatened to cripple him and nothing to lose, he ave it a shot. It turns out he’s not alone, that there are many paths to CrossFit. His book explores every aspect of the CrossFit world, from what it’s like to be an affiliated box (gym), to its focus on movement and mobility, to a case study of one typical CrossFitter, an no, it’s not the type of person you expect. CrossFit’s “Two Oars in the Water,” an emphasis on diet and exercise in tandem has its own chapter, as does the community and sociological aspects of CrossFit (is it a church?).

CrossFit does not exist in a vacuum and its emphasis both on following the rules yet not having a corporate structure make it an unusual case. With Reebok’s entry into this activity, what is the future of CrossFit?

The book's appendix includes visual representations of some of CrossFit's signature moves, so you can try CrossFit at home!

For a Good Time Call Fran 21-15-9

Oh, and by the way, if you’re single, for a good time call Fran: 21-15-9.

If you’re into CrossFit, are thinking about CrossFit, or make fun of CrossFit, read this book. I had a hard time putting it down, reading it almost in a single sitting. Murphy makes a compelling argument that CrossFit is worthy of your attention, warts and all. If I had money, I’d be joining a Box right now.

About the Author: T.J. Murphy is a veteran journalist, endurance athlete, CrossFitter, and former editorial director of Triathlete, Inside Triathlon, and Competitor magazines. He is author of Triathlete Magazine’s Guide to Finishing Your First Triathlon and contributor to Start to Finish: 24 Weeks to an Endurance Triathlon. His writing has also appeared in Outside magazine and Runner’s World. He is a five-time Ironman® finisher and a 2:38 marathoner.

Get info and read more  about the book and CrossFiton the Inside The Box website  and on Facebook. Follow T.J. Murphy on Twitter.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free to review on my blog, courtesy of VeloPress.  I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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  1. Huh, interesting. It's on my radar, but I have a few trainer friends who are fairly anti-crossfit as well as a couple friends who've had bad experiences (pretty significant back injuries). That's been enough to make me the fact that my schedule doesn't really leave room for organized classes.

  2. Well As you know, I've enjoyed my cross-fitting experience lately. Yes, it is expensive but luckily I found a gym that is more reasonably priced (ie not $100 a month). As wth any sport or exercise you can get injured, that's a given. You can do a lot of CF workouts at home with little to no equipment and I've heard of people who set up a "mini box" in their garage. You can get daily workout ideas online and not have to pay the high fare, just find a place to install your own Pullup bar and gymnastics rings :)

  3. I think this would be an interesting read, given that he comes from an endurance background and so many endurance athletes frown at crossfit. We have a new box down the street and I am tempted to give it a go post-marathon. However, we also belong to an amazing gym system that we'll never be leaving, and justifying that much money on fitness???


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