By Matt Evans published
This 14-year-old dedicates her life to CrossFit. Brooklynn Sittner has big dreams. She’s a CrossFit fanatic, who began the sport aged seven. She has now been training for half her life and hopes to one day compete professionally at the games. Her impressive stats include bench pressing 125lbs and a deadlift weight of 235lb.
Last year Brooklynn became the national champion for Olympic weightlifting in her age group, an achievement that took hours of dedication, and stepping outside of normal teenage existence.
She explained how her schedule differs from ordinary teens: “I travel all over the world to compete. I'm always at the gym. Some people would think I don't have any fun. But for me, that is fun.”
Watch Brooklynn's story here:
Outside of training at her dad’s gym, Brooklynn has a nutritional coach, she has only ever tried cotton candy once and stays away from soda. She fits in homeschooling in the morning and spends the rest of her day at the gym. “I train six days a week, I get to the gym about noon, I leave anywhere from seven to eight," she said.
Brooklynn trains with her father Cory, who is also her coach. Despite the pressure of their relentless workout schedule, he isn’t concerned about creating a family rift. He said it had “positively impacted our father-daughter relationship, it allows us to be together every day and challenge each other.” Brooklynn has recently challenged her competitive dad to an intense CrossFit workout, but who will win? Find the answer in the video above.
Why do Crossfit?
CrossFit is a branded company and style of exercise, that is essentially "gym: the sport". It teaches people the basics of exercises like deadlifting, bench press, pull-ups, rope climbs, push-ups and more, and formats these exercises into a competitive challenge.
Its participants often love telling everyone how good CrossFit is, which has created a real cult following around the format. These exercises can be performed in the gym or even at home, using kit like the best adjustable dumbbells and best rowing machine.
As you can imagine, the benefits are numerous. One review of studies found CrossFit participation improves body composition (reducing fat and increasing muscle) in both men and women. This is great news for people looking to slim down and tone up, as CrossFit incorporates several of the best exercises for weight loss. It also improves aerobic fitness, measured by the participant's VO2 Max.
CrossFit detractors do sometimes say the sport is unsafe, because weighted exercise shouldn't be performed for time, leading to poor form. However, this seems to be unfounded: the same review of studies found "injury rates among CrossFit participants were comparable to rates for other recreational or professional athletes", so it doesn't seem any more dangerous than any other recreational active sports. It doesn't matter whether you're 14 or 40: CrossFit can help you keep fit, build muscle, lose weight and stay active.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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