Fascination CrossFit – one of the fittest guys in Switzerland talks us through it
Jonas Müller, fittest man in Switzerland from 2015 to 2017, has taken part in the «Cross-Fit Regionals» four times and in the «CrossFit Games» once. I met him for an interview and found out what’s so great about CrossFit and why the sport doubles as a dating agency.
For everyone who has no clue about fitness, what is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a sport that combines various elements of endurance sports (racing, rowing, swimming, biking), Olympic weightlifting (snatch, clean&jerk), powerlifting (bending, cross-lifting, bench presses) and apparatus/artistic gymnastics (rings, horizontal bar, handstand). The training is made up of constantly varied functional movements that are executed at high intensity.
Why is CrossFit so popular?
We’re experiencing a global fitness boom and CrossFit is special because it allows people of all levels to train side by side in so-called «boxes». All exercises can be adjusted to suit your personal strength and goal. This turns CrossFit into a training and a social event, which is a rare combination nowadays.
In addition, «the fittest on earth» is awarded to a man, woman and team each year at the CrossFit Games. Anyone who wins this award trains on a professional level and belongs to the world’s elite. These athletes are living proof that CrossFit training is effective – some even participate in European championships, world championships or the Olympic Games.
What helps you keep up such a tough training regime?
Without questions: the group dynamics. It helps everyone to boost their performance and achieve things most people don’t even know they’re capable of. But if you’re training on a competitive level like I do, all you can do is switch off your head and complete the training session to your best ability.
Which one is your favourite exercise?
I like all exercises, even those that are hard for me due to my size. «Burpees» are my favourite – they’re highly effective and require nothing other than your own body weight.
Can anyone do CrossFit or is a certain level of fitness required?
Anyone can start doing CrossFit. What's most important is that the responsible coach gets the intensity right for the participants and doesn't expect too much from them. If CrossFit is well instructed, it's no more demanding than other training methods.
Is CrossFit a daily workout or do you put in resting days?
If CrossFit is a done as a hobby, the same rules apply as for any other sport: The human body can only process the training stimuli if it gets some rest. For us top athletes, this rule is even more important. It can be better to train less, as there's a constant risk of over-training.
What’s the best diet for CrossFit training?
Before intense training, it's best not to eat greasy food, but something that's easy to digest such as fruit or cereal bars. After training, it's important to eat properly, for example chicken and rice or anything that provides you with a lot of protein and carbohydrates.
What’s your advice for beginners?
Don't overdo it, no one is born a master. Don't start off with too much weight. If you're a beginner, it's most important that you get the movement sequences 100% right and execute all exercises properly. Listen to your coach and pay attention to the signs of your body. Also, be persistent. You're guaranteed to experience long-term training success, but you'll need to be patient.
What about the risk of injury?
I've been doing CrossFit for seven years and before that, I played football for ten years at FC Zurich. I've never been injured. I've always listened to my body, warmed up well and taken care of myself. The risk of injury is no higher in CrossFit than in other sports.
What's the goal of Crossfit? Gaining muscles or losing weight? Or both? Do people have individual goals?
The goal is to get fitter and improve your general well-being. Aesthetic reasons are of minor importance. Competitive athletes are all about continuously improving their performance and qualifying for international competitions.
Is CrossFit a dating platform? My impression is that many people get to know each other at the gym and don't go there to work out, but to meet someone.
Just as with any other community, many people meet at CrossFit trainings. Some end up friends, some end up partners. Motivating each other is an important part of CrossFit, but it doesn't matter if you're training with a man or a woman.
Jonas Müller is a professional CrossFit athlete and has won numerous prizes, as for example this year's «Switzerland’s Fittest» contest. If you want to get as fit as Jonas (or at least try to), check out his web page. He also offers personal training.
Kurzhantelset (1x, 3 - 15 kg)
Kurzhanteln (2x, 0.50 kg)
Kettlebell (8 kg, 1x)
CrossFit Knieschoner (On both sides, XL)
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