Crossfit Q & A: Dr. Matt Pogodzinski

June 19, 2012

Crossfit gyms seem to be popping up all over the place, and maybe you’ve heard of the killer new workout craze sweeping through cities everywhere. I talked with Dr. Matt Pogodzinski, Crossfit fanatic and “Crossfight Against Cancer” organizer to see what all the fuss is about. Matt is working with two gyms in Evanston, Ill. to host a Crossfit charity event next weekend to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Q: To someone who is not familiar with Crossfit, what is it?
A: Crossfit is a high intensity core strength and conditioning program. It is constantly varied and focuses on the nine fundamental areas of athletics and fitness. Typical workouts include a skill of some sort (walking on hands, weight lifting techniques, rope climbs, etc.); a strength component (lifting weights, pull ups, etc.); and a high intensity finish known as a “met-con” which puts together a series of movements. This portion is timed and competitive.

E-Town Crossfit Gym in Evanston. Photo

Q: What is a “WOD” and what are some example components?  
A: Each WOD (workout of the day) is different. It involves all three components above but is usually named for the “met-con” at the end. Today, our “met-con” was:

-100 double-unders (jump rope with 2 passes per jump)
-50 pushups
-50 double-unders
-25 ring dips (lowering your entire body while holding yourself in gymnastics rings and pushing your body weight up with your arms/chest).

Today’s “met-con” was timed (I did it in 6:42). If you cannot do one of the movements (many people, especially newcomers, cannot) there are substitute movements, but the goal is to try to strengthen and improve with time.

Q: How and when did you first start doing Crossfit?  
A: A little over 2 years ago. I heard about it in the military and fell in love immediately.

Q: What muscles does Crossfit work and what are the health benefits?  
A: Absolutely every muscle is worked at different times. Besides the actual workouts and getting in great shape, most people practice a very healthy “Paleolithic diet” which improves performance, loses excess body fat and dramatically improves chronic health conditions (diabetes, hypertension, etc).

Q: What do you like best about Crossfit?  
A: The community and the constantly varied movements. You can never maximize your potential and you cannot possibly get bored.

Q: Any advice for a first timer?

Q: How did you get the idea for a Crossfit charity event, and what made you decide to donate to the Prevent Cancer Foundation?  
A: My coach said “I would do that for charity,” and I thought this would be a great group of people to see what they would come up with. This could be very interesting to watch for bystanders, and allows members be creative while challenging themselves at every level.


Matt, Crossfit E-Town and Crossfit Shoreside in Evanston will be hosting a one-day event that will feature members performing a unique workout of the day (WOD). Awards will be given for the top three fundraisers, the most original WODs and the most difficult WODs based on participant’s fitness level.

Those not located in the Evanston are can also participate online! Register as an individual or form a team and post your own awesome WOD.

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