So, you have searched online for CrossFit movements, workouts and information on how to start CrossFit as a beginner but you still wonder if it’s really for you. This is common for anyone starting a new style of training so let’s start with the basics, break down the anatomy of CrossFit and see how this sport can change your life.
Finding the right place to do CrossFit is the first piece of the puzzle. The proper environment is the best way to learn the sport and make new friends. If you’re looking for a gym, you’ll want to find a box (the term used to describe a CrossFit gym) that is welcoming, supportive, and has equipment to carry you throughout your journey. It’s also very important to find one that hires coaches that have passed the CrossFit Trainer Certification (Level 1, Level 2, etc.). Coaches can also be certified in specialized disciplines such as kettlebell, weightlifting, gymnastics, and mobility which provide added value to the members.
A good gym to target is one that offers a Foundations Program where a trainer teaches you the fundamental movements of CrossFit. The coaches will continue to work with you on improving your form whether it’s in the group class setting or one-on-one with personal training.
Now that you’ve learned the foundations of CrossFit, let’s get you ready for your first class. Some beginner tips to keep in mind include:
- Get plenty of hydration the day before class.
- Show up early in case you need to sign waivers or check-in on the tablet.
- Wear appropriate workout clothing (breathable and lightweight). It’s also a good idea for a beginner to invest in a good pair of cross training shoes.
- Bring water and maybe a sweat towel.
Each day your CrossFit affiliate will post a different WOD, which means workout of the day. Some may include videos, warm-up suggestions and possibly coaching notes. This is your opportunity to review and mentally prepare for the workout. There are some popular CrossFit workouts called benchmarks (or Hero) WODs that a gym might post from time to time. They are generally considered a workout standard across CrossFit allowing you to compare your progress over time. A simple internet search will yield information on these. Now that we’ve piqued your interest and you’re planning your strategy, let’s take it a step further.
You’re at the gym for your first class. The coach will take everyone through a warm-up, focusing on increasing your heart rate and preparing the body parts being targeted in that workout. They will demonstrate each movement and ensure that you are performing the movements safely. Don’t worry, there are plenty of scaling options for every level of fitness. If you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask the coach.
Your journey is just getting started so let’s focus on what will continue to make you successful. As a beginner it is important to factor in rest days. Yes, I said it. Rest is an integral part of your fitness journey. Ideally, you’ll want to train 3-4 days per week with rest days built in between. This will give your body the recovery needed.
No matter how many days you train though, a healthy body is truly made in the kitchen. Nutrition support from your CrossFit box will give you the best opportunity for success because they are intimately familiar with the sport. If applied correctly, you could start to see results in the first 2-4 weeks. A proper nutrition program should help you get better at CrossFit by seeing results that include extra energy, better sleep, endurance, muscle development, changes in body composition and overall health benefits.
Even with the great coaching, support, community and equipment that a CrossFit gym has … there are times that training at a facility may not be an option for you. In that case, there are online programs that offer CrossFit workouts to do at home on your own. You would need a barbell and plates of different weights (dumbbells and/or a kettlebell could be used instead), a jump rope, maybe a pull-up bar and a chair or plywood box to step up on.
CrossFit.com provides WODs, instructional videos and a list of certified trainers to help get you started.
So, the choice is yours! Are you ready? The fact that you’re here reading this means you’re interested in changing your life and that’s awesome! Just take a deep breath and give CrossFit a try. You won’t regret it. Let’s go in 3, 2, 1…