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Getting started with CrossFit: the beginner's guide


A CrossFit coach on the whiteboard, explaining the day's training to members.

SolStock / Getty Images

CrossFit & # 39; s cult-like supporter can sometimes feel a bit, um, weird. It is strange that people are so in love with something that most people avoid at all costs – exercise. Especially intense, usually painful exercises. But once you're on the inside, like yours really, you understand why people spend their afternoons with sandbags on their shoulders or burpees for a mile for pleasure.

Whether you have a fitness experience under your belt or you are a beginner to train, CrossFit can undoubtedly be intimidating. That is why we have compiled this guide to starting CrossFit, with everything you need to know about choosing the right gym, what to look out for in a coach, and how to make programming work for you.

Read more: The activity tracker that CrossFitters love

1. Read more about the basics

Before you start CrossFit, it is useful to study the lingo. If you are new to CrossFit, the terms and abbreviations may seem like a completely different language – when I first started CrossFit in 2013, I was confused for weeks (which is perfectly normal, because it takes time to remember everything) .

Here are a few common terms that you will probably see and hear the first time you set foot in a CrossFit gym:

  • WOD: Workout of the Day.
  • AMRAP: As Many Rounds (or repeats) possible. Used when the training is a circuit and you are expected to do as many laps as you can within the given time limit.
  • EMOM: Every minute on the minute. Used for interval style training.
  • Box: Another term for gym. When people say, "I'll see you at the box," they mean the CrossFit gym.
  • GPP: General physical preparedness, or use the term CrossFitters for overall fitness.
  • Metcon: An abbreviation for & # 39; metabolic conditioning & # 39 ;, a type of training that improves endurance.
  • The whiteboard: Where CrossFit gyms write the WOD and the scores of athletes.

You may also find it useful to read about the methodology behind CrossFit and why CrossFitters do the types of workouts they do. You can find a huge library of information, as well as useful video tutorials about commonly used CrossFit movements, on the CrossFit website.

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These are some of the basic CrossFit movements that you learn while programming your new gym.

Screenshot of CrossFit.com

2. Don't let the stereotypes stop you from trying

Many people feel intimidated by CrossFit because they've only seen CrossFit Games athletes on ESPN who threw 300 pounds over their heads and turned huge tires. They have not seen the grandmothers & grandfathers, mothers and future mothers, students and young professionals who also do CrossFit.

"Most of our members are just everyday people who value their condition," tells Davin Arkangel, head of CrossFit coach and owner at CrossFit Camarillo, to CNET. "We have members of all ages, all professions, all backgrounds, and they have only one thing in common: they know they need physical exercise to stay healthy."

The majority of people who do CrossFit don't look or perform like athletes. Those athletes are the elite and it took years of training four to six hours a day to reach that level. The rest of the CrossFit world consists of your average fitness fanatic who trains for an hour and then continues the rest of the day.

If you've researched CrossFit before, you've probably seen something like the video above – impressive, but not at all what you would expect from the average CrossFit gym.

3. Visit a few CrossFit gyms in your area

Do not rely solely on the first CrossFit gym that you visit, even if it is closest to your home or work. Try a few in your area and look for some key elements during your search for the right CrossFit gym:

  • Quality of coaching: Arkangel tells CNET that this is the most important factor of any CrossFit gym. Your coach must give you attention, actively correct your form, answer questions and offer changes in movements when you need them.
  • Safety: "The highest priority of your coach must always be safety," says Arkangel. Your coach can tell you to fall off your barbell if they find it too heavy for you and your technique hurts. Don't see this as an insult; consider it positive that your coach is concerned about your health and life span.
  • Culture: Everyone wants something different from a CrossFit gym – looking for a culture that suits you well. If you are not competitive and just want good training, you may not be able to enjoy a gym with a high percentage of advanced, competitive athletes. Likewise, if you are competitive, you may not feel at home in a class full of seniors who are just there to stay functional.
  • Schedule: Of course you want to find a CrossFit gym with a schedule with lessons you can regularly attend . Most CrossFit gyms post their schedules online.
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Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Other factors, such as the cleanliness of the installation and the condition of the equipment, also matter, but not so much – most CrossFitters would tell you that they would rather train in a dusty garage with great people than train at the radiant gym with an uninviting culture.

As Arkangel puts it: "A CrossFit gym is not the place to look for shiny objects." It is the place to find an inviting, supportive community and great coaching.

Use the CrossFit partner locator to find an official CrossFit box in your area, or simply search for "CrossFit [your city]".

4. Perform a first fitness review

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A fitness assessment helps your coach to understand for which exercises you are ready and with which you need more help.

SolStock / Getty Images

Before you start CrossFit lessons, you must make a fitness assessment with a CrossFit coach. Many CrossFit workouts include movements that require a large range of motion, ballistic or explosive movement patterns, and body postures that may be new to you. Your coach wants to see how you squat, push deadlift and above your head, and want to get an idea of ​​where your cardiovascular endurance is located.

This information helps your coach help you. This allows them to adjust workouts for you when needed and to keep a close eye on them when you practice movements that you struggle with. The first fitness review also helps you decide if CrossFit is the right fitness program for you and gives you the chance to talk to the coach about the community and culture at the gym.

5. Register for a trial

Most CrossFit gyms offer a few free lessons, a whole free week, or a one-month membership for a reduced price.

"Make the most of your free lessons," says Arkangel. "That's how you get to know a gym, the members and the coaches." Your free trial version or discount is your chance to test a gym and determine if this is the right gym for you.

To that end: "Don't let a bad experience in a gym completely ruin it for you," says Arkangel. "Not every gym has the same culture. They won't all fit well, but don't be fooled by trying other boxes."

During your process, pay attention to things that will make or break the experience for you. As mentioned above, pay close attention to the quality of coaching, culture and safety. ]] gettyimages-960889568 “/>

A good CrossFit gym is a gym in which you feel comfortable and safe.

Getty Images

6. Take it easy

If CrossFit is new to you, it is best to combat the temptation to increase the intensity . People who do CrossFit are largely competitive in nature. It is part of the reason why they are there: the competitive advantage of an intense group class helps them to dig deep and push their bodies to the limit.

If you are even competitive, you may have the urge to keep up with old boxers. Fight the urge, because as a beginner in any fitness regime too much can result in injuries – or at least intense pain that keeps you out of the gym for days.

"The most important thing is to make sure you understand the stimulus of the training," says Arkangel. "Your gym isn't going to program five sprint exercises in a row, and that's not for nothing, so you shouldn't sprint through your training every day." If so, you probably miss the point of training and put unnecessary stress on your body.

Read more: How do you know that you need a rest day (and when you need to continue)

Part of taking it easy is to use adjustments for heavy movements, such as the above pull-up progressions.

7. Customize your experience

You don't have to do every CrossFit workout because it is on the whiteboard. The entire experience is fully customizable as you can scale every CrossFit workout to reach your current fitness options and support your goals, as well as to take into account injuries or pain.

If you are injured, tell your coach and ask for an adjustment. You may need to lower the weight or change the movement completely. Also ask for adjustments if you are pregnant or have a condition that excludes you from certain movements.

However, you do not have to reserve changes for injury: you can make changes even if you are simply tired or very painful. Enduring pain and fatigue doesn't always pay off, so listen to your body when it tells you to relax.

And if you have specific goals, you can also adjust the daily exercises for this. I often adjust CrossFit training during a half-marathon training cycle because I want my training to support my goal of improving endurance and getting faster. If the training of the day requires a maximum squat of one rep, I might do three sets of 10 squats instead, because that better supports my current goal.

Read more: Training recovery: why it is so important

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All CrossFit gyms offer "scaled" (CrossFit word for easier) training sessions so that members of all fitness levels can train in good training and stay safe.

Jakob Helbig / Getty Images

8. Choose the right equipment and shoes

You will soon learn that you need a specific type of shoes for CrossFit workouts. Crosstrainers must be versatile and durable – they must support multiple movement patterns and box jumps, burpees, running, weightlifting and, when you reach that point, climb. So a good pair of cross training shoes should be your first CrossFit gear investment.

Next, you must have sweat-wicking training clothing that stays put . The last thing you want is to mold your shorts every time you come out of a squat. And you sweat like no other in a CrossFit gym without air conditioning on a hot day, so make sure you know how to properly wash activewear and the lifespan of your valuable gym clothing.

Finally, it may be worthwhile to invest in some compression devices for potential problem areas. If you have bad knees, wearing knee socks during squats and lunges can help with stabilization. You can find compression covers for almost every body part, including calves, arms, elbows and even your core. Wristbands, such as those from Rogue Fitness, work well for overhead movements.

Read more: The 7 best fitness subscription boxes in 2020 for every training style

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<h2>  9. Register your progress </h2>
<p>  Much of the excitement in CrossFit comes from making progress in fitness. You can log what's important to you, but you should definitely keep a few important statistics, including: </p>
<li>  Your one-rep max for the major lifts: Squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, clean and jerk, snatch and overhead squat </li>
<li>  Your mileage and 400 meters running time </li>
<li>  How many pull-ups you can do </li>
<li>  How many push-ups you can do </li>
<p>  It's also nice to keep track of when you get your "scoops". In CrossFit, a handful of movements are more desirable than the rest and justify celebration when achieved. These are pull-ups, toes to bar, muscle-ups, handstand push-ups and rope climbing – keep track so that you can see later how far you have come. </p>
<p>  You can use pen and paper to log your performance, but you can also use apps such as Beyond the Whiteboard, WodLog, WODbook or myWOD. Your new gym can use Wodify and offer it to members for free, so check with your coach. </p><div><script async src=

Read more: How to make a training routine that you will actually adhere to

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care professional for any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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