There is a common misconception that you need to be in top physical shape before attempting a CrossFit workout. However, this could not be further from the truth. While many CrossFitters possess an impressive physique, having a ripped body is not a prerequisite for CrossFit. Individuals of all fitness levels can take a CrossFit class by scaling workouts. This includes workouts with an Rx (prescribed weight). Instead of forgoing the workout because the Rx is too high or the exercises are too complicated, you can reduce the weight or scale the movement to meet your current fitness level.
At its core, CrossFit is comprised of functional movements that translate into everyday life. For example, lifting, running, and squatting can allow you to pick up heavy boxes while shopping, run to catch your bus or squat down while holding your child. Everybody needs to be able to perform basic movements such as the ones outlined above. CrossFit can allow you to do so at a much greater athletic level. In short, if you can move, you can do CrossFit.
Making CrossFit Accessible to Everyone
Joining a CrossFit gym or taking a class does not mean jumping into complex exercises right away. For every challenging movement, there is an easier alternative for beginners. Most coaches will start beginners off learning the basics. Once you master the fundamental movements, you can increase intensity by adding weight or moving onto a more challenging version of the exercise.
For example, the Fran WOD (workout of the day) requires individuals to perform thrusters prescribed at 95 pounds as well as pull-ups. The workout is three rounds starting with 21 reps of each exercise, then 15 reps, and ends with 9 reps. However, a newcomer may not be able to perform thrusters at that weight or be able to do pull-ups. Instead of writing off this workout, newbies can perform thrusters using the bar without additional weights; this is around 45 pounds. This person could also perform jumping pull-ups or band-assisted pull-ups.
What Beginners Need to Know Before Getting Started
While you can jump right into a CrossFit WOD, it is best to take a few steps first. Below are some elements newcomers should address before signing up for CrossFit.
Establish Your “Why”
Why do you need or want to lose weight? Why do you want to get stronger? How will it make you feel? Will it affect your family? What are the consequences of not losing weight? Having a goal is great but truly having a reason to reach that goal will get you there faster and keep you motivated. Some common goals include weight loss, making new friends with common interests, or increasing strength and muscle mass. Establishing clear intentions will allow you to make the most of your CrossFit experience. At CrossFit One Life, we sit down with every new person that is interested in our gym and discuss their previous training experience, goals, and any injuries or limitations that they may have. From here, we come up with a customized plan that works for them.
Keep Track of Your Workouts
Tracking your workouts is essential to improving your physical fitness. If you neglect to write down what weights you used or how long it took you to complete a WOD, you will never be able to gauge your improvement. While newbies may feel embarrassed if it takes them longer than the veteran CrossFitters to complete a workout, it is vital to write that information down. Tracking your progress can boost your confidence as you watch your time to completion shrink and your strength increase.
Technique First; Weight Second
Watching fellow CrossFitters perform complex exercises with ease may make you feel inclined to try out those movements yourself. However, without learning the proper form, you are asking for an injury. All newcomers should master the basic movements before moving onto exercises that are more complex or increasing their weight. For example, if you do not learn the right form for squatting, you can give yourself a serious injury when you add weight to the exercise. Any CrossFit gym worth its salt will put you through a few beginners sessions before having you join a group. In fact, there is hard evidence stating that we reduce the risk of injury at a rate of more than 10% if we start everyone off with a prep course. At CrossFit One Life, we require everyone to start with at least four 1-on-1 private coaching sessions before joining the group.
Do Not Neglect Mobility and Flexibility
Many WODs include an active movement warm-up to improve mobility and flexibility. Attempting to perform WODs with tight or stiff muscles will yield poor results and can cause injuries. For example, an individual will not perform squats as well if their hip flexors are tight. They may attempt to compensate for this inflexibility, which can lead to compromised form. Neglecting proper squat technique can result in knee, hip, and back injuries. Focusing on mobility and flexibility before a WOD not only improves your workout performance, it helps you avoid injury as well.
How Can I Get Started?
At CrossFit One Life, we offer everyone a FREE No Sweat Intro. This is a twenty-minute session to tour our facilities, observe a class, and sit down with a coach to discuss your goals. We can also discuss any concerns you may have related to your current fitness level, which classes would be the best fit for you and more. We offer several programs to meet any individual’s needs. Click here to schedule your No Sweat Intro today.