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A Beginner’s Guide to Crossfit

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CrossFit offers a unique fitness experience, blending high-intensity workouts with a supportive community. Before diving into this popular program, it’s essential for beginners to equip themselves with the knowledge necessary to ensure a safe and successful start. Read on to learn more about CrossFit and how newcomers can make the most of their journey. 

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a results-oriented fitness program focusing on lifestyle changes through training. It features constantly varied, high-intensity, and functional movements aimed at improving overall fitness and health. Founded over 20 years ago in a garage gym in Santa Cruz, California, CrossFit has since grown into one of the world’s most popular training programs, known for helping its members excel in various physical activities both inside and outside the gym.

CrossFit stands out due to its unique approach, which blends elements from weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardio. The program is built on three pillars: variance, functionality, and intensity.

  • Variance: This involves regularly changing workout routines and exercises to provide a broad range of physical challenges, promoting continual growth and adaptation.
  • Functionality: CrossFit focuses on exercises that mimic real-life activities, building strength, flexibility, endurance, and coordination to help members navigate daily tasks more effectively.
  • Intensity: This refers to the level of effort exerted during workouts. While it may sound intimidating, intensity is about working hard to achieve tangible results.

What Does a CrossFit Class Look Like?

A typical CrossFit class is a one-hour group session led by a coach. The session begins with a whiteboard brief, where the coach outlines the workout flow, demonstrates movements, and provides timing examples. Next, the coach discusses the goals of the workout and offers scaling options to accommodate different skill levels.

The physical activities start with a general warm-up to get members moving and introduce movement patterns, followed by a specific warm-up tailored to the workout. The main focus of the session is the workout itself, where participants engage in the exercises outlined. The session concludes with a cool-down, incorporating stretching and mobility exercises to reduce muscle soreness.

CrossFit is designed to meet members at their current fitness levels and abilities. Coaches tailor the workout of the day to ensure all members can achieve the intended goals. This is done through a robust warm-up that allows members to properly prepare and practice the movements they will perform during the workout. The coach adjusts the loading, reps, and time of the workout based on each member’s needs, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility.

Starting Your CrossFit Journey

Beginning your fitness journey can feel overwhelming, but with the right support, it becomes a powerful step toward a healthier lifestyle. According to Austin Malleolo, senior director of strategy and operations of affiliates at CrossFit, the hardest part is walking through the front door of the gym. Once there, you will be taken care of.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Research CrossFit Locations: Find a CrossFit affiliate near you and set up an introductory session.
  • Learn the Fundamentals: Many CrossFit facilities offer programs designed to teach newcomers the fundamental movements in a supportive environment.
  • Embrace the Process: The program can be challenging, but it should also be enjoyable. Celebrate your achievements and cherish the friendships made within the CrossFit community.

Dr. Michael J. Joyner, an expert on human performance and exercise at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, emphasizes the importance of finding protected time for exercise. Many habitual exercisers prefer working out first thing in the morning to integrate exercise seamlessly into their daily schedule.

CrossFit offers a transformative fitness experience that combines high-intensity workouts with a supportive community. By understanding the principles of CrossFit and starting with the right approach, beginners can safely and effectively embark on their fitness journey. Embrace the challenges, celebrate your progress, and enjoy the camaraderie within the CrossFit community as you work towards your fitness goals.

Do you have any experience with CrossFit? What tips do you have for beginners?

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