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CrossFit Beginner's Guide: 8 Things to Know Before Starting! | Nerd Fitness

Less beneficial for...

  • Specialists: CrossFit prides itself on not specializing.
  • Sport-specific athletes:  CrossFit won’t improve your specific sport skills unless you are training for those specific sport skills.
  • Solo trainers: CrossFit is group training, which means you won’t have that opportunity to get your stuff done on your own.

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CrossFit Beginner's Guide: 8 Things to Know Before Starting! | Nerd Fitness

CrossFit Beginner's Guide: 8 Things to Know Before Starting! | Nerd Fitness

https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/a-beginners-guide-to-crossfit/

nerdfitness.com

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Key Ideas

CrossFit definition

It's a training philosophy that coaches people of all shapes and sizes to improve their physical well-being and cardiovascular fitness through varied and challenging workouts.

Each day, the workout will test a different part of your functional strength or conditioning, not specializing in one particular thing, but rather with the goal of building a body that’s capable of practically anything and everything.

Scalable based on your skill

Every day there is a particular workout prescribed that is completely scalable based on your skill. For example, if the workout calls for barbell squats with 135 pounds but you can only do squats with the bar (45 pounds), then that’s where you’ll start.

CrossFit is perfect for...

  • Beginners to weight training: If you have never weight trained before, CrossFit is a great place for you to start, provided you have a great coach.
  • People looking for support and community: Every CrossFit gym has a really tight-knit community feel to it.
  • Fitness fanatics: The general protocol is 3 days on, 1 day off, but many CrossFitters end up at the gym more frequently. 
  • Masochists: You’ll often be in situations where you use all your effort to finish a workout and continue to push yourself beyond.
  • Former athletes: You get to compete with people in your class and go online to see how you did against the world’s elite CrossFit athletes.

Less beneficial for...

  • Specialists: CrossFit prides itself on not specializing.
  • Sport-specific athletes:  CrossFit won’t improve your specific sport skills unless you are training for those specific sport skills.
  • Solo trainers: CrossFit is group training, which means you won’t have that opportunity to get your stuff done on your own.

CrossFit can be dangerous

  • You’re often told to complete a number of strength training or endurance exercises as fast as possible. It’s really easy to sacrifice form in exchange for finishing the workout quicker if you don’t have somebody spotting you.
  • It attracts folks who push themselves so hard they actually do bodily harm.
  • A very small portion of CrossFitters can push themselves so hard, their muscle fibers break down and are released into the bloodstream, poisoning the kidneys. The medical condition is called rhabdomyolysis.

CrossFit Classes

The usual structure:

  • Introduction class: Usually there’s a quick overview, then a basic bodyweight movement workout, and then they talk to you about joining.
  • On Ramp/Elements: The purpose of these is to teach you the 9 foundational movements of CrossFit and all about proper form. 
  • Regular classes: It takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Everybody starts at the same time, there are instructors walking around helping out and keeping track.

Four sections:

Most CrossFit gyms will split their classes into 3-4 sections:

  • Dynamic warm-up: Functional movements, stretches, and mobility work that compliment the movements you’ll be doing in the workout that day.
  • Skill/Strength work. 
  • WOD – the workout of the day: you’ll be told to do a certain number of reps of particular exercises as quickly as possible, or you’ll have a set time limit to do as many of a certain exercise as possible.
  • Cool down and stretching.

Find a CrossFit Gym

Breakdown of what you may see from coaches:

  • CrossFit Level 1 – an ANSI-accredited certification. The person attended a weekend-long course and passed the exam.
  • CrossFit Level 2 – It involves far more in-depth training in coaching.
  • Certified CrossFit Level 3 Trainer – Coaches who have passed both the Level 1 & Level 2 certification courses as well as a CrossFit-specific exam.
  • Certified CrossFit Level 4 Coach – The highest certification level available.
  • Specialty Seminars – These are one- to two-day courses on specific topics.
  • Other non-CrossFit certifications.

CrossFit at Home

Every day, CrossFit.com posts the workout of the day (WOD) free of charge to anybody that is interested in doing them.

You can follow along at home or in your office gym, provided you have the right equipment.

CrossFit Benefits

  1. GREAT community aspect. 
  2. Constant coaching and support
  3. If you don’t show up, not only do people notice, but they call you and ask where you’ve been. 
  4. Leveling up. You get to see constant improvement. 
  5. Humbling yet encouraging. You have a sense of accomplishment when you finish a workout faster than last time.
  6. Competition. You’ll push yourself when surrounded by other people cheering you on.
  7. It introduces SO MANY people to weight lifting.
  8. It’s a good outlet for former athletes who like to compete. 
  9. You get to find out what you’re made of. 
  10. It builds great physiques.
  11. It builds good muscular endurance and all-around fitness.

Negatives of CrossFit

  • Not great for specialization.
  • Lack of consistency. You rarely do the same workout twice.
  • Odd programming.
  • Price. CrossFit boxes can be two or three times the monthly cost of a commercial gym.
  • A bad coach can REALLY cause problems.
  • Almost everything is for time or most reps possible.
  • You start to talk a language nobody understands.
  • You can get addicted.
  • Some CrossFitters think CrossFit is the be-all, end-all training solution, and anybody that doesn’t do CrossFit is a wuss.
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    • Box: Crossfit gyms are called "boxes."
    • WOD: Stands for Workout Of the Day. This changes daily and is typically posted on a white board before class or on the Box's website.
    • AMRAP: As many rounds as possible in an allotted time that is given by the coach.
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    A training session

    You can get a training session before starting classes. This will depend on your gym (your box) but some offer a free session to teach the techniques.

    Boxes also let you sign up for a series of beginner-specific classes before you jump in with everybody else.

    The barbells

    Bars come in a variety of weights, from 15 to 45 pounds, and those giant plates are available in sizes going down to 10 pounds. 

    That means the barbell has about the same shape and size no matter how heavy it is.

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    High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

    Any exercise can be a form of HIIT, if it follows a specific regimen where you vary your speeds and intensity when doing it.
    Example:

    • Jogging light...
    HIIT home workout

    HIIT workouts generally only last about 20 minutes, which makes them attractive for busy people (most of us).
    A 20-Min HIIT home workout:

    1. Dynamic Warm-up
    2. Bodyweight Squats
    3. Push-ups
    4. Star Jacks (or other dynamic exercises)
    5. Inverted Row (or other pull exercises)
    6. Plank (or other core exercises).
    7. A stretching to cool down.