CrossFit Tips For Beginners

Ever since my first CrossFit experience I have been wanting to put together a post for others who may be interested in CrossFit and want to know more (of for those of you who are curious about “those crazy people” lol).

First of all, let me be totally honest with you… I had zero desire to try CrossFit when I first started hearing about it. After all, I was a runner. I didn’t need CrossFit, just the open road and my Nike’s (insert elitest runner voice here). The truth is, I had been running consistently for 2 years and while I saw some improvement, I knew I needed something else. I started getting into weight training a little bit. I kept hearing about CrossFit, but kept brushing it off mostly because I didn’t want to join in on a “fad”

Plus, weren’t all those people who did it crazy obsessed? Didn’t you have to be in great shape already? Didn’t they eat that weird Paleo diet? And if I work out like that won’t I get bulky?

There are a ton of questions,myths, and misconceptions about CrossFit. I’m going to try to address a few of them here, and I’ll also link up to some other posts from some great bloggers about CrossFit.

Aren’t people who CrossFit crazy obsessed? Isn’t it like a cult or something?
Sure, there are some people who are pretty obsessed with it… but it’s just like any other type of workout or hobby. Runners seem “obsessed” with running… crafters are considered “obsessed” with crafting… Everything is going to have those kind of people. Just like with everything, you have to find balance. It is by no means a cult, just a community promoting functional fitness.

Don’t I have to be in shape to start CrossFit?
As far as being in great shape goes, that one is obviously FALSE. You don’t have to be in great shape to start CrossFit… but if you do CrossFit long enough you will probably start getting in great shape! There are super elite CrossFit athletes who compete for a living. There are also runners, swimmers, football players, etc who compete for a living. Everything in CrossFit is scalable. They have “Rx” or prescribed workouts, but if you can’t do those they always have ways for you to modify it to your scale level. And just because you scale a workout to your level doesn’t mean you aren’t working just as hard as someone who might Rx a workout. I scale everything right now, and I can tell you that I still get a killer workout!

Will I get hurt?
Let’s face it, you can get hurt doing anything. Driving, Flying, Running, playing softball. Like any sport there are risks, but in my opinion there are a lot more risks to sitting on your butt doing nothing! You have to learn to listen to your body and find that line between pushing yourself too far and using it as an excuse not to push yourself. It is absolutely imperative that if you’ve never done these kinds of workouts before that you go to a reputable gym with a trustworthy trainer. Learning the basics of lifts like Deadlift, Push Press, Snatch, Power Cleans, etc can be tricky if you don’t have good instruction. Need help finding a local box? Check Here.

What are the classes like?
Again, I have to say all CrossFit Boxes are going to be different since they are independently owned. When I go to CrossFit I plan on being there for about an hour. We start with a warm up, usually a 400m jog or row, then some group warm ups. Then for about 15-20 minutes we usually work on strength or skill. My favorites are when we work on lifting. We practice our deadlifts, push presses, clean and jerks. Then we do the WOD or Work Out of the Day.

 

It is usually either for time (as fast as possible) or they give us a time limit and we do AMRAP, As Many Rounds As Possible. After the WOD we usually do a stretch/mobility or depending on the intensity of the WOD maybe a finisher like planks. Even though the actual WOD is usually 10-20ish minutes, you still get a great workout!

Do I have to eat Paleo?
No! Obviously it is what they recommend, but its not for everyone. (Paleo is a type of eating that basically focuses on what our early ancestors could have hunted or gathered. So basically lean meats, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables). We are eating pretty close to Paleo, but still allow ourselves beans and some dairy. I will say this has worked well with me because of my Hashimoto’s I also have a gluten sensitivity. Avoiding the grains has helped my stomach and digestion quite a bit. I have found so many delicious alternatives to my normal gluten filled foods, like my favorite Paleo Pancakes!

If I lift weights like that won’t I get bulky?
This one is primarily for the ladies. I see so so so many women go to the gym and spend an hour on the treadmill or elliptical and walk out. When you ask them why they don’t go use the weights they typically respond “I don’t want to get all bulky and manly.” I have to admit I was one of the girls who didn’t really use the weights for a long time. Mostly because I was intimidated by them. This one is so not true. You will not bulk up like a body builder by picking up a barbell! From everything I have learned over the past few years, lifting weights is one of the best ways to get trim. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even after you stop working out. Stop with the treadmill and pick up a barbell! One of the reasons I love CrossFit is that it gives me a safe area to learn how to properly use the weights, rather than being intimidated by all the builder guys staring at themselves in the mirror in front of the free weights.

“Learn to Never Quit”

Lastly, let me remind you that CrossFit isn’t for everyone. Some people love it, some people hate it. I can’t argue with the results I’m seeing in my body and in how strong I feel. But please, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Want more info? Check out these great posts

CrossFit Q & A from CarrotsnCake
My First CrossFit Class from FittingItAllIn
Before You Drink the CrossFit Kool-Aid by A Renaissance Woman
CrossFit For Beginners from Rock The Dogs
CrossFit Questions from Undeterrable
The World of CrossFit by TheJourneyTv

Would you try CrossFit? If you have tried it, any tips for beginners?

 

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