By Myles Worthington Men's Fitness
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past five years, you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with CrossFit. What might not be clear is how the program differs from the gym workouts you’re already doing. Well, that’s easy. First off, CrossFit is a community of athletes. These athletes vary in terms of age, sex, and fitness level, but they share a common goal: getting fitter, faster, and stronger—and ok, looking better never hurt anybody either. Next, CrossFit training focuses on functional movements that help you perform everyday activities, and its athletes hold one another accountable for increasing speed and weight to consistently make the moves more challenging as fitness levels improve.
Itching to try something new, but still not sure if CrossFit is the best training program for you? We’ve answered some of the most common questions that beginners ask before joining a box.
How do I start CrossFit?
Once you’re equipped with the basics—an open mind and willingness to put in the work—look for a box that offers the first session free of charge, so you can give CrossFit a try without full-on commitment. In an intro session, new athletes are introduced to CrossFit’s most basic movements, lifts, and workout of the day (WOD) formats so that they have a general understanding of what’s to come when they join.
If you decide CrossFit’s for you, your next step will be to sign up for a beginners class, usually labeled “fundamentals,” “elements,” or “on-ramping.” In these classes, you’ll learn the proper technique for performing key CrossFit moves such as burpees, handstands, box jumps, pull ups, and push ups. Then you’ll move on to Olympic lift technique, learning proper form for moves like squats, deadlifts, presses, and clean and jerks. As you advance in your training, you’ll work at improving these movements (and adding on others), but these basics will be the building blocks of all future WODs.
How fit should I be before I begin?
“The greatest thing about CrossFit is that it’s for everybody,” says Nate Forster, CrossFit coach and competitor, and owner of Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave and Reebok CrossFit Miami Beach. “CrossFit is supposed to get you in shape—you don’t have to get in shape to start CrossFit. All WODs are scaled to a level that you can do, and you work to go heavier, faster, and longer. We start at your level and go up. The biggest step is walking in, and once you do, you’ll be hooked.”
I have a hectic work schedule. Is CrossFit a huge time commitment?
No. An hour a day is all you need to squeeze in a CrossFit session. A 60-minute class typically begins with a stretching/warm-up portion, moves on to a strength/lifting segment, and closes out with a conditioning WOD.
How much money is CrossFit going to cost me?
On average, a membership will run about $200 a month. That may seem like a lot at first, but many athletes choose to cancel their gym memberships when they commit to CrossFit. Plus, most boxes offer deals when you sign up for multiple months at a time or enroll with a spouse or family member, so look into all available discounts before forking over your first payment.
What kind of results can I expect?
Increased strength, improved cardiovascular stamina, and greater flexibility are some of the physical results that you can expect after starting CrossFit. But beyond that, you’ll likely feel healthier and more confident in everything you do. When you routinely take time to put your body through new challenges, you might be surprised by how that practice helps you out with the non-physical hurdles you face throughout the day.