Crossfit is everywhere. On TV, in new gym adverts. Even in your local sports store (although we aren’t really sure why yet). But what is it? If like me up until a few months ago, you had no idea what crossfit is and why people do it, then you need to read this piece.
I am going to outline everything I have learned about the new sporting sensation that is crossfit, I will answer any questions you may have about crossfit, and I will even share my favorite crossfit workout program and tips!
Although it may seem hard to get your head around something so crazy, it is worth trying. Crossfit really is a unique, interesting way of staying fit. It makes it easy to exercise and to stay motivated, and allows you to work out and learn new skills alongside friendly people of all fitness levels.
The fittest crossfit participant out there could well be the fittest person in the world (yes, the sport, if I can call it that, is that extreme), but most people who go to crossfit classes or who are members of crossfit gyms are probably no fitter than me or you.
Crossfit really is for everyone. Don’t believe me? Head down to your local crossfit gym and take a look!
Crossfit for beginners: what don’t you need to know!?! Crossfit can be hard to get your head around to begin with, especially if you have a more traditional sporting background. I mean, what sort of sport incorporates heavy weightlifting with gymnastics and sprinting – in the same workout?
The answer (you may have guessed) – crossfit!
Yes, this may sound weird, and yes, you may or may not like the sound of becoming a weightlifter who can run and who is good at gymnastics, but I can tell you one thing – crossfit is fun!
The most common way that I have heard crossfit described is as ‘the sport of fitness’. That is, it’s main goal is to ensure that every single one of its participants is able to reach their peak level of physical fitness and conditioning, and to remain there.
Crossfit athletes subscribe to the philosophy that a person can never be healthy enough nor fit enough. Crossfit aims to develop every single bodily system, and doesn’t isolate any one group of muscles or component of fitness (as other sports can).
Although beginner crossfit workouts can be simple, you will find yourself participating in weird and wonderful activities as you move through the levels. From things like climbing a rope as fast as you can to seeing how many times you can jump over a box, crossfit really has it all.
Okay, to put it simply, crossfit aims to develop your body so that it is capable of being pushed to and past the limits of normal human boundaries.
Sound interesting? Well keep reading!
The ultimate crossfit training guide: why do people do crossfit? Well, sometimes people just want to feel good about themselves, and to do this, they push themselves through torturous workout sessions which often make them throw up and which can leave them feeling sore for days afterwards.
Sound like fun? No, I didn’t think so. Fortunately, this isn’t everything that crossfit is about. Yes, some people do push themselves this hard, and they are the people who eventually get fit and strong enough to compete in things like the crossfit world championships.
However, for the normal person, crossfit is as hard as you want it to be. If you want to push yourself to hell and back, then be my guest. However, if you want to have a relatively challenging, yet somewhat comfortable workout session, then crossfit is perfect.
There are a number of benefits associated with crossfit, including (but by no means limited to!)
Crossfit is great!
However, there is one small problem which takes away from the beauty of crossfit for some of us: It is usually quite expensive. This means that many people can’t afford it, and therefore choose not to join a crossfit gym. If this is the case then don’t stress, because there is a solution!
Free, at home crossfit workouts are possible! Although you may not have the equipment and exercise machinery needed to perform every crossfit exercise, you will find that you can actually do most things.
This is due to the fact that crossfit is largely centered around calisthenic exercises – that is, exercises which use your natural body weight to provide resistance for your muscles to work around. This means that many crossfit routines can be completed by anyone and everyone, no matter where you live or how poor you are.
There are many examples of crossfit routines on the internet, and I have even provided a few of my favorites a little bit further on in the article. Simply choose your exercises, watch a few videos on how they are done, and voila, you now have your own crossfit workout, absolutely free of charge and able to be completed from the comfort of your own living room!
As outlined above, crossfit unfortunately tends to be quite expensive. However, if you join a high-quality gym, then you definitely get what you pay for. Most crossfit gyms come complete with a number of head coaches, assistant coaches, along with simple helpers who are all there to make sure that you get the most out of your workout.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you can afford the cost of crossfit then think about it this way: it is much, much cheaper that getting your own personal trainer, and is definitely cheaper than doing one on one sessions a few times a week with this personal trainer.
If you still aren’t sure then I would recommend visiting a crossfit gym and seeing for yourself what all the hype is about. Most gyms allow you to have one or two tries before you have to sign up, and it would be very wise of you to make the most of this.
To keep it short and simple, yes, crossfit works. It is an easy and effective way to develop your body and to gain a high level of general fitness.
However, it is important to note that crossfit is not the answer if you are trying to train a specific skill (like endurance running) or if you are trying to train for a specific sport. In these cases, you are going to much better off finding a coach who understands the skill or sport you are training for and focusing on exercises which improve this.
Again, crossfit can be expensive. You may find that the cost is worth it, or you may not. As I outlined above, I recommend that you go to a crossfit gym and take part in a couple of workouts before deciding if you are going to join or not – it would be stupid to join without knowing if it suits you.
There are a number of people who are (in my humble opinion) very suited to crossfit. These include:
Fitness fanatics and freaks – The whole aim of crossfit is to push the human body to and beyond its limits. This makes it the perfect sport for fitness fanatics and for people who enjoy a little (or a lot of) pain from time to time. I’m not lying, I have seen people who push themselves so hard to beat their crossfit record that they pass out or spend the next ten minutes vomiting from exhaustion.
Athletes and former athletes – Former athletes who are used to the comradery and competition that comes with professional or semi-professional sports are usually well suited to crossfit.
People who enjoy working out with and around other people – If you enjoy working out in groups or with your friends, then crossfit is for you. Working out with other people can be a great way to increase your motivation levels and to push yourself to get to your next goal – even if it means sacrificing a bit of privacy and making yourself look like a turkey from time to time!
People looking for support or who are new to training – While crossfit at home is one solution, it doesn’t provide the support and community spirit that you will find when you go to a crossfit gym. If you are a little unsure of yourself, you lack a little confidence, and you sometimes find it a bit hard to get motivated, then crossfit is probably for you!
What does the word crossfit mean? And I don’t mean what is crossfit, but I mean what does it mean to be a crossfitter? Crossfit often has profound influences on a person’s life. It can lead to entire lifestyle changes which are often for the better. For example, someone who is a very keen crossfitter may give up alcohol and strive to eat a completely healthy, whole food diet.
Getting into crossfit is as easy as turning up to a crossfit gym and asking to have a go. If they don’t welcome you with open arms, then try another gym. Since crossfit is about comradery and friendship, an unfriendly gym will not be enjoyable!
Don’t be put off by heavy crossfit weights or difficult looking exercises – you won’t be the only beginner in the gym!
Reading the answer to the question above would be a good place to start! Again, don’t be put off by seemingly complicated crossfit movements – get into a gym and have a go!
Generally, each crossfit gym has its own identity and brand name. As you get to know the coaches and trainers in the gym, you will feel yourself becoming a part of this crossfit family – trust me, you will!
When you participate in crossfit workouts, your results are logged. Most crossfit gyms upload these results to the web, where you can compare yourself to others in your gym, in your city, and even to the best in the world. This means that you always have a goal to aim for and that you can easily monitor your progress.
There are new crossfit gyms popping up all over the world. A simple internet search will reveal the ones closest to you, but make sure that you read the crossfit review for each gym before you go to it.
Crossfit gyms are also known as crossfit boxes. This means that a search like ‘crossfit box near me’ will also turn up some good results, especially if you can’t find a good gym with a standard search.
Yes, absolutely! A quick look at the crossfit schedules for the world circuit reveals a huge range of professional and semi-professional competitions. Although most of us probably will never get to that level, it is nice to know that it is possible!
The even more exciting aspect of crossfit, especially if you are a competitive person, is that you can compare your results to that of nearly every other athlete in the world (or at least in your country). Most crossfit gyms have a recording system which involves taking your crossfit results and entering them into an online database. This database lets you monitor your progress and lets you compare your results to that of other crossfitters across the world.
If you attend a real crossfit gym then you need very little equipment other than the standard gym basics (shoes, a water bottle, a sweat towel, and maybe a stopwatch). However, if you want to start doing more crossfit exercises at home then you will need to invest in some more gear.
A few great things to invest in for use in your own home include free weights (medicine balls and kettlebells), a yoga mat, exercise bands, and some form of chin up and dips bar.
While this is not going to be anything like an extensive crossfit exercises list, I will do my best to outline a few standard crossfit moves and to provide an example of a pretty common crossfit workout routine.
To begin with, let’s look at one of my favorite workouts. It is known in the crossfit community by a somewhat weird name – “Cindy on steroids”. Now you are wondering what in the world is with that name. Don’t worry, we will get to crossfit terminology in a minute (and trust me, it is interesting!). Okay, now back to Cindy.
You may see a crossfit workout presented something like this:
‘5 C2B Pull Ups 10 HSPU 16 Pistols Rest 5mins 5 Rounds for time: 12 KB Swing - 32/24kg 12 Box Jump - 30/24’.
For those of us not familiar with crossfit terminology, this means absolutely nothing at all! So, let’s try and decipher the code.
5 C2B pull ups – This basically means that you need to complete five chest to bar pull ups.
10 HSPU – 10 handstand pushups. These can be done leaning against a wall or can even be substituted for ordinary pushups according to your ability.
16 pistols – Pistols are a type of squat which train specific muscles in the lower legs and ankles.
Rest 5 minutes – At last, a command we can understand!
5 rounds for time: 12 KB swing 32/24kg – This means that you need to do 12 kettlebell swings as quickly as you can, five times! The 32/24kg part is the standard weight for men and women – 32kg for men and 24kg for women. However, don’t get too worried about this, because not many people are actually able to use the standard weights.
12 box jump 30/24 – Another relatively self-explanatory one. You are trying to do 12 box jumps as quick as possible. Again, the 30/24 refers to the size of the box for men and women.
Okay, so we have finally worked out what this crossfit workout actually involves. Now, go back and read it again. You are trying to do all of this as quickly as you can – the idea is to get a best time. Not only are you doing it as quickly as possible, but you must maintain proper form and do every movement correctly, or your coach will disqualify the movement.
So, Cindy seems pretty hard right? Don’t be put off by this though, this is actually something of an extreme workout, even for crossfit. It is a special workout designed to test your progress and your ability to push yourself through even the hardest physical boundaries.
Basically, any crossfit workout named after a woman or a hero is a benchmark workout. There is actually a reason behind this way of naming workouts. According to crossfit itself,
“…anything that leaves you flat on your back and incapacitated only to lure you back for more at a later date certainly deserves naming.” (CF Journal – Issue 13, September 2003)
So there you are – choose your favorite girl (by this I mean workout) and see what you can do with it!
Heading down to a new crossfit gym and just giving it a go isn’t always as easy as it sounds. We have developed a list of great tips and tricks which will help to kickstart your crossfit journey:
Try out a few gyms before you join one:
Choosing a crossfit gym is something like choosing a family – a family of like-minded people who are all striving for the same or similar goals as you are. It is therefore extremely important to choose a good crossfit gym where you feel welcomed and where everyone is friendly.
Since most crossfit gyms offer the first session for free, you should probably take advantage of this. Try out a number of gyms in your area before settling on one, and remember even if you do settle on one, but decide that you don’t like it later, then you can actually change gyms pretty easily.
When crossfitting, go at your own pace:
Despite what many people say, crossfit is about enjoying yourself and about enhancing your quality of life. If you only seem to have time for one crossfit session per week, then that is absolutely fine. There is no need to push yourself beyond the point of comfort – doing so will reduce your enjoyment and detract from the benefits of crossfit.
When crossfitting, go at your own pace:
You really want to see fitness and health changes, then you will have to be prepared to make some changes in your life. Whether this means a complete diet overhaul, or whether it simply means getting up an hour earlier so that you have time to go to the gym is completely up to you. Just know that crossfit doesn’t stay in the gym – it is a lifestyle.
The most important thing is to get out there, challenge yourself, and make new friends:
After all, the social aspect of crossfit is the main reason why it has become so popular across the world. So go for it: get out there, enjoy yourself, and discover the joys of the wonderful thing we know as crossfit!