CrossFit has somewhat of a mixed reputation in the fitness world. Some are impressed by it, while others think of it more as an unnecessary hype. If you listen to any of those people, you will probably hear many reasons why you should, or shouldn’t start doing it. If you’ve decided to give it a go, there are a few things you should know.
Boxes Aren’t Gyms
CrossFit gyms are popularly referred to as boxes. There is a good reason for it. Unlike gyms, there are no machines, TVs, or mirrors here. There are only concrete walls, barbells, some kettlebells, a whiteboard, sweat, and tears. In a way, they look like boxes, plain and simple.
If you are thinking about starting CrossFit, you should look for a good box first. Here are some things you need to be on the lookout for:
This really goes without saying. The box should be near you, or on your way to work/school. No matter how motivated you are, there will be those days you just don’t feel like working out, and if it takes you some time to get to your box, you will probably skip it. I can say, that what really got me to not skip workouts when I started, is that my gym was 10 minutes from my house by foot.
You really want to look into this. A good program is well structured and varied. What does this mean? It means that a coach knows how to make fun and varied workout programs, so that you hit different muscles every day, and have fun. No one wants to do burpees all day, every day.
Check if the box offers beginner programs as well. Getting into a regular class as a beginner can be dangerous. You are more likely to get injured and demotivated.
The coach is probably the most important aspect of any box. A good coach will get you motivated, make sure you are doing everything properly and will answer any questions and concerns you might have.
Learn the Lingo
Now that you’ve found the best box for you, it is time to do some homework. Start by learning the CrossFit lingo…
BOX is a gym.
AMRAP means as many reps as possible. These are timed workouts, usually 20 to 30 minutes, where you do as much as you can, taking little to no breaks.
WOD is the workout of the day. It is a workout that the coach makes for everyone to do on that day.
METCON means metabolic conditioning. These workouts focus on conditioning, stamina, and endurance.
GIRLS – refers to many workouts named after women. Why? Because, as storms are named after women, Glassman said, he felt that because these workouts are so physically demanding, they leave you feeling as though a storm has hit you.
EXERCISES – get used to these names: burpees, snatch, clean and jerk, box jump, wall ball, etc.
If you decided to train at a box, with others there really isn’t much equipment you need to get. The first thing to look for is shoes.
Your CrossFit shoes should be flat. Never use basketball shoes for CrossFit, ever. Since you’ll be doing a lot of jumping, they need to be stable and protect your joints. Lightweight and breathability are other two features to look for. You may also want to get some reliable grips.
When it comes to shirts and pants, there is no real dress code. Wear something comfortable. Men can go for shorts and t-shirts, while the ladies should choose shorts, capris, and a tank or cropped top. A good sports bra is something you should invest in if you are a lady of course.
Avoid these common mistakes:
- Loose shirts and pants
- Light-colored clothes – they will get dirty and sweaty
- Rings – get your jewelry off before a workout especially rings. Continuous rubbing against bars can wear them down.
Bottom line, all your clothes need to be breathable, lightweight, comfortable and allow you to move. So, leave your suit at home.
Get ready for your first workout
As you’ve heard before, CrossFit is high-intensity. You will get tired, dirty, and sweaty. But not on your first day. Any good coach will focus on the fundamentals before intensity. During your introductory classes, you will learn the basics and the movements. CrossFit exercises require some practice and know-how. You have to learn the movement well, before using a lot of weight. This way there are fewer chances of injury later on.
Some basic CrossFit exercises are:
- Squats (air, front, overhead)
- Shoulder press
- Clean and jerk
- Push jerk
- Wall ball
You might not get tired, but you will still work hard. Everything will be new, so make sure you learn it well. Don’t be disappointed if you can walk home after. Wait for the second session.