Saturday, June 19, 2021

How to Get Started With CrossFit: A One-Stop Guide

The drive for people to stay fit and healthy has grown over the years. Nowadays, you can find people from all different age groups heading to gyms in order to attain a healthy and toned physique. One method for reaching that goal that has grown hugely popular is CrossFit.

To the inexperienced, CrossFit may seem like a tedious method for staying fit. When you see athletes in the CrossFit Games on TV networks lifting 300 pounds overhead and running with heavy weights, it is natural to feel uneasy. CrossFit is a widely followed strength and conditioning program that is used by military special operations units, police academies, martial artists, and many professional athletes.

However, what you find when you go to a CrossFit gym is quite different. It is an activity pursued by people hailing from various age groups and from many walks of life.

How to pick a CrossFit gym

There are several CrossFit gyms in most areas these days. So don’t just go for the first gym that you come across. It’s better to check out a few gyms and assess their offerings. Here is what you should look for:

Safety

As Davin Arkangel, head coach and owner at CrossFit Camarillo told CNET: “Your coach’s top priority should be safety, always.” With that in mind, don’t be insulted if your coach tells you to take some weight off your barbell so you can focus more on your technique before you do heavier lifting.

Quality of coaching

Expect the coach to give you individualized attention, to correct your form when needed, to answer your questions, and to modify your movements if needed.

Coach at the gym helps a woman have proper form while lifting free weights.
Expect the coach to give you individualized attention and to correct your form when needed. (Image: via Dreamstime.com © Photographerlondon)

Schedule

Working professionals need to find CrossFit gyms that offer suitable schedules so they can attend on a regular basis.

Culture

Some people are competitive and want to be in a class with like-minded people to help push them in their workouts. For others, getting or staying fit is the goal. Picking a gym where you feel at home based on your current state of fitness and your own fitness goals will help make sure you stick with your workouts.

Before getting enrolled at a CrossFit gym, it is necessary to have a detailed discussion with the management and the trainer. This can be handy when you want to find out what can be best suited for your fitness goals. Based on the body type and existing health conditions of candidates, the trainers at such gyms can modify workouts.

There are some CrossFit gyms that offer a limited number of free classes and a membership for a reduced price, lasting for a month or so. This can be helpful for newbies.

Slow and steady growth

A lot of people enrolling for CrossFit gym classes go overboard, partly owing to the initial excitement. However, seasoned trainers say this is not a practical way to get started. It makes sense to adopt a slow and steady approach in this regard. While it is necessary that the newbie work hard enough to feel the effect of the workout, going over the top induces fatigue and also enhances the risk of getting injured. Once new candidates get accustomed to light workouts, they can gradually step up the intensity.

The right gear and shoes

Maintaining a regular workout schedule and following the guidance of the trainers are both necessary to succeed in CrossFit but the importance of using the right gear can’t be overlooked. You’ll want to be sure to get the right shoes. During CrossFit workouts, you will have to do a lot of jumping, running, and body movements that require you to stand and bear body weight well. You’ll also want clothes with sweat-wicking properties. And for any problem areas you have, like bad knees, you may want to invest in some compression gear.

Sneakers of blue suede with black laces on the sidewalk.
You’ll need shoes that are both durable and versatile for CrossFit workouts. (Image: via Dreamstime.com © Inuella365)

The risk factor

Many people who are curious about CrossFit, but have not tried the method, ask about its safety level. It is hard to say in one sentence if it is safe or risky. It depends on the mindset and attitude of the person doing the workout, ultimately. Some CrossFit followers get over-enthusiastic and push themselves beyond the limits of physical endurance. As a result, they end up hurting their muscles and ligaments badly.

What is a CrossFit class made up of?

It can vary from one gym to another. However, in most CrossFit gyms, the classes are divided into 4 sections. These are: Dynamic warm-up, strength work, work out of the day (WOD), and cool down and stretching. Each of the sections can be customized by the coaches for individual students.

Is it possible to practice CrossFit workouts at home?

Technically, this is not impossible, but you may have to face hardships. Gyms tax the wallet, but having the required equipment at home may not be cheap either. Another thing is, at home, there is no coach to monitor your workouts. On top of that, the supportive community aspect found in the CrossFit gyms cannot be re-created at home.

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Armin Auctor
Armin Auctor is an author who has been writing for more than a decade, with his main focus on Lifestyle, personal development, and ethical subjects like the persecution of minorities in China and human rights.
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