By: Ali Johnson
Starting CrossFit can be an intimidating experience, both for exercise beginners as well as for experienced athletes. That being said, it can be downright overwhelming if you don’t have a background in weight lifting and/or aren’t used to working out in a group setting. Why is there so much yelling? What do all these acronyms mean? I’m so out of shape, will I even be able to do this workout? Are all common thoughts for beginning CrossFitters. But don’t worry- you CAN do the workout, and you will, you just need a little course on CrossFit foundations to get you started on the right track. You’ll be busting out AMRAPs in no time! Check out this list of all the info you need to know before adding CrossFit into your exercise routine.
You don’t have to be in shape.
You don’t need to be in shape to start CrossFit. It doesn’t matter what the other people in the gym look like- everyone has to start somewhere, and the perfect time for you to start is now. All CrossFit workouts (or WODs) can be scaled to match any ability level. No one expects you to start doing strict pull-ups, or box jumps, or triple digit deadlifts in your first week at CrossFit. Instead, an experienced coach will work with you to ensure that the workout is tailored to match your skill level, so that you’re being challenged without being at risk for injury.
You’ll probably have to take a Foundations course.
Most CrossFit boxes, include CF3P, offer a Foundations course to beginning members. This isn’t just a way to make more money- foundations is essential to teach you the skills you need to know to be proficient at CrossFit, so you can get the most out of your workouts. During Foundations, a coach will go over proper form and technique for weightlifting and gymnastics movements, and they’ll also explain the extensive CrossFit terminology (more on that later). They may touch a little on nutrition, as that’s an important aspect of CrossFit, and they’ll definitely promote safe recovery techniques. Don’t skip Foundations, you’ll be happy to have the information the next time you find yourself in an AMRAP with snatches and wall balls.
There’s a lot of acronyms.
In the world of CrossFit, RX no longer applies to a medical prescription. Instead, it’s a way to describe doing the WOD “as prescribed”, meaning as written (not scaled). There are SO MANY acronyms pertaining to CrossFit, from AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible) to EMOMs (every minute on the minute), FT (for time) and AHAP (as heavy as possible). Even the movements are typically abbreviated: overhead squats become OHS, double unders are DUs, BP is bench press, T2B is toes to bar, clean and jerks are C&J, and more! It can be really overwhelming and it’s common to be confused at first, but that’s why a foundations course is so essential. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a coach or another member of your class what something means. We’ve all been there before, and we’re happy to explain whatever you might need. The more frequently you attend class, the easier the terms will be to remember, and you’ll be explaining MetCons and SDHPs to new members in no time!
The workouts are short, but they’re intense.
A 6 minute timecap? No problem. A 12 minute AMRAP? Easy. Not. Just because the times are short, doesn’t mean the workout will be easy. In fact, it’s often the opposite. Short WODs are designed to be all-out sprints, where you give everything you have in a short amount of time and you’re left sweating and breathing hard on the floor when you’re finished. There’s definitely no time to catch your breath or take a water break in a 6 minute workout. CrossFit WODs are designed to be shorter in length, but incredibly intense to make up for it. You’ll get in a great workout that targets a variety of muscle groups, and you won’t be bored like you might be if you’re running on the treadmill for 45 minutes at a time. Many people love CrossFit because the workouts are so short; they don’t take up a huge part of your day, and you burn just as many calories as you would during a longer but more moderately-intense exercise program. Just remember, you get out what you put in, so if you want to see results you need to be giving your all.
CrossFit is addicting!
CrossFit really is addicting, but it’s a healthy kind of addiction. You’ll love the adrenaline burst, the competitive yet supportive group atmosphere, and the thrill you get when you PR a lift or finally nail a new gymnastics movement. Of all the things you could be addicted to, CrossFit is certainly one of the better vices. You’ll start to long for the feeling of soreness you get after a particularly grueling WOD (even if it means that the toilet is your enemy for a little while) and you’ll start to miss your gym buddies if you can’t make it to class for a few days. CrossFit is more than just a way to lose weight and get in shape. It’s a community, and a lifestyle, and once you’re in you’re never going to want to leave.
What do you wish you had known before starting CrossFit? What do you think is important to tell those who are just starting out? We’d love to hear from you! Comment in the section below!