CrossFit has boomed in popularity over recent years, with boxes (CrossFit lingo for a gym) popping up in seemingly every neighborhood. There’s a good reason for this, CrossFit delivers on their promise to get results fast, following their methodology can transform your fitness and have you accomplishing athletic feats you would never have imagined you’d be capable of.
I say this with such confidence because I’ve experienced it firsthand. CrossFit was instrumental in me losing 95 pounds and going from a guy that could barely jog a 400m lap around the track to someone doing muscle-ups and handstand pushups. There’s nothing special about my case; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I have witnessed countless others walk through the doors of the same box I attend and totally 180 their fitness just as I did.
The only sticking point is that CrossFit can be intimidating. Popular opinion says that it can be dangerous and lead to injury, and the truth is that the learning curve is pretty steep. Even still, the rumors are largely unfounded, and by following these steps, you can smoothly transition into this life-changing fitness routine and never look back. Here’s what you have to know:
Find The Right Gym
Finding the right gym community is going to be imperative to your comfort and safety. Not all boxes are created equal, and that goes for the coaching and the community you’ll be immersed in. Seek out a box that has coaches willing to help you and a community you feel welcomed and supported by. It’s a common slogan at many boxes that their goal for you as a member is for the class you attend to be the best hour of your day… every time. I can say from experience that a great gym will live up to that lengthy goal, so don’t be afraid to be picky and expect a lot for your membership dues. I promise, there are many excellent gyms out there if you are willing to look.
Identify Your Strengths And Weaknesses
One of the most important things you can do when you start CrossFit is getting the attention of a trained coach to walk you through a movement screen. During this time they will work with you one on one to show you the different movements you’ll be doing in class and, more importantly, they will identify any problem areas you will need to pay extra attention to. Naturally there will be movements that you gravitate towards, and it’s fun to excel in those areas. On the flip side, there will be areas of your fitness that are more challenging, but stick with it and you’ll quickly close those gaps.
Embrace Scaling And Start Slow
Many people believe that CrossFit is dangerous because it has you performing movements that you are not ready for or capable of doing. While it is true that CrossFit does have a number of high skill movements that will take practice to master, the beauty of CrossFit is that there is always a scaling option. Don’t feel comfortable doing handstand pushups? You’re not at all alone, and, luckily, there are a number of less challenging movements that will give you the same workout stimulus. The CrossFit Methodology really shines in this sense, and it’s why the training style can be applied appropriately to everyone from children to senior citizens! The beauty is that CrossFit, with its use of scaling, is able to meet you where you are at as far as your fitness level. There’s no barrier to entry here, even if it might look a little intimidating.
Keep Score And Celebrate Improvement
It may seem counterintuitive, but keeping track of how you are doing on your workouts, I believe, is important for every athlete, especially beginners. As I mentioned before, the learning curve in CrossFit can be steep, so progress can feel like it is coming very slowly. By keeping track of how you do right from the start, you allow yourself to be amazed as you look back even a month later and compare your progress!
CrossFit is a game-changing fitness routine for anyone willing to take a leap of faith and give it a shot. It can be intimidating to start, but, by following this advice, you set yourself up for success and ensure that you will be fitter five years from now than you are today, regardless of your age. Leave your ego at the door and enjoy the journey; CrossFit is a sport that will continue to reward your hard work with unmatched results and a truly genuine sense of accomplishment. See you at the barbells!