CrossFit For Beginners: 10 Things to Know Before Starting CrossFit

Crossfit is a form of fitness training designed to provide a full-body workout that helps improve the entire person. It's now one of the most popular workouts in the world, and has even been named by Forbes as "the most effective exercise routine."

Almost everyone knows someone who has tried CrossFit. Do you want to start Crossfit but you don't know how?

You are in the right place!

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a fitness program created in 2000 by Coach Greg Glassman. It's a high-intensity strength and conditioning program with the aim of improving fitness levels and making you "fit for anything". Glassman used a model called the "trinity" — constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement — to create a system that would provide effective and efficient results.

What are the benefits of CrossFit?

Many people are aware of the physical improvements they can gain from participating in Crossfit, but what some aren't aware of is all the mental benefits that come with it. There's a totally different mindset that comes with Crossfit as opposed to traditional fitness programs.

The idea is that mental toughness, determination, and willpower are just as important as physical strength and fitness. Crossfit cultivates a culture of hard work, commitment, and discipline. You'll likely find your concentration improve and become more focused.

What do you need to know before starting Crossfit?

These are the 10 things that every CrossFitter should know before starting.

1. You will get addicted to endorphins.

The "high" that most people feel after a CrossFit class is usually attributed to endorphins (the body's natural painkillers and mood boosters).

CrossFit releases endorphins, which are very similar to opiates and stimulate the same brain receptors as heroin.

It may be a bit extreme to compare it to heroin, but the fact that you get addicted shows that the feeling is very powerful.

If you go to a CrossFit gym that does have a good coach, you will notice that the class starts with :

- A dynamic warm-up or a few minutes of joint mobility

- Front Squat or some other basic movement that gets your blood flowing

This is why the first 5 minutes are spent on getting you ready to actually work.

The first few seconds, maybe even minutes, of working out are enough for most people to feel addicted (but again, only if the coach actually knows what he's doing).

2. You will lose weight fast.

Some of you may have heard that CrossFit is fat loss and strength training in one, and that's actually true.

CrossFit workouts are high in volume and you will be burning a lot of calories when you do them (you burn even more if the workout has running involved). 

Also, most CrossFit workouts involve compound movements such as squats or deadlifts, which are known to be anabolic (they stimulate muscle growth).

And the best part is that it's actually very hard not to get lean if you go to CrossFit because of how many hours each week are spent training.  

If you follow a good diet plan, you will definitely get ripped if you lift weights 4-5 times per week and do some sort of CrossFit workout 3-4 times per week.

3. You will get strong, quickly.

If you did not know this already, CrossFit is all about getting stronger.  If your goal is to get strong (and who doesn't want that), then there's no better way to do it.  But you have to know that the reason why CrossFit works so well for building strength is because of how high volume it is. If you do a heavy power clean for 1 rep every minute, then you will get stronger.

4. You will move better.

You don't need to join a CrossFit gym to benefit from the increased mobility and flexibility you will get from CrossFit, but it's a nice bonus.  

Most CrossFit workouts involve a lot of dynamic movements that are impossible to do while maintaining bad form (and maintaining proper form is what makes you strong).  So even if your goal is not to "get flexible", chances are you will become more agile.

5. You will learn to respect certain types of pain.

Some people think that CrossFit is all about suffering and giving up in the middle of a workout because it's so hard, but that's not true.

If you do it right and pick the right time in your training cycle to do each move, then you shouldn't be in bad shape when you start doing CrossFit (yes, it will be hard but we're talking about a normal level of hard, not intense suffering).  But there's one thing that's for sure, if you do CrossFit long enough, you will get used to pushing yourself through pain. 

It's very likely that at some point in your life, you will experience normal levels of pain that are hard to push through.  And when this happens, it can be a life or death situation (for example: if someone is choking you, you need to push through the pain of trying hard not to pee your pants).  That's why CrossFit is so helpful with learning how to do this.

6. You will be more confident.

If there's one thing that I know about fitness, it's that if someone does something physical (lifting weights, running, yoga) then they will feel more confident.  And CrossFit has the added benefit of making you look good as well because it's considered to be one of the best fitness programs for building muscle and burning fat at the same time (so it's not just about physical strength).

7. You don't need a gym membership.

If you want to start doing CrossFit right now, then I don't recommend that you buy all your equipment (it's too expensive).  Instead, first, go to a few gyms and try out what the classes are like. If you like it, then rent a place or ask if you can share one with someone else for cheaper.  But if you're not sure, then just wait.  You don't need to start CrossFit right now, it doesn't work that way.

8. You will eat a lot of food.

CrossFitters eat a lot.  I'm not talking about the "bro-science" stuff like eating every 2 hours or drinking a gallon of milk per day, but if you go to CrossFit 4-to 5 times per week then you will need to eat.

Why?  Because your body burns A LOT of calories during CrossFit, especially the workouts that are the most "grinding".  That's why I recommend that people do CrossFit in the morning before they eat breakfast.  This way you get to have the worst workout of your life while being very hungry, which is great because it will give you an extra boost for maximal performance.

9. You just need to know how to do it right.

If you're trying CrossFit for the first time then you need to know that it's not the same as going to a regular gym.  At most CrossFit gyms, you won't find machines or exercise ball chairs. You'll find barbells and boxes for plyometric exercises, kettlebells, dumbbells, climbing ropes for pulling exercises, etc.

When you do CrossFit, you will need to learn how to use all this stuff and there is a process for learning new exercises:

Learn the movement (on your own) Practice the movement (with a coach and with other people) Do it during workouts.  (This is when you see whether or not it actually works for you).

10. You won't do a WOD every day.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when starting CrossFit is to try to do a workout of the day (WOD) every day.  This is a bad idea, especially if you're going from being sedentary to doing high-intensity workouts on your own because it can lead to injury or overtraining.

If you have a lot of weight to lose, then I recommend that you only do the WOD 3-4 times per week and use light weights for your other workouts.  On these days, feel free to do a WOD a few times during the workout depending on how long it takes for you to finish.

It's only when you have more experience than you can try to do a WOD every day.  But then again, you will need to learn the difference between a WOD and a workout that you do in the gym.  To this, I recommend that people do their own workouts when they have enough time and when they want to try something new.  This way, you're learning more about the program instead of just following orders.

CrossFit (Summery)

So the next time someone tells you about CrossFit, make sure to ask them if they like it and what they like/don't like about it.  Not all the gyms are equal so you might be surprised if someone tells you that they hate going to their CrossFit.  This is especially true if there are a lot of new people because it might be too difficult for them to learn the finer points.

I hope this helps.  If you like the article, then please do share it with your friends because I know that they will appreciate it.

Thanks for reading!