CrossFit: A Guide for Beginners
To avoid getting intimated, learn a few terms that CrossFitters use regularly. The first term you may hear is “WOD”, which means “Workout of the Day”. This term is often scribbled in the whiteboards, which is likely to be the first thing you will also look for when you walk into the gym.
Remember that not being able to complete your WOD does not mean that you are not fit for CrossFit. You may cut the reps, drop a set, reduce your load, take longer rests and sit down a few times during your workout and still do CrossFit. By making changes to your WOD, you merely turn down the intensity of your workout.
Other CrossFit words you may want to know:
- Paleo – this is a type of diet that involves eating the way our ancestors did, which means lots of vegetables and meat and no legumes, grains or dairy.
- Kipping – a powerful body movement that originates in the hips; it helps create momentum and is usually part of a pull-up.
- Rx’ed – this means that a CrossFit workout was done exactly as it was written or prescribed.
- AMRAP – acronym for “As many rounds as possible; commonly found in your WOD.
CrossFit presents an exercise model that is contrary to your usual fitness routines. It involves steps that are at odds with your regular fitness magazines or commercial fitness facilities. For most people, this can be scary—not because it really is, but because it can be scary to be different from the rest of the community. For some people, there is no greater fear that the terrible experience of looking funny or training like no one else.
CrossFit will take a lot of getting used to. For beginners, some obstacles are the blistering demands of the exercises, the unfamiliarity of the routines, and the lack of equipment. If you find the right gym for you, however, this shouldn’t be a problem. While learning to do things that you’ve never heard before such as overhead squat, muscle-up, jerk or snatch, you should know that these movements actually produce the same efforts you exert when throwing, lifting, pulling, punching, running, climbing or standing.
Choosing your Box
Crossfit boxes are never equal. This can make the shopping part quite a difficult decision. It’s a good idea to try out as many as six CrossFit gyms in your area first. You should also consider seeking the help of a coach who can help you achieve your goals. Schedule time to talk with the coaches for your goals and find out whether they are a good fit.
Regardless of your abilities or fitness background, make sure that the gym you choose offers an effective introductory class about CrossFit so that you do not end up getting stressed out or surprised at how “difficult” it can be.
Finally, let’s follow the old adage, “location, location, location”. The rule of thumb is to hit the gym three to five times a week, so you want to make sure that the gym is just nearby so that it’s easy for you to do your WODs regularly.
Good luck and welcome to the CrossFit world!