Over the years, when talking to people we have heard the same argument over and over again: “I can´t start with Crossfit in my present shape!” or – alternatively – “I have to work out first before I can start doing Crossfit!”
These are very common misconceptions.
Especially for those who are out of shape, starting Crossfit is the absolute right way to go. High-intensity workouts are a proven and highly effective method for those who want to lose weight, build muscle, build strength, and get into the shape of their life!
In this article, we want to introduce you to the Crossfit concept, what you can expect from your first day at a Crossfit box, what equipment you will need, and what outfit best works for this high-intensity sport.
You will see, starting Crossfit out of shape is absolutely possible and can be a great way to get into shape very fast!
What is Crossfit?
Crossfit has its own rather clunky definition of how this sport is defined, but to make things easy, the definition of the workout-side of Crossfit can be described like this:
CrossFit is a fitness program that was created by Greg Glassman in the early 2000s. It’s a high-intensity workout that combines weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardio into short and intense sessions called “WODs” (Workouts of the Day).
The idea is to get you in shape for anything life might throw your way. You’ll do CrossFit with a group of people and a coach leading the way. The workouts can be adjusted for anyone, regardless of a person’s fitness level.
Apart from working out, the Crossfit philosophy also includes a clear idea of how and what an athlete should eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle and perform at peak levels.
In that context, several diets fit the basic Crossfit concept quite well, but the so-called “Zone Diet” has been adopted by most Crossfitters all over the world.
However, you do not have to go to your local Crossfit box (“box” is the synonym for “Crossfit gym” in this case) AND stick to a certain diet at all!
Is Crossfit for the Super-Fit Only?
No, the Crossfit program is a fitness program for all ages and for all fitness levels.
The beauty of CrossFit is that it is a scalable program, which means that the exercises can be adjusted to suit the needs and abilities of each individual participant.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced athlete, CrossFit can be tailored to your fitness level and goals. Additionally, CrossFit workouts are typically performed in a group setting, which creates a supportive and inclusive environment.
The goal is not to compare yourself to others, but to push yourself to be the best version of yourself.
CrossFit also emphasizes proper form and technique over speed or weight, which helps to reduce the risk of injury and ensures that you are getting the most out of each exercise.
Additionally, the program’s focus on functional fitness means that you will be performing exercises that mimic real-life movements, making it easier to transfer your fitness gains to other areas of your life.
CrossFit is not just for the super-fit. It’s a program that can be adapted and customized to suit the needs of everyone, regardless of their fitness level or experience.
What level of fitness is required to begin CrossFit?
The Idea of Being "Out of Shape"
Many people may feel that they need to be in good physical shape before starting CrossFit. However, the idea of being “out of shape” is subjective and can vary from person to person.
The truth is, CrossFit is designed to help people get in shape, regardless of their starting point.
Whether you are new to fitness or have been exercising for years, CrossFit can help you to achieve your fitness goals.
The Scalability of CrossFit Workouts
One of the key features of CrossFit is its scalability. This means that the workouts can be adjusted to accommodate different fitness levels, making it accessible to people of all ages and abilities.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned athlete, the CrossFit program can be tailored to meet your needs.
For example, lighter weights and easier movements can be used for beginners, while more experienced participants can use heavier weights and perform more advanced exercises.
The Importance of Proper Form and Technique
As said before, in CrossFit proper form and technique are emphasized over speed or weight. This helps to reduce the risk of injury and ensures that you are getting the most out of each exercise.
CrossFit coaches are trained to help participants perfect their form and technique, so even if you are new to fitness, you can learn how to perform the exercises correctly.
Additionally, focusing on proper form and technique can help you to see better results and improve your overall fitness more quickly.
In conclusion, the level of fitness required to start CrossFit is relative and can vary from person to person.
CrossFit workouts are designed to be scalable, making them accessible to people of all fitness levels, and proper form and technique are emphasized to help reduce the risk of injury and improve results.
Is Crossfit Suitable For Those New To Fitness?
Starting CrossFit when you are new to fitness can have several benefits.
Improving Overall Fitness Levels
CrossFit is designed to help people improve their overall fitness levels. Whether you are new to fitness or have been exercising for years, CrossFit will help you to achieve your fitness goals. It doesn´t matter what your goals are.
Some started Crossfit to do this sport as a competition, others hit the box several times a week for gaining muscle, another group might simply plan on losing weight and burning body fat and most of us want to preserve their athleticism and lead a healthy life.
Building Strength and Flexibility
CrossFit focuses on functional fitness, which means that you will be performing exercises that mimic real-life movements. This type of exercise can help you to build strength and flexibility, which can improve your overall health and well-being.
Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem
Once you start CrossFit you will see that this is a great way to boost your confidence and self-esteem.
CrossFit is performed in a group setting, which creates a supportive and inclusive environment.
The goal is not to compare yourself to others, but to push yourself to be the best version of yourself.
Risks of Starting CrossFit Out of Shape
Generally, one can say that Crossfit is absolutely safe to do – as long as a few key components are in place.
- a good Crossfit coach
- training under supervision – especially when you are new to this sport
- knowledge of movement standards
- lifting heavy weights only when another person is there to support you
You will find all these components during a Crossfit class in your box – but most of these things will be absent when working out at home alone.
This is why we say that beginners who are totally knew to Crossfit should either do bodyweight Crossfit workouts only, or attend Crossfit classes only until a certain level of exeperience amd knowledge has been built.
While starting CrossFit when you are new to fitness can have lots of benefits, also be aware of the risks.
The Risk of Injury
Engaging in the CrossFit journey when you are out of shape can increase the risk of injury. This is why it is so important to focus on proper form and technique, and to start with lighter weights and easier movements until you have built up your strength and endurance.
A good Crossfit coach will always have a close eye on you and he will give you advise on the weights you should use or which exercises you should replace with a scaled version.
Importance of Proper Warm-Up and Cool-Down
Warm up properly before each CrossFit workout and to cool down afterwards. This will help to reduce the risk of injury and ensure that you are getting the most out of each exercise.
The warm-up and the cool-down are two phases of any Crossfit class – so you will not be able to skip these in your Crossfit box.
This reminder rather applies to those of you who regularly do their physical activity at home without supervision.
It is a great thing if you have developed such a passion for your sport that you can motivate yourself to do high intensity workouts at home, but you also have to have the discipline to do a good warm-up and a coll-down / stretching session afterwards even when working out alone.
Gradual Progression of Intensity and Difficulty
CrossFit can be challenging, especially if you are new to fitness. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and difficulty of your workouts as your fitness level improves.
This will help to reduce the risk of injury and ensure that you are making progress towards your fitness goals.
More advanced Crossfit exercises require skills that are usually not present in the average athlete.
But do not throw your patience overboard! You will acquire these skills by time and you will experience that wonderful feeling of achievement once you have mastered a new skill.
An overview of your first day at CrossFit
Your first day at Crossfit will usually be an “assessment day”. Your coach should find out about your present fitness level and physical restrictions you might have.
I can clearly recall my first day when my coach showed me my deficiencies in mobility. Such moments are great, because they show you where you will have to put the work in!
But the first day should not only be the coach assessing you, it should also be you assessing the coach and the box he or she runs.
Is this a person you will trust? How is the chemistry between the two of you? How do you like the rest of the coaching team? Will you be comfortable spending quite some time in this place?
These are all questions that you should be asking yourself.
For most people, the first day is a very positive exeperience. After an introductionary conersation about your goals and your experiences so far, your coach will most propably to a little workout together with you.
There you will get a first glimpse on how your workouts will look and feel.
I have not met a single person so far, who bailed out after this first workout – on the contrary! Everybody who hesitated so far was definitely in for more…
Preparing for your inaugural CrossFit workout
The day has come: you had your personal session with your coach. He knows what you can do and can not do – you know you are up to and you are about to participate in your first Crossfit class.
You meet people who have the same mindset and who might be doing this already for quite a while.
They will give you guidance, they will cheer you up in the workout and they will help you! They do so, because they have been through their first Crossfit calss themselves.
The atmosphere in a Crossfit box is different from a usual gym. Here you will find a strong sense of comraderie and support from all sides which is a very comforting thing to experience.
Essential items to bring to CrossFit
As long as you are not planning to set up a whole home gym for your Crossfit workouts, you will need only very few – but important – items:
“Shin guards”: Especially for rope climbs but also for box jumps and even deadlifts you should get yourself a pair of shin guards. These look like sleeves for your shins and are made out of some protective material.
Liquid chalk: you will do a lot of pull-ups or toes-to-bar or ring-rows or just simply hanging from a bar. If you are a person like me with a not-so-good grip strength, liquid chalk (or simple chalk for that matter) helps a lot and makes holding on to the bar much easier!
Hand grips: this is the better version for increased grip on a bar! Hand grips don´t only improve your grip, they also protect your skin from tearing – at least most of the time!
Lifting straps: usually made out of leather of some other highly durable material, these straps wrap around your wrists and around the barbell or kettlebell or any other heavy item that you will have to either lift or carry around. These straps will become very important for you once you start pushing your personal records higher and higher.
Jump rope: your Crossfit box does have jump ropes ready for you, but you should consider buying your own rope. Sometimes the ropes in the box are quite worn down already. Sometimes the exact length you need has already been taken by a few other athletes… Your own jump rope is adjusted exactly to your height (your coach will help you doing that) and it is always there.
Appropriate attire for CrossFit
Thank god, Crossfit does not need a ton of outfits! You need shorts and t-shirts. That´s it!
You might need two or even three sets of shorts and a few different shirts, because you will sweat a lot and you will wash a lot of stuff.
Regarding shoes, make sure to get yourself a pair of Crossfit shoes.
Basically, these shoes will give you less cushioning than running shoes, but a much better stand for lifting weights, which is very important!
Ah – and don´t forget to support your box by buying their t-shirts!
I hope, we could answer all the questions you might have had about this topic.
You will see – Crossfit is an extremely rewarding sport with a great community and it is great for everyone!
So go and try it out!