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Is CrossFit Right For You?

September 2014


Is CrossFit Right For You?

You may have seen CrossFit advertised on television or within your gym. But what’s the program really like? Here’s a quick guide to CrossFit and its practices, including tips, tricks and training info for beginners.


Understanding The Program

What is CrossFit? At its heart, you could describe it as a physical and mental training program designed to improve everything from your cardiovascular health to your flexibility and strength. It isn’t just about lifting weights or climbing ropes; it also incorporates a fitness philosophy that focuses on self-improvement and meeting and exceeding goals.


While every CrossFit class is particular to its trainer, there are a few popular activities in most major programs:

– Aerobic exercise

– Weight lifting

– Strength training

– Gymnastics

– Calisthenics

– High-intensity workouts


Gauging Your Fitness Level

While you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete in order to start CrossFit, it’s important that you’re honest with yourself about your fitness level before joining. CrossFit offers a “scaling” procedure that accommodates everyone from the couch potato to the elite bodybuilder, but if you insist on a scale beyond your current capabilities, you could wind up hurting yourself.


Here are a few things to consider when evaluating your physical fitness:

– How much can you lift?

– How far can you run, and what’s your pace like?

– How many squats or pull-ups can you perform before your limbs start to tremble?


Again, it doesn’t matter what shape you’re in when you’re starting out in CrossFit. The program can chisel muscle out of even the most sedentary of office workers! Just make sure you join the right class and choose the right scale when you begin your CrossFit journey,


Finding A Trainer

CrossFit trainers vary by location. Most are employed by gyms and training facilities, but you can hire others to come to your home and work with you one-on-one. A good trainer can be recognized by the following attributes:

– Patience with your scale

– Skill in your chosen focus area (gymnastics, plyometrics, lifting)

– Certification or experience with CrossFit techniques

– An understanding of your limits but a desire to see you exceed them

– A zest for life and getting one’s blood pumping


Tips for Beginners

Before you jump into CrossFit with both feet, here are a few tips for easing your transition into one of America’s fastest-growing fitness programs.


– Develop skills at your own pace. It’s easy to push yourself too hard when you’re surrounded by others who are RXing every workout and breaking their own personal goals, but remember the story of the tortoise and the hare.


– Learn the lingo. You’ll find classes much easier when you aren’t confused by terms like snatch, kip and deadlift.


– Watch the workout of the day (WOD). Even if you aren’t ready to participate right away, it’s a looking glass into your future once you’ve gained the strength and stamina to participate in high-intensity bursts of action.


– Find something that motivates you. Many CrossFit buildings are covered in motivational posters with sayings like “stronger than yesterday.” You’ll need this inspiration when you’re sweating and squatting under a barbell.


Avoiding Injury

If you don’t want to wind up wrapping, icing and compressing your body after a CrossFit workout, you’ll need to follow proper safety precautions when you start the program. For example:


– Stay hydrated. This is the single most important rule of fitness training, yet even experienced weight lifters don’t always follow it. Drink, drink and drink some more.


– Strengthen your core. The most common injury among CrossFit enthusiasts is lower back pain. This is a sign of lumbar strain and accelerating your lifting program before you’ve prepared your core.


– Don’t work out every day. Your body needs time to rest and recuperate, so listen to your trainer when he says to take the weekend off or only use the barbells four times a week.


Embracing The Culture

CrossFit is such a popular fitness program that it’s developed its own culture among practitioners. For example, many of them follow a Paleo or “Zone” diet for health and wellness. Others may embrace Vibrams and other alternative and natural forms of footwear.


The good news is that you don’t have to worry about breaking into the club. One thing that CrossFit programs all have in common is their friendliness and enthusiasm for beginners. Everyone was that wide-eyed newbie at one time, so they understand what it’s like when you’re just starting out!


If you’re looking to improve your health, boost your cardiovascular function and build new strength in your body, join a CrossFit program near you. If you live in the Kerrville area, we have our very own CrossFit classes right here! Peak Fitness would be thrilled to have you join us!