This blog post is written in a question and answer format aimed at answering common questions that I receive as a CrossFit coach. If you’ve heard of CrossFit and are considering giving it a go, I hope this post addresses some of your questions. These answers are based on my understanding of the CrossFit methodology and how I describe it to others. If you’d like to read the CrossFit methodology in full, please refer to the Training Guide on the CrossFit Journal.
Imagine having the fitness to be able to perform in a weightlifting competition but also be able to compete in a marathon or a sprint.
In a nutshell…
CrossFit is an exercise and training regime that combines weightlifting, bodyweight movements and cardio into short, constantly varied and high-intensity circuits that are designed to give you exceptional health, strength and fitness and a very good looking body!
Imagine combining the best of sports such as weightlifting, gymnastics and sprinting and putting it into one. CrossFit is just that – a combination of multiple training systems put into one and developed by expert coaches from all around The World. CrossFit is usually delivered by qualified CrossFit Coaches in CrossFit Affiliated Gyms around the World where members take part in instructor-led sessions where each person gets individual attention throughout the entire class. Yes, the instructor does (and should) walk around giving coaching to each person.
That sounds hard. Is it for me?
Most certainly. CrossFit is scalable which means that exercises and workouts can be made to be easier or harder depending on the individual. CrossFit coaches take into account the way you move, your level of fitness, your current strength, your flexibility, your age and if you’re carrying any existing injuries and then tailor the workouts to suit you to ensure you stay safe, yet still benefit from the workouts.
CrossFit classes are of great benefit in the sense that coaches are able to scale each workout to the individuals’ requirements.
Do I need to be fit before I start?
Simply put, No. You get fit and good at CrossFit by doing CrossFit. You can tailor each workout to suit each person’s fitness and strength level. If you’re new to CrossFit you’ll use lighter weights, use simpler exercises and take it steady.
Is It a Franchise?
No. Each gym applies and pays an affiliation fee to CrossFit to be able to deliver CrossFit classes. Each gym owner must go through a training process before applying for affiliation. Essentially, each gym is it’s own unique business and therefore you’ll see differences in how CrossFit gyms are operated.
CrossFit In More Detail
CrossFit is designed to improve your abilities in the ten skills below. You’ll also be good at doing physical activities that are short and high-power, medium and moderate power and long and low powered. Not only that, but as a side-benefit, you’ll get an awesome physique.
Imagine having the fitness to be able to perform in a weightlifting competition but then also be able to compete in a marathon or a sprint. For those looking just for general health and a good looking body, then you’ll achieve the physique of a gymnast if you follow the program.
The Ten General Physical Skills (Your capabilities in each of these ten areas are improved through a well-designed CrossFit program):
- Cardiovascular / Respiratory Endurance
So Why Should I Do It?
Because CrossFit mainly uses only functional movements performed at high-intensity in workouts that are different every time you come into the gym, you’ll benefit from:
- Fat loss and definition all over your body.
- Improved strength and fitness – CrossFit has a massive carry-over into sports and life. A well-rounded base of fitness lays a strong foundation for improving your sport.
- Improved health – CrossFit is not just about how good you are in the gym but also in being able to live life to the fullest.
- A better posture.
- Your ability to do stuff with more energy, passion and endurance.
- Your bones, muscles and entire physical body will become stronger and more efficient meaning a healthier life for longer. (I know I don’t want help wiping my bottom when I’m in my later years!)
- Scaling means you can ease into it and reduce the risk of injury.
How Is It Different To A Normal Gym & Why Is It So Expensive?
The differences to a normal gym and also why the pricing is higher than a commercial gym membership:
- You get personal training in EVERY class from START to FINISH. Each class is instructor led. They’ll walk you through every step of the class.
- You get nutrition advice, your workouts are programmed for you, you get technique coaching, you get lifestyle advice and you have a life coach throughout your CrossFit journey.
- Exercises are based on functional movement which mean that you’ll be using your whole body in one exercise. And these exercises will help you in real life. You won’t end up looking like a robot that can’t reach it’s backside!
- It’s sustainable – no crazy eating or exercise plans. Just an effective program to suit your needs and goals.
- It’s social – classes are full of people from all backgrounds which is a great setup for socialising.
- You’ll feel part of a community that’s changing the health of the Nation beginning with you.
- You’ll be a valued member and be followed-up when you start missing sessions. Coaches will be with you through the good and bad times.
- Your outlook on your life will change – healthier eating habits and healthier hobbies often take the place of going to the pub and eating take-away all the time.
Is it worth it?
On average, a personal training session at a regular gym costs £30 per hour. Let’ assume you take 3 sessions per week and your gym membership is £10 per month.
Commercial Gym – 3 sessions per week x 4 weeks x £30 per hour + £10 membership = £370 per month.
CrossFit gym memberships range from £20 per month up-to and above £300 per month depending on the quality of gym and coaches you choose. Even on the highest membership, you’d save money compared to a normal gym.
How Does It Work In A CrossFit Class?
Before you start in the main classes, you may be asked to take part in a “Beginners”, “Fundamentals” or “On Ramp” program which gives you an introduction to CrossFit and what to expect in classes. Each gym will follow it’s on program structure so check with your gym first as to what the first stage is.
Each class will be fully instructed through the following:
- Warm-up – To get your body ready for the workout ahead.
- Skills – This is where you’ll practice the exercises for the workout and where the coaches will help you learn the correct techniques.
- Workout – This is where you’ll apply what you’ve learnt in a workout whilst you have the coaches keeping an eye on your technique.
- Cool-down/stretch/education – To bring your body back to it’s resting state and to reduce muscle soreness for the next day. Some coaches often share their knowledge and advice at this stage.
I’ve Heard Bad Things About CrossFit. What Do You Say?
Like everything else, you have good CrossFit gyms and bad CrossFit gyms, but essentially, everyone has different tastes and styles. In my eyes, people are free to choose which CrossFit gym they attend and there is plenty of choice.
CrossFit places a lot of emphasis on quality movement FIRST, before any speed or weight is added to exercises. In the CrossFit training courses we are taught to be relentless in the pursuit of good, safe and efficient technique with members and for ourselves before we start adding significant loads and speed to exercises.
When CrossFit is delivered as per the CrossFit Training Guide, you’ll see quality being delivered right from the very start of your CrossFit journey. CrossFit is not about doing more with more weight. It’s about mastering the basics, finding your weaknesses and then working gradually to eliminate them.
What you often see on YouTube and the Internet is either CrossFit at competition level (where people put their bodies on-the-line to win large sums of money) or exercises (often labelled as CrossFit) gone wrong. Any form of exercise/training/sports has risk for injury. It is the Coaches job to reduce that risk and when delivered properly, CrossFit is very safe in comparison to sports such as Rugby, Boxing, MMA and American Football.
How Do I Get Started?
Take a look at the CrossFit Affiliate Finder and find the nearest affiliate to you. You’ll find that there maybe multiple CrossFit affiliates near to you. My advice to you is DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Most affiliates do a free trial so go check them out. Ensure that that the gym is convenient for you, meets your requirements and also feels right.
The coaches should give you coaching throughout the entire class and should know what they’re talking about. They should have an entry point for beginners and an assessment process that gives them an idea of where you’re at in terms of your fitness and where you’d like to be. A gym that pushes you to the limits on your first session and has the philosophy of “no pain no gain” often neglects quality of movement and gradual, safe progression.
Feel free to send me any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org