CrossFit is a type of training that is known for its intensity and level of difficulty. Unlike kickboxing classes or barre workouts, CrossFit doesn't specialize in any one type of exercise. You'll work with weights, attempt intense cardio intervals, and try killer strength-building combinations. The goals are to train hard, get strong, and go fast. The practice does, however, come with some concerns. While CrossFit enthusiasts swear by the techniques, others worry that there is too much focus on speed and not enough on form. Before you show up at your local "Box," you're going to want to get the lowdown on the basics. The high intensity workouts will produce results, but you'll have to be ready to put in some serious effort. After all, the CrossFit slogan is "Forging Elite Fitness" and the reality is that the training is just that serious. If you're interested in giving it a go, here are a few things you need to know.
Check age limitations before you visit your local CrossFit location.
Check age limitations before you visit your local CrossFit location. Some gyms don't allow gym-goers under seventeen to attend, and even if they do, it can be more fun to train with students on your level. If you're under the age limit, check out CrossFit Kids. This program is an excellent place to begin your CrossFit career, teaching proper technique and form before moving you on to adult classes. "Teen specific classes focus almost entirely on mechanics," explains Jeff Martins, Director of Youth Training for CrossFit and co-founder of CrossFit Kids. "The general perception of CrossFit is about going fast and hard all the time. In these classes, the focus is never to move faster, it's about learning how to improve your movement and mechanics over time."
Know that you're going to sweat—so dress accordingly.
"The only things you really need are clothes that let you move and sweat," says private coach and CrossFit NYC Communication Director Allison Bojarski. "You can also bring a bottle of water because you'll need to hydrate well during the workout."
Classes are an hour, but only a short period of that is comprised of an intense workout.
"Timed workouts tend to be on the shorter side around ten to twenty minutes. There's also a warmup, strength training, a cool down, and stretching," explains Bojarski.
You should learn a few key terms.
It's helpful to familiarize yourself with CrossFit's unique lingo before hitting up a class. First up, what's a Box? This refers to the area in which you'll be working out. Don't expect StairMasters and Elliptical machines. Boxes are usually large open spaces with just the necessary equipment for cardio and strength training. Once you get there, you'll be taught about the day's WOD, or Workout of the Day. Sometimes you'll just be completing the WOD, but you can also be expected to do an AMRAP. This mean you'll be expected to complete As Many Rounds As Possible of the given WOD in a timed period.
If you can't make it to a box, you can find workouts online.
"CrossFit started as an online phenomenon," says Bojarski. "There are videos on theCrossFit web site to teach you how to do different moves and check your form. We encourage people to first check out a box and learn some moves with a coach before going out on their own."
Your safety is a priority to CrossFit coaches.
"The last thing we want to do is hurt people," emphasizes Bojarski. "The first priority is that people are comfortable with what they're doing. If someone can't do a proper squat with no weight, I wouldn't put a bar bell on their back. CrossFit can get a bad reputation because of the speed aspects of the workouts, but we want people to earn the right to go fast. More and more boxes are realizing the importance of encouraging quality movement patterns. What makes CrossFit great and what's helped it succeed as a fitness model is that we scale for each person to a level that they can achieve. We give people something they're capable of that will still challenge them and then gradually increase the difficulty over time."
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