The popularity of CrossFit has been on a steady rise over the last decade. As more and more people learn about the benefits of the fitness program, the more and more we see functional fitness included into regular gym/fitness regimes.
I have been a fitness trainer for a long time, and I have seen many trends come and go. But I can tell you with confident that CrossFit is not a ‘fad’, and is here to stay. However, just like any other training program, it comes with many challenges, and this is more so for beginners. I have seen people start, only to give up after a couple of weeks. I have also seen others train for months with little progress
If done correctly CrossFit is one of the best training programs. In my many years of experience, there are certain mistakes I often see beginners make. These simple mistakes can not only hinder progress, but can also put yourself at risk of injury.
Here are some of these common mistakes CrossFit beginners should try to avoid.
#1 Doing Things Too Fast
Many people walk into a CrossFit box for the first time with a strong background of lifting weights or other gym workout programs. So it’s not uncommon to see them enter with a bit of confidence and with an eager attitude to progress as fast as possible. But, this is a mistake.
Getting into the program too fast will hinder your progress in different ways. First, you will not be able to focus on the techniques, and this will affect your progress and movements significantly. Second, if your body is not ready for the high intensity of the program, you will be at more risk of injury. As a trainer, I always walk my clients through the fundamentals of the program, and all my trainees have to go through beginner classes.
It is not unusual for some of my clients to report that they train eight or more times a week. Even if you enjoy CrossFit, this is over-training, and it can sometimes do more harm than good. It is a fact that this training program will do wonders for both the mind and body, but you should not overdo things.
Individual moderation is always important for any training program, and it is one of the things that I will always insist for my clients. Overtraining can also lead to burnout and sometimes injuries, so you should talk to your trainer for recommendations on what is just right for you. Also, remember that getting time for recovery is just as important as training.
#3 Cherry Picking WODs
CrossFit is a comprehensive program with different, alternating exercises each day. The program builds around Workouts of the Day (WODs) that aim at testing and working on various aspects of strength and flexibility. A common mistake that many beginners will make is choosing exercises that they find most interesting or the easiest ones for them and ignoring the others.
Skipping any of your WODs will affect the usefulness of your program. As a result, some individuals will spend a lot of time doing CrossFit but with little or no results to show. Working on your weaknesses is just as importing as improving your strengths.
#4 Ignoring Mobility
Beginner CrossFit athletes come into the gym with many expectations. But most are geared towards building muscles or losing some weight. I often see athletes ignoring mobility and flexibility which are also vital for general well-being and improving your performance in the long run.
Having better movement will increase your range of motion and hence in turn also allow for faster and better recovery which is vital for success in any funcitonal fitness program. I would advise that you give mobility and flexibility the importance they deserve.
#5 Forgetting About Nutrition
Diet is one of the topics that I like to talk about with all my trainees regardless of the program they are taking. One thing that I have noticed over the years is that many CrossFit athletes tend to overlook nutrition and only focus on the training. But, this is also a mistake that beginners should avoid.
Food is a critical element in any training program, and without proper nutrition, the chances of reaching your workout or training goals are slim. It is important to not only take care of what you eat but also ensure that you eat enough and that you eat foods that support your training. Also, the fact that you are under an intensive training routine is not an excuse for you to eat anything you want.
Thinking that everything is a competition is another mistake that CrossFit beginners tend to make. Whether it is competing with themselves or with others, too much of it is not good for your training program. Although competition can challenge you to work harder, it is not always good when starting out.
Failing to lift more weight than others in the gym or do more reps than them can be frustrating, but it shouldn’t mean you over exert yourself and out yourself at risk of injury. Instead of competing with others, you should focus on getting maximum benefit from training. Keeping in mind why you started the program can motivate you to work harder towards your goals.
CrossFit is one of the best training programs. Not only is it great for building strength and muscle, but it’s also a great way to improve your overall health. Having gone through the program myself and training many people, I know that it can also be challenging for beginners. But, with a little extra effort, and by avoiding the six common mistakes listed above, you CrossFit experience should be a positive one.