CrossFit took the world like wildfire when it first appeared. Up until then, you either went to the gym, or you cranked out bodyweight exercises. CrossFit appeared and gave the world of fitness a very functional dimension.
It combined dynamic movements that you would actually use in real life with conventional exercises. If you’re looking to get into CrossFit, we’ve got 6 tips that you should know before you start.
Don’t Size Yourself Up Against Others
CrossFit is a community of like-minded people whose goal is to achieve physical fitness. When you first start out, you might feel the need to measure your abilities against others. Despite what the world is telling you these days, having a competitive character strain is a good thing. However, you need to understand that you are unique in your own way.
Certain workouts will fit you, others won’t. Your performance in any given workout isn’t a measure of your overall abilities. Find what works for you, and you’ll see progress as long as you put in the work.
Keep Your Ego Grounded
Speaking of putting in the work, there is such a thing as too much work. Every workout is different in terms of the exercise you do, but also the intensity with which you do it. Some workouts will feel easy, some will exhaust you. The key is to know your boundaries and always stay one blip of the throttle away from pushing yourself over the edge.
Your ego might sometimes demand that you push that last inch and try to squeeze in that last rep. That can be a serious mistake depending on what you’re doing. A single extra rep isn’t worth dealing with an injury that will put you out of commission for months. Keep your ego in check.
Watch Your Form
CrossFit is a dynamic system. There is a time component to certain WODs that pushes you to crank out reps as fast as you possibly can. While there’s a bunch of benefits to that, you need to watch out for the silent killer of gains — bad form.
Speed often leads to a compromised form, but that doesn’t have to be the case for you. If you’re using CrossFit rowing machines, make sure that you use your legs and that your back is straight on the pull. Practicing good form is key if you want to avoid injury and muscle imbalance.
Daily Rx Is a Recommendation, Not a Rule
Following a CrossFit schedule is a must, but you also need to understand that there are different regimens for different levels of skill. There will be times when the day’s Rx proves to be too much for your abilities. Guess what? That is perfectly fine.
Customize the workout to your abilities if you insist on giving it a shot. Don’t try to follow the Rx to the letter, especially if you’re just starting out. Remember, Rx is a recommendation, not a rule. No one will judge you or look at you differently if you turn down the heat a little.
Don’t Skip the Warm-Up
Warm-up is an essential part of any workout regimen or system, including CrossFit. In fact, it’s especially important for CrossFit since your average WOD is packed with dynamic, explosive exercises.
Yes, warming up is boring, but it’s necessary. Not only does warming up prevent injury, but it greatly improves your performance and ultimately your gains. A good warm-up can make or break your WOD so don’t underestimate it.
Another important tip is to include mobility work in your warm-up sessions. Joint mobility and stretching will give you that edge when you need it the most. Don’t skimp on these.
Track your Progress
Tracking your progress is the only way to quantize your success. Write everything down including which exercises you did on what day, your rep maxes, number of reps, and everything that will help you figure out how far you’ve come.
Make sure to write down your failures as well. Those are every bit as important as your successes. In fact, you can learn a lot from a failure given that you record it properly.
CrossFit is at the very edge of high-intensity exercise. It can be both challenging and overwhelming at the same time. No matter how impossible it appears at times, all you need to do is keep inching forward. Baby steps. Take your fitness journey one day at a time. Eventually, you’ll reach the finish line and reap the reward of your hard work.