Training like an athlete can be one of the best ways to improve your fitness and overall physical health, even if you’re not an NFL player or Olympic gymnast. CrossFit is a fitness regimen that has grown in popularity over the last two decades, and brings together athletes and non-athletes looking to improve their fitness and performance. CWhether you’re already in professional athlete shape, starting out on your fitness journey or someplace in between, its benefits are endless.
One of the most distinctive aspects of CrossFit is the focus on community. CrossFitters connect not only at the box, but online as well. Structure-wise, every box and instructor runs their own show, but most classes start with a 10-minute group warm-up, followed by strength and skill training (i.e. squats, lifts, pull-ups, etc). Then you’ll get to the core of the class: the WOD. It’s quite similar to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and changes every day to keep the workouts fresh and challenging.
The final portion of the class includes a recovery period with group stretching. Some boxes also encourage the use of foam rollers, bands and mobility tools during this time. The best part is that every section of the workout is scalable to your abilities. CrossFit experts say newbies should strive to do about half the weights and reps of more advanced CrossFitters during their first few classes and work up from there. It might look daunting at first go, but CrossFit has many benefits.
A CrossFit class varies in length depending on the WOD, but you can expect to be actively working between 45 and 60 minutes.
It means “Workout of the Day.” CrossFit is composed of different workouts, or WODs, that vary depending on the day. Workouts occur at the box, the CrossFit name for studio or gym. Each class will feature a different WOD (workout of the day), which might include exercises like lifts, burpees, jump-roping and kettle-bell swings. You can read our full gallery of CrossFit terms on our blog.
Newbies should plan to arrive at the box 10-15 minutes before their class to introduce themselves to the instructor and get preliminary demos on any aspects of the WOD they might not be familiar with. This also gives ample time to stretch out and loosen up any tight muscles. CrossFit boxes tend to be pretty basic, so you’ll acclimate quickly.
As a core strength and conditioning program, CrossFit does not require you to stretch, hydrate and prepare differently than any other high-impact class. However, the workout is practically a maze of acronyms and terminology that are worth learning before your first class.
Both men and women might find themselves most comfortable in breathable apparel that offers extra coverage, like knee-length leggings and T-shirts, along with high-quality sneakers with good traction. A pair of weight-lifting gloves might also come in handy for the strength-building exercises, which can involve barbells and ropes. If you fall in love with CrossFit, you can invest in gear designed specifically for the activity.
CrossFit gyms typically operate based on memberships, but a single class can vary in cost depending on your location. You can expect to pay between $15 and $25 per class.