So. I've heard a lot about crossfit on here and other places, and I'm seriously considering signing up for a class. Frankly, I'm nervous: I'm really out of shape and have never done the "gym" thing (though I know crossfit is pretty different from a normal gym!). I've heard from people who've started crossfit who have been somewhat fit already... can anyone offer their experiences about coming to crossfit with no experience in fitness whatsoever? What was it like? As an out of shape beginner, do you think it's a good idea to jump in, or should I seek out some lower-intensity training? I really want to work my way to fitness, but I don't want to do something that I can't handle (physically or mentally) and will just quit.
I was out of shape when starting Crossfit. I'd been obese and had lost some 60 - 70 pounds, and wanted to give Crossfit a try. I had never been athletic. Oh my. It was hard, but fun.
My suggestion is to START SLOW! There is no shame in scaling. I've been going almost two years and still scale. I'm also in my 50s and know that though I fantasize about being as good as younger, more athletic folks, I have to respect my body's persnicketyness.
Working on good form is incredibly important, so take your time to get comfortable with the movements. I do know that I am/was prone to joint issues and had to be careful. I was getting very frustrated with my lack of squat ability. I made a determined effort late last year not to give up. I started working diligently on getting good form (depth, chest up), plus doing Kelly Starrett's mobilitywod.com exercises. Wow. What a difference. Working on my hip flexibility has fixed the knee pain. Tonight we'll be doing back squats and I know that the weight I lift will be done with decent form. It may still be lighter than the others around me, but I'll be thrilled.
I've been eating very clean this month and it has made a difference too. If you're paleo/primal this will help a lot!
I love the Crossfit community, and if anyone had told me three years ago that I'd be going to a gym and lifting barbells, running and rowing, AND doing push-ups and pull-ups all in ONE workout, I would have thought them insane. Now I look forward to it.
It is the best thing I've ever done for myself. I was 32 years old, never had been athletic (ever!) in my life, I was overweight and very out of shape when I first walked in the door. I was terrified. It's just over a year later and I still have to scale most things, but I've done things in the past year that I would never could have dreamed I would be capable of doing. There is no shame at all in scaling, as a matter of fact it is a necessity to learn how to do the more complex movements and lifts safely and with good form. Yes, ease into it! I would go to a class, then when I could walk again without too much pain (usually about 3 days later) I would go to another class. Before you know it, you're regularly at 3 or 4 classes a week (or more).
Things to look for: a thorough "on-ramp" or "foundations" class - whatever that box might call it. Trainers who will work with you to establish your baseline of fitness...and then push you out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. A supportive community atmosphere between the members and the coaches - if you have several different affiliates where you live, talk to each one about coming in to observe a class, see which one feels right. It's these factors that really made this a life changing experience for me.
In addition, yes to the paleo eating - I was inconsistent with my diet most of last year and recently stepped it up significantly. My performance and recovery times have increased exponentially since then. Also consider taking fish oil supplements, they helped my recovery significantly when I first started.
You won't know til you try.
55 yo female, 5'4" 330 pounds - yes, 330 - with a myriad of health problem as you can imagine. Have a 20 year old hip replacement and doc tells me I need a new knee now as well. Started a path that included CF because I met the instructor and the class was convenient. Started Paleo just before Christmas and have been clean only since first of year. When I started CF, I could not do a single one of any thing. Everything was scaled drastically. Much still is; however, last night I did 30 inclined push ups, 50 squats, and 100 knee lifts. Within the next 4-5 weeks I expect to hit 100 pound weight loss. Off half of my meds, knee only gives me problems intermittently. What do you think... should you check into CF????
I started CrossFit 8 months ago or so. I was out of shape, though not necessarily fat or even overweight. I truly cannot recommend it more than enough, but I would take extra special care to be kind to your self mentally and emotionally as you go through this, particularly in the first few months.
All the commenters above me have rightly noted the importance of scaling. But in my experience I found that being able to scale emotionally and mentally is just as important as choosing the right amount of weight and number of reps. It seems obvious to say, but it's essential to realize that you're competing against yourself and not against others.
As obvious as this is though, it can sometimes be very difficult to remember during the course of a workout. In my early days and months (hell, even today) I had many a workout where it became extremely difficult to keep that in perspective. You're training alongside elite athletes and even non-elite athletes that just seem to power through the workout, and when you're struggling through just that first round, or that first set, it can seem very demoralizing. And something about the high-intensity nature of a CrossFit workout seems to supercharge my emotions, so when negative emotions such as self-doubt or anger over how out-of-shape I've let myself get start flowing, CrossFit seems to ensure that these emotions are really strong.
I don't say any of this to turn you off. CrossFit has absolutely changed my life. When I started I couldn't deadlift the bar due to a chronic bad back. Now I'm nearly d/l'ing 200lbs and I haven't had trouble with my back in a months. I've even started playing adult beginner ice-hockey, something I never could have considered a year ago.
So perhaps not everyone goes through this kind of emotional roller coaster. But I simply bring this up as a reminder that if you're starting from ground zero, this might prove to be a challenging ride not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. Keep that in mind, keep that in perspective, and bottom line, just keep coming back, regardless of how you feel after one workout or another. If you do you'll truly thank yourself as you'll be strengthening all of these parts of yourself.
If you go to crossfit in your condition you must:
Explain to the instructor, in detail, your fitness levels AND your concerns about joining crossfit (this will ensure that s/he is fully appraised of your situation)
Don't be tempted, in the beginning, to 'kill' yourself... ease into it over a number of weeks/months
Eat primal/paleo and this will help your fitness enormously....
It could well be the best thing you will ever do for yourself, but you will have to build up slowly, before you know it you will be surprising yourself...
Good luck, mac
I never liked organized exercise very much. I like the idea of being active, and I have a full body bodyweight workout that I do 3x a week at work, but the idea of going to a gym or "box" or whatever and exercising seems really unappealing. The thought of going to a gym makes me think of this:
Most good Crossfit boxes offer a "Foundations" course that is designed to ease beginners into the programming. The course will run you through all the basic movements and gradually increase the intensity so you'll be ready to transition into regular WODs. I'd recommend you look into that.
Ultimately, Crossfit is a tool. All tools are beneficial if used correctly, and most are harmful if used incorrectly. Crossfit is a good general conditioning program and great at increasing broad work capacity - but it's not for everyone. The only way to know for sure is to try it!
Some important questions to ask as you explore it further: Do you like the coaches? Do you like the other people training there? Do you dig the atmosphere? You're probably not just looking for a place to work out... you're looking for a fun supportive community too.
Best of luck with your training!
i dont do crossfit per se, but i lift at a crossfit box. All i can say is that there are a number of very fit people there, from all ages, sexes, body shapes, etc. And there is always a palpable sense of community and comraderie. Its quite inspiring even for me, off in the corner doing my own thing. Give it a shot, worst can happen is you don't end up liking it and quite. You'll love it though, it usually brings in friendly people.
Being afraid of cross fit is normal; you're not sure what your body can do especially if your fitness is sub-par. For me the biggest obstacle was, quite frankly, making my lack of fitness very public.
I started CF four weeks ago - took the fundamentals course where we learned form and skills. Safety and the idea of making the workout fit the person were paramount. Everything could be scaled appropriately so even a schlub like me could finish the workouts.I told the staff of my limitations (joints and cardiac) and they have been extraordinarily good at helping me scale and stay motivated in starting this new life. Shout out to Verve Denver!!
Crossfit is an odd combination of irrational fear (think of gym class in elementary school as the chubby) and liberating acceptance of the fact that you are willing to go beyond what you are. That you have started is truly the biggest fight already won.
Keep us posted.
I was terrified the first time I walked through those doors. I was 300 pounds at 5'7...my thoughts were, can i do this? Will the trainer just think I'm to difficult to train? Will the other member's laugh at me as I work out? All this proved to be just the opposite. I'm 1 1/2 yrs into my training and Im down 60 pounds with about 50 more to go. Sometimes the biggest battle isn't physical for us...but mental...you can do it!
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