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What Is CrossFit?
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- Find a local CrossFit gym and contact the owner. Typically, the owner will want to know how familiar you are with CrossFit so they can make a plan for how to get you started. Feel free to ask questions that matter to you, like whether they offer classes at the times you need.
- Get ready for your first session. All you need is a pair of relatively flat gym shoes (like these) and workout clothes.
- Learn the essentials with a coach. Each CrossFit gym has its own way of getting people started. Many gyms have a series of introductory one-on-one sessions with a coach before shifting the athlete over to group classes.
- Get going with group classes. CrossFit gyms run one-hour classes to do the workout of the day. A coach will run the group through the workout, and scale and modify the movements and amount of work to be appropriately challenging for each person’s needs. At the start of the class, the coach will explain the workout and ‘decode’ words and abbreviations that may not be immediately clear (like AMRAP – as many reps or rounds as possible).
- Choose your membership plan. Many gyms have unlimited monthly plans (allowing you to come to as many classes per month as you would like), limited plans (allowing you to come to a set number), and sometimes a punch card or drop-in rate.
A CrossFit class is a one-hour group session led by a coach. A typical class looks like:
- Whiteboard brief — The group arrives and circles around a whiteboard or TV at the front of the class. The coach will talk through the workout, the movements within it, the intended stimulus, and ideas for scaling. Some gyms have a ‘question of the day’ and ask each person to say their name and their answer to help people get to know each other.
- Warm-up — The coach will lead the class through a warm-up to prepare for the workout.
- Skill practice —The coach will lead the class through skill practice, typically related to the movements that appear later in the workout.
- Workout prep — Each person will get out the equipment necessary to do the workout, such as a barbell or rowing machine.
- Workout — The coach starts the clock and everyone does the workout together.
- Clean up — After the workout is over, athletes give each other fist bumps and wipe down / put away their equipment.
- Box — A CrossFit gym.
- Affiliate — A CrossFit gym. CrossFit gyms are affiliated with the parent company CrossFit. They are not franchises but rather ‘affiliates.’
- WOD — Workout of the day
- AMRAP — As many reps/rounds as possible.
- EMOM — Every minute on the minute.
- Tabata — 8 intervals of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest
- Scale / modify — Adjust the movements or amount of work (repetitions) in a workout to make it appropriate for athletes’ physical needs and abilities. A coach’s job is to help their athletes adjust the workout appropriately.
- Rx’d = As prescribed. Many gyms will write the “Rx’d” version of the workout. By design, the Rx’d version is meant to challenge the fittest athletes at the gym. Most athletes will have to scale or modify the Rx’d workout to meet their needs.
- Burpee — Laying flat on the ground, getting up to a squat, and then jumping.
- Thruster — Squatting down with a barbell (or dumbbells) on your shoulders, and then standing up quickly and putting the weights overhead.
- Snatch — Bringing a weight from the ground to overhead in one motion.
- Clean and jerk — Bringing a weight from the ground to your shoulders (clean), and then from your shoulders to overhead (jerk).
This is just the start of a long list of things you’ll learn at CrossFit. Remember, it’s the coach’s job to help guide you through the workout of the day. Classes start with a whiteboard brief so the coach can explain the workout and open it up to any questions. If you’re not sure, just ask.