The Awkward Transition into CrossFit

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Blog # 10. 1/18/18

It’s not that it’s inevitable, because that would be incorrect, but it’s pretty likely that most people currently exercising or looking to start exercising will try CrossFit. Maybe they’ll do a watered down version of it in a local bootcamp class, try something on their own that they found on youtube, or try a free drop-in workout somewhere.

(Note: We don’t do free class-workout drop ins for many reasons. It’s a recipe to make you feel extra lost and confused. Everyone is a stranger. You won’t know any of the movements and everything will seem foreign. All of these are reasons to make you hate it and think “why would I want to do this.”  Instead, we invite you to come in and chat with a coach about what we offer. Check out our section about the No-Sweat Intro).

Regardless, CrossFit is popular, and if you’re in the land of working out or thinking about taking a trip to it, you’ll hear about CF. Hearing about it will then lead to being curious about it. Being curious about it will then lead to looking up a whole bunch of stuff on the internet, most of which will look bad (and that’s all wrong). Heck, you might even end up checking out all the websites of the local CrossFit gyms in your area. If you’ve went that far, then this article is for you.

You’re likely transitioning into CrossFit, either because you haven’t exercised in years and you heard it was a great way to get back in shape (which is  correct), or you’re bored with the same-ol’ routine you’ve been doing forever and need a new spark. Here lies the problem. The fitness industry has mind-f#@&ed us into thinking theres only one way to workout. It’s the way most everyone starts with exercising, and goes something like this…

  • Workouts are split up into days where you’re only working on certain areas of the body (Back & Bi’s / Chest & Tri’s / “Leg Day” ), and then for some reason Cardio has a day all by itself.
  • Everything is in a Sets x Reps format (3 sets of 10 reps on the bench press, with 1 to 2 minutes rest in between).
  • Almost all movements are designed to target an individual muscle group (Think Curl – for the bicep, vs Backsquat – the whole body ).
  • Machines are cool. So is partial Range-of-Motion.
  • Girls are supposed to do more cardio and less weights, for whatever reason.
  • If its heavy weight, it HAS TO BE low rep.

So, what if we threw all that out the window and started from scratch?? Pretend as if no one had ever followed the previously mentioned principles. They didn’t exist. How would one best go about getting fit? Maybe a few days a week we would do workouts that got our heart rate up really high, for a short period of time. Then another couple days we would do workouts that kept our heart rate at an increased yet steady rate for while. During the workouts we would lift heavy weights some, and light weights some. We could mix and match high and low repetitions, and incorporate things like running, jumping, hanging, pushing and pulling. Our movements would allow all of our joints to move in the furthest safe range of motion. We would mimic natural body movements found in life and sport. We could set aside a bit of time to work on practicing movements instead of just “going hard” at them, and we’d also do a very structured warm up each day to prepare. This is CrossFit.

A typical CrossFit class is going to be a full body get-everything-in type of workout. There will be a 10 to 15 minute warm up that serves a specific purpose and gets all of the joints and muscles warmed up and ready for activity. Then there could be some heavy weight lifting (aka strength training), and finally there will be some conditioning work (the get-you-breathing-hard part) in the form of a workout lasting anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes with varying intensity. You’re going to feel spent when you’re done, but in a good way.

This whole structure, and the exercises selected during it, will confuse the hell out of people if coming from the common mindset of traditional exercise (refer to bullet points listed above). Everything you’ve learned or tried in the past will be flipped on its head. You’ll get educated on why it’s ok to mix cardio with weights in the same workout. You’ll learn why squatting your hips below parallel (below your knees) is completely fine. You’ll even realize the importance of doing full body exercises back-to-back without a structured rest break.  At first the whole world of “Constantly varied, Functional Movements, performed at a High Intensity” (thats the definition for Crossfit) seems bizarre. I promise, stick with it and it’ll re-educate you on everything you think about exercise, and that this is just the beginning!

I remember when I wanted to try CrossFit but was too afraid to get away from my typical body-builder style workout. I decided I would alternate on a 2 week split: Week 1 would be 2 days of traditional bodybuilding exercises and 3 days of CF. Week 2 would be the opposite. I figured this would be the perfect blend of fitness and that  I had just discovered the secret trick.

WRONG. I found so much enjoyment out of what CrossFit delivered that after 2 weeks I drew up a new plan. It looked like this: CrossFit 5 days per week. Period. Yup, it only took me 2 weeks to toss out a mindset that I had followed for almost a decade.

When making the transition into CrossFit, the best thing to do is to keep and open mind and realize that change is ok. Everything except the toaster oven has evolved over the past few decades, so why keep following the same exact principles of exercise that we’ve always used? I’m not saying those are wrong, I’m just saying, be open to trying something new, and you might just find it works great for you!

If you’re interested in learning more about getting started at CrossFit Rampage, click here to schedule a free No Sweat intro. This is a 20 to 30 minute chat about what you’ve been up to, what you’re looking to achieve with a workout routine and how we can best help you.