CrossFit For “Loners”
Lately, I’m amazed at the number of questions I’ve been getting in regards to “CrossFit”. Two years ago, I knew very few people who understood “constantly varied, functional movements, executed at high intensity”. In fact, I spent most of my time defending my unorthodox workouts to baffled onlookers in my local globo-gym. But these days, it’s quite different. CrossFit (CF) is everywhere and growing: two local affiliates, numerous new CF certified trainers in town, weekly stories shared at local events of individuals doing these “crazy workouts” and getting great results. I guess it’s for these reasons I’m now frequently asked “How do I get started?”
Guess you could say there are 3 typical ways one becomes a “CrossFitter”; the individual who prefers to workout one-on-one with a certified CF trainer: the individual who would rather exercise with others, meeting at a local CF affiliate to do the WOD (workout-of-the-day) together as a class; and last, there are folks much like me, who really want to do CF on their own in a local or home gym. As George Thorogood says “I prefer to be by myself”. This blog post is mainly for the CF “loners” who want to get started in CF but have no idea where to begin.
My first disclaimer before this conversation goes any further involves the responsibility inherent in choosing to “do CrossFit on your own”. You are responsible for studying copious amounts of information in order to clearly understand the CF philosophy, concepts, and exercises. You are equally responsible for actively searching for guidance and hands-on instruction by either training with a certified CF trainer or by participating in CF certificate courses and/or speciality seminars. You must have a clear understanding of how to execute the CF method and exercises correctly. Why? Because you can get hurt. Dr. Ray of CrossFit Flagstaff, spoke at the CF Science of Exercise Certification in Texas and described the similarities between CF and prescription drugs. You need to know what you’re ‘prescribing’: the right dose can be very beneficial; the incorrect dose can be dangerous, if not deadly (see The Truth about Rabdo). That said…
CrossFit in 5 Easy Steps
The Crossfit Journal publishes articles and videos daily on all matters pertaining to CrossFit. Of the thousands of articles included in this journal, I usually recommend the following two articles to newcomers interested in CF:
Find a CF Affiliate WOD (workout of the day) to follow each day and stick with it (no cherry picking from different affiliates)!
- You can keep it simple and follow the CF main website WOD
- You can choose to follow one of the many CF affiliates that post their own WODs daily. A list of CF affiliates can be found here. Two of my personal favorites are:CrossFit Calgary or CrossFit Natural High
- For those interested in mixing CF and Strength Training, I would recommend the following CF affiliate websites: Coach Rutherford’s Fitness Conduit or CrossFit Football
Research each exercise prescribed in the daily WOD.
- ALL exercises done in CF are demonstrated via video and/or lecture on the main CF website under “Exercises and Demos“. Be sure to scroll down – the list is very long!
Scale the prescribed WOD according to your ability.
- All WODs are scalable. If you choose to follow the CF main website WOD, CrossFit BrandX ‘scales’ each posted WOD daily according to one’s ability. The WODs are scaled from advanced to beginner: big dawg, pack, porch and puppies. You can find the daily scaled WOD from the CF main website under “CrossFit WOD at CF BrandX here .
Read the entire FAQ on the main website which can be found here. Just do it.
My second disclaimer involves finding a good CF trainer or affiliate near you. All are not created equal. CFHQ is in the process of applying for accreditation with the American National Standards Institute to better ensure quality and consistency within the CF community. But, in the meantime it is always best to do your own research: look at qualifications, credentials, experience, knowledge and teaching ability. Ask around – what do others have to say about their experiences with CF trainers or affiliates in your area? Take a look at the photos trainers and affiliates chose to post online: do the pictures show good form or rounded backs during heavy deadlifts? Are knees dangerously rolling in over the feet while squatting? Rack position and chest held high throughout the movement maintaining the lumbar curve? Limp kettlebells resulting from arm pulls instead of explosive hip action? Bad form is easy to spot. You’ll know it when you see it!
Additional Training can be found here:
- CF Certificate Courses
- CF Specialty Seminars on endurance, kettlebell, Olympic lifts, gymnastics etc.
- Directory of certified Level 2 CrossFit Trainers
- All CrossFit Affilaites listed by state and country
Last, don’ forget nutrition! Eighty percent, if not more of the results you achieve will come from the food you eat. See my last post on “How to Go Paleo” and the Paleo Tools Resource page at the top of this page!
No excuses now…3,2,1…GO!