<h1>Crossfit for Beginners</h1>
Often called “the sport of fitness,” CrossFit is an extremely popular fitness regimen that was created in 2000 as an exercise philosophy and a competitive fitness sport. Incorporating a wide variety of exercises combined with a high-intensity cardio workout, CrossFit is a full-body workout that can be adjusted to match the fitness levels of each individual. At Rocky Mountain Self-Defense & Fitness (RMSDF), we have been offering CrossFit training for more than 10 years.
<h2>What is a CrossFit Workout? </h2>
CrossFit is Constantly Varied Functional Fitness that is performed at high intensity, and all workouts are based on functional movements. A CrossFit workout features high-intensity aerobic exercise, weightlifting, plyometrics (box jumps), gymnastics, rowing, calisthenics and other activities designed to target different muscle groups. Exercises vary constantly. The variation of the workout is important for optimal results. A Mountain CrossFit hour-long session consists of a warm-up, a period of skill development, a strength-focused activity, the high-intensity “workout of the day” (WOD) and a segment of individualized or group stretching. Our gym makes use of equipment from various fitness disciplines and includes dumbbells and barbells, pull-up bars, gymnastics rings, medicine balls, kettleballs, jump ropes, plyo boxes, rowing machines and resistance bands.
<h3>Is CrossFit Good for Beginners? </h3>
CrossFit classes for beginners are excellent for those who are new to weight training or have just joined a gym for the first time. This is because a CrossFit workout is easily scalable to the person’s own fitness level. Our coaches are highly trained to guide members through the training at their own pace, making our classes appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. Regardless of your individual pace, all members will see progress in their efforts to achieve specific weight and fitness goals. In addition, the camaraderie in our classes helps to encourage a beginner at CrossFit and support them as they learn new exercises and build up their strength. Everyone, no matter what their level, is taken seriously as an athlete.
<h3>Why is CrossFit Effective? </h3>
Fitness experts, researchers and physicians agree that for the most effective workout, you should vary the exercises, which is what CrossFit naturally does. This makes it the perfect kind of workout for full-body health, continuous results and effective muscle building.
<h4>Attain Full-Body Health</h4>
Because this style of exercise targets each of the muscle groups, you’ll see improvements in physical strength and a better physique from head to toe. This isn’t the case with many other workouts.
<h4>Avoid the “Workout Plateau” </h4>
If you repeat the same exercise all the time, the body becomes accustomed to it, so you’ll burn fewer calories and see fewer results. This is what is known as a “Workout Plateau.” With CrossFit, you’ll never reach a plateau, since the various exercises will always be targeting different muscle groups.
<h4>Discover the Most Effective Way to Build Muscle</h4>
A joint study by U.S. and Brazilian researchers found that varying your exercise improves muscle strength. For their study, they examined four different strength training programs — constant intensity and constant exercise (CICE), constant intensity and varied exercise (CIVE), varied intensity and constant exercise (VICE) and varied intensity and varied exercise (VIVE). They found that in the CIVE group — in which the intensity remained constant, but the types of exercises changed — greater strength gains were achieved.
<h4>Avoid Repetitive Strain Injury</h4>
Mixing up exercises also prevents the overuse of certain muscles, which can cause repetitive strain injury. Changing movements gives muscles a chance to rest and recover. A CrossFit workout hits all the various muscle groups for overall greater strength and better health. It’s also not boring, as other workouts can be. This keeps both body and brain active and fully engaged, which makes the workout challenging yet enjoyable. Since CrossFit is a more interesting and engaging workout, and since you’ll see real results, you’ll be more inclined to keep at it.
<h4>Be Supported by Expert Coaches and a Dedicated Community</h4>
Another aspect of CrossFit at RMSDF is the community and professional coaching. Our members are motivated and fully supported as they strive to reach their personal fitness goals. RMSDF coaches are with you every step of the way and will help you to adjust exercises to match your ability. They’ll also encourage you to reach beyond what you thought was possible to attain the highest level of physical fitness. In addition to the CrossFit training, your coach will also recommend the best diet and nutrition to support your fitness regime.
It is the powerful combination of all these factors that makes CrossFit so effective.
<h3>Is CrossFit Good for Weight Loss? </h3>
<h4>What the Studies Show About CrossFit for Losing Weight</h4>
CrossFit is well-known as an amazing cardiovascular workout and a highly effective way to bulk up and build muscle. But can it help you lose weight? Yes, it can! A 2019 study found that people who followed a CrossFit regimen were able to burn an impressive amount of calories — approximately 2,700 a week — with about 5 hours and 15 minutes of exercise. The researchers determined that this level of calorie burning would lead to significant weight loss for those who are overweight or obese. An earlier study from 2013, mentioned in a Livestrong article, found that 10 weeks of CrossFit reduced body fat by an average of 15.5 percent.
<h4>A Leaner Physique with More Muscle</h4>
Becoming leaner doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose weight, as some of that weight will be transformed from body fat to muscle. However, with CrossFit, you will likely have a slimmer physique. The results you’ll see may be in terms of waist measurements and how your clothes fit, rather than what the scales say.
<h4>The Importance of Body Recovery</h4>
In the same Livestrong article, a CrossFit expert points out that unlike long runs, which burn more calories but ends when you stop running, CrossFit’s weightlifting exercises trigger the body’s recovery response, which causes continuous calorie burning after the workout is done.
<h4>Best CrossFit Nutrition for Shedding Pounds</h4>
If you’re trying to lose weight, any kind of exercise won’t be effective without the right diet. In addition to the strenuous movements, you’ll have to keep a close eye on what you’re eating and drinking. Working out and eating junk food won’t give you the results you want.
The official website states that it’s important to optimize your nutrition while doing regular training. To improve fat los and muscle gain, it is recommended that you pay attention to the macronutrients (amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats) in your diet. There are many different diets out there and it can be overwhelming. Ultimately, the best diet will be the one that you can stick to. The goal is to burn more calories than you consume.
CrossFit recommends plenty of meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, with limited amounts of fruit. For vegetarians, there are other ways to get protein, such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils and most beans, soy milk, nuts and grains like amaranth, quinoa, oats, spelt and sprouted grains.
If you’d like to follow a specific plan, there’s the Zone Diet®. This diet is recommended by the official headquarters for at least the first month of your training. The Zone Diet includes protein for one-third of your meal and carbohydrates from vegetables and fruit (except starchy vegetables and sugary fruits) for the other two-thirds. You can also have a limited amount of monounsaturated fats. The diet aims for 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs and 30 percent fat, and a study found that overweight individuals, after staying on the Zone Diet for six months, lost 3.4 to 7.4 percent of body weight.
<h3>What Do You Need for CrossFit?</h3>
Although CrossFit can be modified to do at home, formal training uses various pieces of equipment. That, in addition to the benefits of working with an experienced CrossFit coach (and a supportive community) is why we recommend that a beginner at CrossFit should train at a professional facility.
CrossFit equipment and supplies include:
- Power Rack
- Barbell and weight plates
- Weight bench
- Pull-up bar
- Glute ham developer (GDH) – used for glute-ham raises, GHD sit-ups and back extensions
- Medicine ball
- Plyometric jump box
- Squat stand
- Gymnastic rings – for movements such as dips, muscle-ups and rows
- Rowing machine or air bike
- Rope climbing kit
- Jump rope
- Hand grips (gloves)
- Wrist wraps (for lifting)
If you’re attending your first training class at RMSDF, we provide all the gear you’ll need, so you don’t have to worry about any of that! What we ask you to bring for your training session is:
- High-quality athletic footwear – Running shoes are fine for CrossFit, though as you advance, you may wish to invest in a pair of CrossFit shoes. This specially designed footwear is durable for rope climbing, stable for weightlifting, light enough for running and flexible for jumping and other exercises. Comfort, of course, is of utmost importance.
- Comfortable clothing – Dress in athletic pants/shorts and a comfortable top – loose or stretchy material will allow for the wide range of movement you’ll experience during a CrossFit session.
- Water to keep you hydrated – We also recommend a protein shake to help with recovery after a strenuous CrossFit workout.
- Yoga mat – We provide mats, but you may prefer to use your own mat for exercises such as burpees or sit-ups.
- Notebook/journal – Use a notebook to keep track of your progress. Note the weights you used and write down any exercise modifications. You’ll also want to time your workouts so that you can compare times as you become a more experienced CrossFitter.
<h3>Learning the CrossFit Lingo</h3>
For someone new to CrossFit, it may seem like you’ve stepped into a foreign country. To help newbies feel more comfortable in their new surroundings, we’ve assembled a partial list of the most common CrossFit words and phrases.
10 General Physical Skills: This is the list of skills that help to define overall fitness, according to CrossFit standards. They are Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy.
1 Rep Max: One-repetition maximum indicates the heaviest weight that you can lift just once. This is typically done with exercises such as a clean, deadlift and front/back squats.
Abmat: An abmat is a contoured foam wedge that’s placed behind your back during sit-ups. It provides padding and increases your range of motion.
Affiliate: An affiliate is a CrossFit gym (box) that is officially sanctioned by the CrossFit brand, with certified trainers. RMSDF is an affiliate.
AMRAP: This is an abbreviation for “as many rounds/reps as possible.” It’s a type of circuit training that gives you a set of moves with a specific number of reps, and you do the circuit as many times as you can in the time provided.
ATG: Also known as “a** to grass” or “a** to ankles,” it means a very deep squat.
Box: A box is another word for a CrossFit gym, since CrossFit gyms tend to be a large warehouse (or box) that can hold all the necessary gear.
For Time: This indicates that the workout will be timed.
Score: The score is the total number of reps you’ve completed in a specific workout.
<h4>Movements / Exercises</h4>
Air Squats: This is squatting, but without holding weights. It’s also known as a bodyweight squat.
Band-Assisted Pull-Up: If you can’t get your head above the bar, you can loop a stretch band over the bar and, standing in the loop, use it as a low-tech alternative to an assisted pull-up machine.
Box Jump: From a stationary stance on two feet, you jump onto a box of a certain height, keeping knees bent, and then either step down or jump down.
Burpee: From a standing position, you squat down, place your hands on the floor and kick feet back to a plank position. You then do a single push-up and reverse the movements, jumping up at the end (feet leaving the ground), with arms raised and hands clapping above you.
Clean & Jerk: This is an Olympic lift made up of two different movements. To start, explosively lift a weighted barbell from the ground to the shoulders. Athletes will often squat underneath and then stand up to recover. After pausing briefly, they take a shallow dip, then propel the bar overhead. The two movements are then reversed.
Double Under: This is a rope jumping technique where the rope passes under the feet twice with just one jump.
Filthy Fifty: This workout includes (for time) 50 Box Jumps, 50 Jumping Pull-Ups, 50 Kettleball Swings (35 pounds), 50 Walking Lunges, 50 Knees to Elbows, 50 Push Presses (45 pounds), 50 Back Extensions, 50 Wallballs, 50 Burpees and 50 Double Unders.
GDH Sit-Up: A “sit-up on steroids,” this movement uses a glute-ham-developer and develops extreme core strength. The person leans all the way back until their hands touch the floor, and then they come all the way up into a sit-up.
Handstand Push-Up: A basic movement for gymnasts, the handstand push-up is an advanced exercise for just about anyone else. For added stability, you can kick up to a wall. The head must touch the ground at the bottom of the movement and the arms must be fully locked at the top.
Kipping Pull-Up: A kipping pull-up is like a regular pull-up, except that you’re allowed to swing from the pull-up bar to transfer horizontal motion to vertical momentum for faster (and a greater number of) pull-ups.
Knees to Elbows: Hanging from a pull-up bar, an athlete brings their knees up until knees and elbows touch.
Metcon: This stands for “metabolic conditioning.” Metcons train endurance, stamina and conditioning. Unlike the strength or skill based WODs, metcons usually include a timed component that is done at high intensity.
Murph: This is one of the most difficult CrossFit WODs. It consists of a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 bodyweight squats and another mile run.
Muscle-Up: Highly advanced among CrossFit exercises, the muscle-up involves hanging from gymnast rings and explosively pulling the chest above the rings to the bottom of a dip position. You then push up until arms are locked.
Pistol: Also referred to as a single leg squat, a pistol uses just one leg and twice as much effort.
Ring Dip: This is identical to a conventional bodyweight dip, only it’s done on gymnastic rings. Because the rings are unstable, it’s challenging to keep the hands at the sides of the body.
Rope Climb: Rope climbing is a frequent exercise in CrossFit. There are different techniques, but basically you grab on with your hands, lock your legs and reach up further to ascend the rope.
Snatch: This is another Olympic-style lift where athletes must explosively lift a weighted barbell from the ground to the overhead position in a single movement. Often, they will squat under the bar and then stand up. This lets them recover so that they can move on to heavier weights.
Sumo Deadlift High Pull (SDHP): Start in a wide stance over a barbell and pull up with an overhand grip to shoulder height.
Thruster: This may seem like an easy movement, but it’s not. It starts with a front squat and goes directly into a push press.
Walking Lunge: You can do this using just your bodyweight, a weight plate held over your head or a barbell on your shoulders. Step forward with one foot and bend both your legs until the back knee touches the ground. Alternate between feet as you move forward.
Wallball: To perform this movement, hold a 20-pound medicine ball (men) or 14-pound medicine ball (women), squat down and explosively stand up, while throwing the ball towards a target above your head.
CrossFit Total: In this benchmark strength workout, athletes each have three tries to discover their maximum back squat, standing press and deadlift.
Hero WODs: These are workouts designed to honor police, firefighters or servicemen who have died in the line of duty. They’re difficult and occasionally programmed into the CrossFit routine for an added challenge.
The Girls: This is a collection of originally named WODs (workouts of the day), created by CrossFit founder Greg Glassman. They include Fran, Grace and Isabel.
- Fran – 21-15-9 rep workout of thrusters (95 pounds for men and 65 pounds for women) and pull-ups. This is one of CrossFit’s most popular workouts.
- Grace – 30 Clean & Jerks at 135 pounds (95 pounds for women) as quickly as possible.
- Isabel: The same as Grace, only with 30 timed snatches instead of clean & jerks.
WOD: “Workout of the Day” – the main workout for that day.
<h3>How Many Days a Week Should I Do CrossFit? </h3>
For a beginner at CrossFit, trainers recommend working out for 1-2 days, followed by a day of rest, until they adapt to the fast pace and intensity. After that, people’s schedules will vary, but 2-3 days of CrossFit workouts followed by a day off for adequate recovery is a good formula. Three or four CrossFit workouts per week for six months, a healthy diet, and ample sleep will produce amazing results.
<h2>How Much is a CrossFit Membership? </h2>
At RMSDF, we make training as affordable as possible, with different options that include an easy way to try it out, to see if CrossFit is right for you. Our 6-week trial for $99.99 includes a 15-minute private introduction, goal setting, unlimited CrossFit classes, fitness classes and weightlifting. You can also bring a friend. The 6-month platinum membership is regularly priced at $125 per month but is currently on sale for $99.99. This membership includes unlimited CrossFit classes and Project Fit classes, 15-minute private introduction and goal setting, fire breathers class and a flexible class schedule. We also offer a budget 6-month membership at $100 a month, which includes 5 CrossFit classes every month, fitness, weightlifting, 15-minute private introduction and goal setting.
<h3>Two Convenient Denver Locations: Castle Rock & Englewood</h3>
The RMSDF dojo has two convenient locations in the Denver area: one in Castle Rock and one in Englewood (Meridian Village / Lone Tree).
780 Kinner St.
Castle Rock, Colorado 80109
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<h4>Englewood (Meridian Village / Lone Tree)</h4>
11800 Oswego St.
Englewood, Colorado 80112
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<h2>Are You Ready for the CrossFit Challenge?</h2>
If you like what you’ve read and want to achieve the ultimate level of fitness and replace fat with muscle, sign up here and be part of our CrossFit Community! We’re available to answer any questions you might have about CrossFit.