CrossFit is more than just a sport, it's a community and a way of life. This guide will be your one-stop manual for getting into CrossFit for the first time and will cover everything from snatches to WODs to poods and everything in between.
You don't have to be fit to get started.
This is probably the most important thing to note. A lot of people will put off trying a new sport or hobby for fear of being too unfit. CrossFit is accessible to everyone thanks to their scaled workouts. Whether you're unfit or have a disability, there's something for everyone. Don't let your nerves or insecurities hold you back and just dive straight in.
You will sweat and cry a lot.
CrossFit is a notoriously tough sport. They don't crown the CrossFit Games champions as the Fittest On Earth for nothing! You have to have the motivation and the right attitude before you start. It has to be your decision and you have to own it; if you've been coaxed into it by someone else you'll be starting with the wrong attitude and you'll find it way harder than it needs to be. Be ready to sweat a lot and cry a lot, but reap the benefits and rewards at the end of a tough WOD.
Find a local CrossFit gym, known as a 'Box'.
If you really want to dive straight in and hit this sport hard, finding your local CrossFit gym will help you get there. A CrossFit gym is known as a box and there are affiliates all over the world. You can find your local box through an internet search or by checking out affiliates on the official CrossFit website. A box will have all the proper CrossFit-specific equipment that you need, as you may not get a full workout at a commercial gym. Getting professional advice by an accredited trainer will also stop you from developing bad habits and will be available to give you advice along the way.
However, you don't have to join a box to be able to practice CrossFit. They can come with expensive memberships and you'll have to do a foundation course before you can participate in the classes. A commercial gym will have most of the equipment you need, and some people even just train out of a garage. Use what you have and don't feel like you're missing out just because you're not a member of an exclusive club or gym.
Know the jargon.
There's a lot of sport-specific terminology used in CrossFit which you won't have come across before. Knowing what people are talking about is important if you want to join in on discussions about performance, and so that you know what workout you should be doing! Here are the basics:
WOD - Workout Of the Day. A daily workout published on the CrossFit website which CrossFitters all over the world will tackle and post their results to the public forum. A WOD is also a general term to refer to any CrossFit workout.
Pood - This is a Russian term which is a unit of measurement equalling just over 16kg. It is generally used for kettlebell workouts.
Rx - This is the prescribed way a workout should be completed, with set weights and times/reps. If you Rx a WOD, it means you completed it exactly how it was written. Alternatively, you can 'scale' a workout which might involve reducing the weights or swapping out an exercise. The CrossFit community is one of acceptance and inclusion, so scaling a workout is never anything to be ashamed of.
MetCon - Short for Metabolic Conditioning. This is typically a workout that doesn't involve heavy lifts, and consists more of a body weight circuit style workout. There is also a very popular CrossFit shoe by Nike called the 'MetCon'.
Double Under - This is a movement in skipping whereby the rope passes under your feet twice before they hit the ground. It's a tough movement and you won't be able to do it straight away without practice.
Practise the lifts.
The only way to improve is to practise! If you go into the sport expecting to be perfect at it straight away, you'll be left feeling frustrated. CrossFit adopts a lot of really technical moves that athletes will spend their whole lives perfecting. Take your time and practise the exercises that you find the toughest. Scale a workout if you need to and take it easy.
Know the stars of the sport.
The CrossFit Games is the annual pinnacle of the CrossFit calendar. It's the event in which the fittest athletes in the world will congregate and compete to be crowned Fittest On Earth. As with most sports, there are star players, but CrossFit is open to anyone in the qualification stages so often there are rookie competitors too.
Fraser is the one to watch at the moment. Winner of the games in 2016, 2017 and 2018, he's competed several times and has proven how hungry he is for the sport. He has spent years honing his technique and perfecting his lifts, and it really shows. He's the biggest player in the game for now.
Froning holds the record for winning the games the most amount of times, having claimed the title four years in a row from 2011 to 2014. He has won over $1 million in prize money from his wins and is sponsored by global sports brands like Reebok, Rogue Fitness, and Oakley. He is renowned in the sport and partly retired after his 2014 win. He still competes in the team events but stepped down as the Fittest Man On Earth after his fourth win.
Smith was the athlete who claimed the title after Rich Froning stepped down. His win in 2015 was a nail biter between him and Mat Fraser, who was still working his way through the ranks. He has competed at every CrossFit games since its inception in 2009 and has never finished outside of the top 10.
While Greg Glassman is the founder of CrossFit, Dave Castro is the face most people recognise as he hosts the games each year. His personality gets him mixed reviews and some even claim he has 'ruined' the sport. Nevertheless, he is one of the most important figures in CrossFit.
Davidsdottir is one of three Icelandic powerhouses who dominate the female side of the sport. She has won the games twice, 2015 and 2016, after a mental setback in 2014. She was originally a track athlete and gymnast and her sporting background has clearly stood her in good stead for CrossFit glory.
Despite never actually winning the games, Sara is a leading figure in the sport of CrossFit. Sponsored by Nike, she is another of the Icelandic dynamos and has a very likeable personality making her the perfect CrossFit athlete to watch. Only time will tell if she'll achieve the title of Fittest Woman On Earth eventually.
Toomey is an Australian weightlifter who competed for her country in the 2016 Olympics only a few weeks after appearing at the CrossFit games. With her background in lifting, she is a strong competitor and achieved an amazing win at the 2017 and 2018 games. She is now the one to watch after beating Katrin Davidsdottir in a nail-biting final.
Follow the WODs.
Each day, a new WOD is released on the CrossFit website. CrossFitters from around the globe are invited to have a go, Rx'd or scaled, and post their results in the forum. Some WODs are for time, some for reps, some for rounds. The beauty of CrossFit is how varied the workouts are and you never know what you're going to get. You have to be ready for anything, from a heavy lifting session to a gruelling run, which is why it conditions your fitness so well. Have a go at any of the WODs that are published and compare your results to others so you can see where you stand.
The biggest WODs in the CrossFit arsenal are the Hero Workouts. Each workout is named after a member of the armed forces who died in combat and they are always notoriously tough workouts. Some of the most renowned are Murph, DT, and Fran, with true enthusiasts marking their territory by asking newbies "What's your Fran time?" All this means is how long did it take you to complete this particular workout. All of the Hero Workouts can be found on the CrossFit website and traditionally one is always completed on Memorial Day in the US.
CrossFit is unlike any other sport out there. It can be intense, but if you're prepared, you'll go far. Here are Sundried ambassadors Tom and Tara's top tips for surviving CrossFit.
1. Don't be intimidated.
Most people's first exposure to CrossFit involves seeing herculean men and women on TV throwing enormous amounts of weight over their head then performing high skill gymnastics. But it's important to remember that these are professionals in the sport of CrossFit. The everyday athletes are your neighbours, friends, and family members just trying to make their lives better through functional training. The largest demographic in CrossFit is mothers aged 30-40.
2. Find yourself a good coach.
The moves taught and practised in CrossFit are very potent and have a high rate of return on your overall fitness. The coach is there to work with all levels of athletes as they learn and practice the movements. They should be supportive, patient, and a good communicator with your safety and success as their number one priority. If you don't feel that your coach meets these standards, leave them and try the next CrossFit box around the corner. There are a lot of options and personalities to choose from.
3. Be patient.
Technique-> Consistency-> Intensity. This is the pattern for safety and success in CrossFit. The movements, the strength, the speed, and the results will all come with time. Just because you could deadlift a few hundred pounds back in the day, does not mean you are ready to do so right now. Gentlemen, check your ego at the door. Ladies, don't be afraid to lift weights.
4. Be ready to make new friends
When you walk into CrossFit gym, you'll probably notice that there is minimal equipment. The walls aren't lined with mirrors and the crowd of people waiting for the next class to begin aren't wearing headphones. For the most part they'll be regular folks chatting with each other about regular things. They'll most likely ask for your name and introduce themselves. They'll encourage and cheer you on during workouts and when you come back they'll remember your name. Soon you'll have new friends with whom you associate outside of the gym.
5. Have Fun
This is probably the most important point. Fitness is about making yourself better in all aspects of life. Have fun with it. “The goal is to get fit, make it the best hour of your day, stay safe, turn up the music, high five some people, and blow off some steam. So remember that. Relax. Have fun. Work out.” –Pat Sherwood.
Make sure you're comfortable in your CrossFit gear. Take a look at Sundried's women's and men's collections to find your next exercise outfit and look the real deal at the box.
If you're looking to mix up your workout routine and get real results, then this CrossFit workout is for you. Get ready for some serious sweat but also all the fun that a good CrossFit WOD is famous for.
Will CrossFit make you bulky?
This WOD features a few barbell complexes and lifting some serious iron but some women might worry that this sort of workout will make them 'bulky' and 'manly'. Quite the opposite is true; CrossFit is the perfect balance of cardio and weights and you'll burn a lot of calories doing this workout. The only thing that will make you bulky is eating more calories than you burn, so this workout should actually help make you leaner and more athletic.
Will CrossFit get you in shape?
Wanting to 'get in shape' is a very broad term and isn't really a good goal to have. When setting fitness goals, it's important to have a solid goal in mind with a time frame and that is measurable and realistic. Rather than saying "I want to get in shape", you should instead say "I want to be able to deadlift 100kg/220lbs within 6 months and lose 5kg". This goal is much more realistic and is also measurable and has a time frame.
In this vein, it's impossible to say whether CrossFit will 'get you in shape' as this is such a vague question. What CrossFit will do is improve your cardiovascular fitness, lung capacity, and with the right diet could also help you lose weight and burn fat thereby improving your physique.
Which CrossFit shoes are the best?
Before you start this CrossFit workout for women, you need to make sure you have the correct and best shoes for CrossFit. As there are so many different movements and complexes in a CrossFit workout, you need shoes that are versatile and have a sturdy sole for heavy lifts while also being flexible and comfortable enough for running and jumping.
You can read more on the difference between CrossFit shoes and training shoes to help you decide which shoes will be best for you. We highly recommend investing in a pair of CrossFit specific shoes like the Nike Metcon shoes or Reebok Nano shoes.
CrossFit Workout For Women – WOD – Workout Of The Day
This WOD takes the form of Tabata which is a type of high intensity interval training (HIIT). You will perform each exercise for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds before moving straight onto the next exercise. There are 8 exercises in total meaning this WOD will last only 4 minutes – but the benefits will last a lifetime!
- Deadlifts – beginners use 40kg, intermediates use 60kg, advanced use 80kg
- Inverted rows
- Chin ups (assisted if necessary)
- Kettlebell swings – beginners use 8kg, intermediates use 12kg, advanced use 16kg
- Front squats – beginners use 30kg, intermediates use 50kg, advanced use 60kg
- Thrusters – beginners use 10kg, intermediates use 20kg, advanced use 30kg
- Overhead press – beginners use 10kg, intermediates use 20kg, advanced use 30kg
It seems a little insane how much the correct pair of shoes can change your workout, but if anyone has taught us that a pair of shoes can flip your entire situation over completely it’s Cinderella.
According to a study from the American College of Sports Medicine, 85% of individuals are using the incorrect shoes when they go out on a run. For the easiest way to avoid injuries and help boost your workouts, why not try getting professionally fitted for your shoes?
(Make sure you read to the end for a special gym and running shoes discount!)
The Importance of Wearing Proper Shoes
Let’s start off with something a little simpler, walking shoes compared with running shoes. It turns out that by wearing the incorrect shoes for your run, you could end up with extremely serious injuries.
The reason behind this is that when you walk, the weight is far better spread out on your feet than when you run. This is because your weight is more concentrated on your heels and they need to be able to absorb two to three times of your total body weight.
Walking shoes are designed to be more flexible, allowing for greater comfort during your evening walkabouts. However, running shoes are a lot sturdier and are designed to take much more pressure, thereby aiding in the protection against knee injuries.
These include knee dislocations, which I have experienced, or ankle tears, tears in your muscles or tendons, and even injuries to the bones themselves.
Which Shoes Should You Use and When?
With so many benefits to choosing the correct shoe, you may be wondering if you need a specific shoe for your CrossFit workouts as well. The answer to that is yes, you do.
When engaging in complex moves that require a lot of balance, CrossFit-specific shoes will aid in helping you to maintain your form. They will also help ensure that you have a higher level of protection when performing the workout and thereby reduce the risk of injury.
They provide the necessary support to your body, particularly to your joints such as your knees and ankles during your workouts, which is essential when ensuring the longevity of your health and safety against injury.
They are built to endure many, many CrossFit workouts whereas your average walking or running shoe may give out underneath the pressure and they are therefore a better investment of your time and money.
Added Benefits of Wearing Proper Shoes
A further benefit of wearing the correct shoes for the correct activity is that you will then be guaranteed to utilise your energy potential better thereby having more effective, efficient, and longer workouts with greater performance.
You can do that by wearing CrossFit shoes for CrossFit or running shoes for running workouts. A further benefit to wearing CrossFit shoes for working out or weightlifting is that they are more beneficial to supporting you than walking or running shoes.
Now you may be wondering what the main benefits of running shoes are, especially stacked against the comparative advantages of CrossFit shoes. Running shoes, especially those with soft mid soles, have an extra ability to protect you against the varied surfaces which you run upon.
The softer the midsole of your shoe is, the better cushioning you will have against the varied surfaces you are exposed to. However, the softest ones wear out within a few months.
Foot Injuries From Wearing Improper Shoes
If you are worried about knee injuries, having a proper running shoe is essential as overpronation or the act of turning your foot inside as you run increases the likelihood of your knee dislocation. Other problems linked to turning in of your foot are shin splints, foot ailments such as bunions, and plantar fasciitis.
The other problem with foot placement, is when you push your foot too far outward as you run, known as supination this accentuates stress upon on your joints, muscles and tendons.
Furthermore, running with this form increases the likelihood of knee injury. Apart from that, running with the correct running shoes will also provide greater grip against a variety of surfaces and aid with protection against the various elements.
What About Fashion?
Finally, you may find yourself wondering about something that only really runs across your mind once you enter the fitness apparel store or surf for options online - shoe style.
Well, you will be more than happy to know that both running shoes and CrossFit shoes are made for the style conscious gym-goers in mind. They usually need something that is both functional and gorgeous enough to motivate them to want to get into the gym.
If you’re wondering what the best rated CrossFit shoes are, here are some of the best. Nike Romaleo 3 and New Balance Men MX409V3 Cross Trainers are great options if you are hoping to get the most investment per dollar spent. If, however, you are hoping to make a long term investment and are looking to spend a little more, then there is the Reebok CrossFit Nano 5.0 or the 7.0.
Moving on here are some great running shoes for your consideration, one on the lower end of the price spectrum is the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3, or the Hoka One One Challenger ATR3 and for the fashionable out there how about the Brooks Ravenna 8 or perhaps Reebok OSR Harmony Road.
Barefoot running and training is a growing trend as it promises to prevent injury and strengthen muscles that are usually neglected. By training in barefoot shoes, your feet are closer to the ground and therefore you gain a slight power advantage in your lifts.
Barefoot shoes can be great for CrossFit as they provide a stable base and you will be able to feel the floor beneath your feet which is great for stability in heavy lifts. Not only this, they're very versatile so you can then do rope climbs in your barefoot shoes, transition to a quick run, and then transition to skipping or jumping.
Enjoy an exclusive discount on Sundried's men's and women's barefoot shoes using code KICKS for a huge 50% off and take your CrossFit training to the next level.
Now, For the Workout
You may be wondering which type of workout is best for you, what type of physical exercise will motivate you and engage you, what activity best suits your unique preferences and personality, well there is a test for that.
You do not have to limit yourself to one type of activity or simply the sports or methods of training that everyone around you is doing. As an individual, you can benefit from trying something different.
Who knows CrossFit might just be the best thing ever for you? Therefore, when planning on beginning an undertaking such as CrossFit, make sure to invest in the correct tools and clothing for that particular fitness niche to protect yourself during the activity and to have the most effective workout with the greatest amount of energy conservation as possible. Therefore, I humbly decree it is time to go shoe shopping! I know I can’t wait.
About the author: Sarah writes for Kicks Choice. She is passionate about workout activities and she puts great importance on maintaining leg and foot health as well.
Staying fit and active in winter takes a lot of motivation and it can be easy to succumb to hibernation mode and comfort food. Try this heart-pumping winter metcon workout to keep your fitness up this festive period.
Related: What Is A Metcon Workout?
Winter Metcon Workout
EMOM: Every Minute On the Minute | 10 minutes total |
- 5 burpees
- 15 kettlebell swings (men use 16kg, women use 10kg)
- 5 inch worms
- 10 press ups
- 10 jumping squats
- 20 mountain climbers
- 10 push press (men use 10kg medicine ball, women use 5kg)
- 20 stiff legged deadlifts (men use 12kg dumbbells, women use 8kg)
- 10 jumping lunges
- 10 star jumps
Rest for 5 minutes
AMRAP: As Many Reps As Possible | 5 minutes total |
- Jumping lunges – 60 seconds
- Clean and press – 90 seconds – 50% of your 1RM
- Deadlifts – 90 seconds – 70% of your 1RM
- Overhead press – 60 seconds –50% of your 1RM