What Is CrossFit and How to Get Started

The CrossFit Culture

CrossFit has a cult-like following because of the tight-knit community that the boxes encourage. CrossFitters encourage and cheer one another on and everyone feels a great sense of accomplishment when done. It's a fun, exciting and challenging way to work out that's scalable for everyone, regardless of age, sex or athletic ability. A CrossFit box owner in Michigan recently said that a client of his felt more accepted at CrossFit than at her church.

The CrossFit Critics

CrossFit has plenty of critics who believe that randomized high-intensity training is not specific enough to be great in a sport like triathlon, running or swimming. This may be true but in the offseason, many of those who are at the highest level of their sport are using CrossFit for preseason condition. Naysayers also say that CrossFit leads to injuries. From experience, both doing the program and teaching it, is that if you build a good foundation, do the exercises correctly and don't do too much too soon, you'll greatly reduce the risk of injury—the same as with any other sport.

More: 4 Injury Prevention Tips to Do When You Exercise

The CrossFit Benefits

CrossFit is a great way to lose body fat, inches off your belly while boosting your metabolism to get a leaner physique. It may also improve your biomarkers for health like blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin and lipids.

How to Get Started?

If you want to get started, find a local affiliate and drop in to watch a class and meet the instructors: http://map.crossfit.com/

You can also read up on how to start doing CrossFit WODs on your own: How to Start CrossFit

More: 3 CrossFit Workouts to Sculpt Your Body

Three At-Home WODs for Beginners

10 Rounds For Time:

  • 10 Push-ups
  • 10 Air Squats
  • 10 Tuck Jumps
  • Do As Many As Possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes:

  • 5 Pushups
  • 10 Sit-ups
  • 15 Air Squats
  • Run 1 Mile:

  • Do 10 push-ups every one minute while you run.
  • WODs For the Traveler

    There are numerous websites, like the Traveling WOD, which is devoted to CrossFit travel WODs. It's designed for CrossFitters who are unable to get to a box or their home gym.

    More: Try This Full-Body CrossFit Workout

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    About the Author

    Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD

    Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD is a San Francisco-based sports dietitian. She is the coauthor of Energy to Burn: The Ultimate Food Guide to Fuel Your Active Life (Wiley, 2009) and The Real Skinny: 101 Fat Habits & Slim Solutions (Penguin, 2013).

    Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD is a San Francisco-based sports dietitian. She is the coauthor of Energy to Burn: The Ultimate Food Guide to Fuel Your Active Life (Wiley, 2009) and The Real Skinny: 101 Fat Habits & Slim Solutions (Penguin, 2013).

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