A Beginner's Guide to CrossFit

Are you thinking of taking up CrossFit to meet your health and wellness goals? Since its inception in the late nineties, CrossFit has become one of the most popular training systems ever created. The founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, wanted to design a functional training system for individuals. He was tired of team sports and wanted to be responsible for his training results. He ended up creating a system that combined body weight and free weight exercises along with Olympic lifts and specialized cardio training. The system focused on building explosive power, while inducing muscular hypertrophy, and an increase in functional movement and mobility.

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CrossFit evolved from a simple website blog, into an international behemoth that now has specialized CrossFit competitions known as ‘The CrossFit Games” Athletes at the games compete in a tournament to crown the champion and the fittest human on earth.
If you are just starting out at your local CrossFit gym or are considering joining an affiliate gym, then here is what you need to know before you take on your first workout.
The Nature of CrossFit Training
CrossFit workouts vary in their description. However, all of them work on the same principles of high-intensity training. HIT requires doing the most amount of work possible in a short timeframe. The goal is to elevate the g=heart rate to maximum levels, with minimal resting periods in-between. Use rest periods in your workout as a means to recover before beginning the next circuit, or exercise.
HIT increases VO2 max, the body’s capacity to absorb oxygen. The effects of all the extra oxygen can be felt long after your workout. EPOC, Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption, is the extended effect of excess oxygen consumption on your metabolism. This effect increases your metabolic rate, burning body fat stores for up to three hours after you have finished training.

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Understanding the CrossFit workout Structure
The CrossFit website promotes a daily WOD, or workout of the day. This workout consists of anywhere from one exercise, to eight exercises, performed in some variation of HIT fashion. Other exercise variations are;
•    EMOM – Every Minute On the Minute. This workout has you complete an activity for a certain amount of reps, every minute on the minute. A typical EMOM workout would be four to six bodyweight and free weight exercises. You would complete 10 to 12 reps of an exercise and then rest before starting the next exercise at the commencement of the next minute. This circuit would typically last for eight to ten rounds.
•    AMRAP – As Many Reps As Possible. This workout would have you complete as many reps as possible in one exercise of a given period. An example would be body weight squats for AMRAP.
There are many other workout variations in the CrossFit model, and it will take you some time to learn them all. However, if you get stuck with anything, just ask the other people in your gym what it means, and they will help you out.

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Creating a Logbook

Getting started with CrossFit is easy, it is keeping it going and adding consistency to your training that is the hard part. Before you head off to the gym to complete your first workout, ask yourself what you are training for and write down your goals. Once you have made a clear statement of your goals, back up that with a commitment to yourself to see them come to fruition. Buy a log book and track your workouts. Measure every lift and every progression you make in rep count, time, and weight you use.

Nutrition and CrossFit Training

CrossFit is a demanding form of exercise that requires you to be feeling your best before every workout. Hard training requires a solid diet that is rich in quality calories from healthy food sources. If you eat like garbage, you can expect to perform like garbage.
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Your diet should consist of rich sources of protein such as salmon, eggs, chicken, and game meats. Avoid red meat wherever you can and replace it with a healthier choice. Refined carbohydrates create inflammation in the GI tract, so make sure that you avoid sugar and flour as much as possible.
If you are struggling to design a diet for yourself, visit a nutritionist. A nutritionist will give you an assessment of your body and create a nutritious diet that will help you meet your goals.

Wrapping Up

Stay dedicated to your training and meet people at your gym that are like-minded. By immersing yourself in the CrossFit community, you will accelerate your training and reach your goals a lot sooner.

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