CrossFit Training: A Complete Guide

Nikhil Goswami

CrossFit training started a few years ago but has completely transformed the fitness world. It became popular when box gyms started appearing in the U.S. and around the world. Today, over 14,000 affiliated gyms in over 120 countries practice CrossFit.

This training style allows members to work out competitively to reach their goals and maintain that lifestyle.

Despite its popularity, you might not know what it actually entails. So, do you want to know if this program is right for you? Read on to find out more.

This article will cover everything about CrossFit and fitness goals, from an in-depth definition to health benefits and drawbacks.

What Is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that consists of a workout done at a high-intensity level to strengthen and condition you.

The movements you make during a CrossFit session are similar to those you make in your everyday life. These movements include pushing, pulling, walking, squatting, and more.

Most workouts consist of variations of weightlifting, squats, and pull-ups-, which are meant to last for a specific period to help build your muscles. CrossFit workouts differ from traditional ones in requiring you to do a certain number of reps over a certain duration.

According to the CrossFit Journal, this form of HIIT is quite effective because it features various aspects, such as distance, speed, and load, which, in turn, helps to boost your power levels. The required equipment for this workout varies, but some of them include medicine balls, plyo boxes, speed ropes, and kettlebells.

CrossFit and Orange Theory have some similarities, one of which is the Workout of the Day (WOD). This entails a workout that all members must do on the same day. With the WOD, complete them as often as possible during the predetermined time period.

You can find this workout on the official CrossFit page for free. Also, the website has a section that teaches you all the terms that CrossFitters use.

Furthermore, there is a section on the page with substitutions that inform you of alternatives you can do if you do not have the capacity to perform the WOD.

According to Tracey Magee, the CrossFit Clan Performance Center owner, CrossFit is a workout you can scale and modify regardless of your fitness level to accommodate your goals and current fitness level.

Are CrossFit Workouts For Everyone?

Now, you might wonder if CrossFit is for you, which is perfectly normal because you are not the only one. Most people believe CrossFit is for a specific type of person – someone who is ripped, young, etc.

However, all certified CrossFit trainers would beg to differ. They believe that CrossFit is beneficial to all people regardless of their age or workout capabilities. 

There is also space for kids to train through CrossFit Kids. These classes are great for children because it helps them build their balance, motor skills, and coordination. Having kids start training early puts them ahead of the fitness games and conditions them to love and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, CrossFit consists of activities that people of all ages require. It is beneficial to everyone because these are activities that people do daily; they just do them to various degrees. Hence, CrossFit helps people of all ages perform these movements at their own pace.

For example, squatting. This is a movement that everyone does, from a 50-year-old athlete to a 24-year-old competitive athlete. After all, we all need to squat to pick up an item from the ground.

Thus, CrossFit helps all members achieve that. The only difference is that older athletes do it slower than younger ones; hence their training would be less intensive. CrossFit workout varies by degree (intensity) and not by kind (type of workout). Therefore, it is optimal for everyone.

Another factor that inspires people of all ages and athletic capabilities to partake in CrossFit is the healthy spirit of competition.

Most CrossFit gyms take advantage of strategic moves such as showcasing winners on social media or keeping a scoreboard. However, these actions are not reward-based but simply act as a means of motivating members to achieve their goals. you can also take muscle building supplements to gain muscle mass & strength.

What Are The Health Benefits Of A CrossFit Workout?

Just like traditional workouts, CrossFit has numerous health benefits. Here are a few benefits you might enjoy should you choose to become a Cross Fitter.

  • Improve Physical Strength

Due to the highly intensive, multi-joint movements that CrossFit entails, you will be able to improve your stamina and strength. However, you can only achieve this improvement if you are consistent and exercise the right way.

If you want to increase your muscle mass further, you can add extra weights to your great workout, which increases the stress on your muscles, thereby increasing their mass.

Another impressive way to challenge your muscles and reach your goal faster is to partake in the WOD, which offers a variety of exercises for your muscles.

  • Improve Aerobic Fitness

CrossFit also includes high-intensity power training (HIPT), which helps to increase your VO2 max. You can also consider VO2 max the highest amount of oxygen you can use when exercising.

That said, there is not enough research to back the short and long-term effects of CrossFit relating to aerobic benefits and physiological changes. Researchers need to do more studies to completely understand the impact of CrossFit on aerobic fitness compared to typical forms of exercise.

  • Improved Flexibility, Agility, and Balance

CrossFit workouts typically contain exercises or movements that you aim to mimic actions to make on a daily basis. Hence, certain exercises such as kettlebell swings, overhead presses, and others help improve balance, agility, and flexibility, which would significantly positively affect your daily life.

Furthermore, these workouts can help limit your risk of sustaining an injury and maintain your quality of life as you age.

  • Lose calories and Maintain Weight

You might be able to lose more weight doing CrossFit workouts than you would with any other workout. Generally, a 195-pound man doing CrossFit would lose about 14 to 19 calories per minute.

Alternatively, a 165-pound woman would lose about 12 to 16 calories per minute. Furthermore, there is a possibility that you would still lose calories after a training session, and you are in the recovery stage.

This calorie loss is more significant than the 11 calories (for men) and 9 calories (for women) you would lose by doing typical exercises like weightlifting with machines.

If you intend to lose weight doing CrossFit, you should also try adding a healthy diet to your routine to achieve your goal faster.

  • Improves Mental Health

Exercise releases dopamine which keeps you happier and stress-free. Most people say they are more productive if they include exercise in their daily routine. Moreover, you get a sense of pride and confidence after your workout. When you get your body moving, you also won’t have the time to sit back and wallow in self-pity.

What To Know Before Trying A Crossfit Gym

CrossFit is a dynamic program with numerous aspects that might seem overwhelming. So, if you want to join a class soon and do not know what to expect, here are some things you might need to know.


CrossFitters like to use acronyms and other unconventional words during classes. You might see them using the terms verbally or writing them down on the board. Here are some terms you might encounter in your class.

  • WOD (Workout of the Day) – As mentioned earlier, this is a daily workout that all members should do, and you can find it on the CrossFit website.
  • EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute) – This term is used when you are expected to complete a certain workout within 60 seconds and then use the remaining time left in the minute to rest in preparation for the next.
  • AMRAP (As Many Reps as Possible) – This is pretty straightforward, and it simply means you should do as many reps as possible within a specific amount of time.
  • Box – This is a CrossFit that has all you need to perform the WODs.
  • Ladder – This is a series of exercises in which you have to increase the rep number by 1 each time you do them. For example, you would do five squats, then six, then seven, etc.
  • Zone Diet – This is a healthy diet endorsed by CrossFit. The diet is mostly based on macronutrients, which is fantastic for your health.
  • SQ – Squat.
  • PR (Personal Record) – This is your personal best for a certain exercise. For instance, completing a specific number of squats in a minute.
  • Hero WOD – These WODs are titled after first responders who died while on duty. These exercises are especially challenging to remind members of the sacrifices these first responders made for the country.

Starting Crossfit Gyms

After finding a box in your area, you would need to go there and register. Keep in mind that most centers expect beginners to sign up for two or three one-on-one training sessions.

These sessions typically cost between $150 to $300, and they are especially helpful if you do not have experience with CrossFit or intensive training. They are optimal because they let you work on your skills and fitness at your own pace. The sessions also help to build your confidence before you start intensive training.

After these private training sessions, you can register for a group class or continue with your personal trainer. Most people opt for group classes, but sticking with personal training is a valid option, especially if you do not feel comfortable enough to work out on your own.

With time, your instructor would show you the ropes. They would teach you all the proper forms, introduce you to all the equipment, and inform you about diets. Afterward, you should be comfortable enough to increase your fitness level and work independently.

As a beginner, you should start with fewer classes a week. You can visit the gym two to three times weekly, and this will give your body time to adjust to the new movements and training volume.

What are The Health Risks Of CrossFit?

While CrossFit is a beneficial program that can help you achieve your body goals and stay fit, there are some risks you need to know before deciding to join. The most prominent risk of this program is injury.

Seeing as CrossFit is a form of high-intensity workout, it increases your risk of injuries. This is because anytime you increase your workout intensity or the weight you lift, you are increasing your chances of sustaining an injury.

According to a study, 20 percent of CrossFitters who partook in a survey noted that they had sustained an injury from doing CrossFit-backed workouts. This means that 20 percent of CrossFitters would experience an injury at some point while working out, which is too high a rate for recreational activity.

The most common injuries people get from CrossFit include:

  • Tennis elbow (Inflammation of the elbow from repeated muscle use)
  • Achilles tendonitis (inflammation or irritation of the Achilles tendon)
  • Low back pain
  • Knee injuries

How To Reduce The Risks When Practicing CrossFit

Injuries seem to be a slightly common issue with CrossFit. However, there are some precautions you can take to ensure you reduce your chances of hurting yourself. Here are some ways to avoid injuries and risks as a CrossFitter.

  • Start Slow

Starting a new workout routine is exciting, and you probably want to go all in so that you can see results quickly. However, it is best to start slow. Take your time to get accustomed to this style of training. Working with a trained professional is a great idea because they would ensure you have the right form and are doing the exercises properly.

If you do not have the right form, move through exercise quickly, or lift more than what works for you, you can badly hurt yourself. So, start slow, and with time, you can increase your intensity without running the risk of severe injuries.

  • Select the Appropriate Gym and Coach

All CrossFit exercises work great and have proven to give results. However, when done improperly, it can have adverse effects.

As mentioned earlier, you need to enlist an experienced coach who knows when to increase workout intensity and weight. If you choose an inexperienced coach, they might increase your exercise volume quicker than you can handle, leading to fatigue and injury.

Hence, CrossFitters (especially new members) should find and join top-notch CrossFit gyms with experienced coaches who can teach you the correct forms and ensure you exercise at an adequate rate.

  • Consider Your Condition

While CrossFit is considered safe for everyone, you need to think about your condition before you start exercising.

For example, CrossFit may not be best for you if you are pregnant. Pregnant people who have been practicing CrossFit may be able to continue. However, you should consult your doctor first.

On the other hand, if you are pregnant, have never done CrossFit, or have little experience, you should wait until after birth to commence the program.

Furthermore, you must consider factors like previous injuries or serious health conditions. You might be able to practice CrossFit, but ensure your doctor gives you the go-ahead before you start.

  • Age

People who are over 65 and are in perfect health (physically fit) may not need CrossFit. The program may not be safe to try, but if you are passionate about CrossFit, ensure to speak to your doctor before commencing.

  • Communicate With Your Coach

Granted, it is vital to consult our doctor before joining CrossFit, but your doctor will not be there with you during sessions. Hence, it is also important that you speak to your coach or trainer before starting anything. Inform them of any restrictions or limitations you might have.

After the conversation, your coach should be able to assess you properly and determine if they need to make any modifications to your workout. These modifications could include training volume for a specific workout or movements you cannot handle.

Can You Perform CrossFit At Home?

Most CrossFit workouts do not require sophisticated equipment; in some cases, you do not need equipment at all. Therefore, you can perform CrossFit exercises at home. However, before you do so, ensure you learn all there is to know about the sessions from a certified trainer.

Furthermore, you can get creative if you think you might need equipment like kettlebells or dumbbells but don’t have any. Consider filling a backpack with books or filling up a water bottle and using it.

You do not have to limit yourself to these options. You can always find something at home to use. All you need to do is ensure that whatever you use is heavy enough to have an impact on your muscles.

That said, it might be best to visit a box because it gives you a chance to connect with other members, and you can compete with them (in a healthy way), which could lead to you achieving your goal faster.

Aspects Of CrossFit You Can Incorporate Into Your Traditional Workout

You do not need to jump right into CrossFit to take advantage of the program. If you feel that you are not ready to attack the program with full force, you can still take some features from it and add them to your current routine. Here are some of those features.

  • Functional Movements

Functional movements are movements you make daily without even realizing it. For instance, tying your shoelaces. In order to do this, you need to be able to touch your toes. However, if you incorporate a little flexibility training into your routine, you should be able to easily tie your laces in no time.

Functional movements also help to prevent injuries you may get in your daily life. This is because if you constantly do basic movements like squatting or lifting heavy objects from the ground in your workout, your muscles will adapt and move that way when it’s time to perform these movements.

  • As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP)

Most CrossFit workouts require you to perform as many rounds or reps as possible during a predetermined time frame.

You can do this by yourself, but you need to start small. Start by getting a timer and setting it to one minute. Then, try to do five push-ups, squats, and jumping jacks each.

Do them as many times as you can during this one-minute period. If you do not feel tired after the minute, you can increase your timer to two minutes and work your way up as you go on.

  • Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM)

This is also something you can try on your own. First, get your timer and set it to a minute. Afterward, give yourself a specific number of push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, and other exercises to do. Start your timer and do the number of push-ups you decided on. After completing them, rest for the remaining time left in that minute. Immediately the time runs out, start the next exercise. Do this until you have completed all the exercises.

This style of exercising is fantastic because it helps to improve your recovery time and raises your heart rate quickly in a short period.

Conclusion: What Is CrossFit Training Good For?

Ultimately, CrossFit is a fantastic way to lose weight, gain muscles, and stay fit. The best thing about this program is that it benefits all age groups and fitness levels.

However, to enjoy the benefits of this type of workout, you need to ensure that you do it the right way. This includes picking the right coach and gym, starting slow, consulting your doctor, stretching properly, using the proper forms, and eating right. If you can do all of these, then you will definitely see the effects of this training style on your life, body, and health. You can also take a look at best pre-workout supplements, that will enhance your endurance during the workout.

That said, you do not need to join a class to benefit from CrossFit. You can take some factors from the program and add them to your current routine until you are ready for more intensive CrossFit classes.

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