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You don’t need to “Get Fit” for CrossFit

There is a huge misperception among the entire fitness community, and especially those not yet doing CrossFit (obviously) that CrossFit is way too difficult and that you need to get in shape before ever attempting to do this sort of workout program. This couldn’t be further from the truth.  (Side note: cool article on the CrossFit Journal about the diversity of workouts in CrossFit here.)

I want to give a shoutout to Olivia Beard who told me to write about this last week. It’s a really important topic to talk about, and I definitely should have gone into it beforehand. Thanks for the heads up, Olivia.

Olivia’s Story:

We’ll start with Olivia herself. She’s a bundle of energy whenever I see her, and she’s great to have in the box. She was also one of our first 10 members, and for that she’ll always have a special place in our box. All of that being said, it took a little bit to get her into CrossFit.

She had two very close friends join Summit as soon as we opened the door, and it still took both of them coming five times a week and telling her for a month, “You’ll be fine! You can do this!” for her to believe them and give it a try.

In her own words, “it’s intimidating, and before you try it, you definitely feel like you need to get in shape.” I totally understand this mindset. If all you see is the sport of CrossFit on ESPN in the summer, it’s pretty easy to think to yourself, “Wow, that is pretty intense. I’m not sure I can do a 120 yard handstand walk.” Well, here’s a little truth for you: neither can I.

Our secret: Scaling

Here is an apparently little known fact about CrossFit workouts: they are infinitely scalable. I like to say, first we scale the weight, then we scale the reps, then we scale the entire move. What this means is:

  1. Take the weight down. If you can’t do a deadlift repeatedly with 135 pounds, 95 pounds, WHATEVER POUNDS just make it lighter.
  2. Maybe 15 per round is too much. Cool, let’s try 10. No? Ok, maybe 7 would be better.
  3. Hey, maybe that move just isn’t right for you. Maybe you’ve had an injury in the past that prevents you from putting your arm over your head (looking at you football players) no big deal.

The fact is, when you walk into a CrossFit class, you may see 10 people all doing the same workout, and yet two of them may be doing pull ups, five may be doing jumping pull ups, and the other three may be doing ring rows. Someone may be doing wall balls with a soccer ball (happens in our place all the time – can take the boy away from the game but can’t take the game away from the boy). You may see half of the class with a barbell and the others not using any weight. It may LOOK like two completely different workouts. That’s called scaling, and it’s magical.

You don’t need to get in shape to do this

CrossFit is seriously for everyone. Any qualified coach can make it so you feel comfortable and able to get a good workout in without being put in a dangerous position, or stressed beyond your limits.

Let’s say, just for the sake of saying, that you someday want to be able to do a muscle up. Great goal. Let me just ask you this. What get’s you closer to this, training with people who want the same thing, have been there and done that, or spending another lonely morning on your apartment’s treadmill?

Not that I have anything against your apartment’s treadmill, but I’m kinda partial to the cool people I’ve met training in CrossFit boxes literally across the globe.

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