Thinking about giving CrossFit a shot?
But then again…
Maybe you are not sure if CrossFit is the workout for you, or what it can do for you?
Looking back to my first CrossFit class, I really had no idea of ALL the advantages CrossFit had.
Needless to say, the benefits of CrossFit were a happy surprise I discovered as I continued with the program.
I expected to get in better shape, maybe lose a few pounds, but what I got was so much more.
Find out what I believe are the 9 CrossFit benefits you can have once you start CrossFit!
- First Things First
- TOP 9 Benefits of CrossFit
- 1. Burn Fat and Lose Weight
- 2. You Will Get Stronger
- 3. Metabolic Conditioning vs Steady-State Cardio
- 4. Community Aspect
- 5. You Will Have Fun
- 6. Solid Intro to Weight Lifting and Resistance Training
- 7. Cheaper than Personal Trainer with Many of the Same Benefits
- 8. Strengthens Your Mind and Will
- 9. Increases Overall Fitness in 10 Areas
- Can I do CrossFit from Home?
- Wrapping it All Up
First Things First
Before I dig into the benefits of CrossFit, let me answer 2 questions I get all the time, in case these questions are rolling around in the back of your mind too.
Is CrossFit Good for Beginners?
All kinds of “beginners” start CrossFit every day. Beginners of just about every age and fitness level, from teenagers to those over 70, from obese to thin and unmuscular, and even just average folks join CrossFit and have success.
The program is scalable, which means it is adjusted based on what you personally are able to do.
CrossFit classes are a smallish group with a dedicated coach who makes sure everyone has someone on one time to learn the exercises and perform them properly.
If you want more details on the program itself and how it works for beginners, check out my CrossFit guide for beginners.
Do I Need to Be in Shape to Start CrossFit?
Out of shape, un-athletic, fat, skinny fat, weak and otherwise unfit people start CrossFit every day and are shocked at what CrossFit did for them, and what it allowed them to do for themselves.
If you are worried that you will be judged – don’t worry!
Many people are out of shape when they start CrossFit, and many of your classmates can relate, or are still working to achieve their own personal best fitness level.
The coaches are trained to work with out of shape people at their level and increase their fitness at a pace that works for them.
I always tell my friends that CrossFit is like having a personal trainer at a discount price, indefinitely. It also comes with your own cheer squad, if you count your classmates.
The CrossFit culture is one of acceptance and encouragement, which you get from both the coach and classmates.
To be fair…
Your coaches will push you to do your best.
There will always be someone who is more fit than you, and probably someone who is less fit than you at your CrossFit gym.
You will get tired, you will be sore, you may even want to throw up at one point, but it’s worth it if you just stick with it!
Now with those questions out of the way, let’s get to the 9 best benefits of CrossFit.
TOP 9 Benefits of CrossFit
1. Burn Fat and Lose Weight
If you want to join CrossFit to lose fat and shed pounds, this is the workout for you.
One study, done by the University of Wisconsin tested a group of athletes using two different CrossFit WODs or Workout of the Day.
What did they discover?
In their own words:
There is a catch. While CrossFit burns calories, you can only lose weight if you do not end up eating more to make up for the lost calories.
One of my favorite sayings is: “Weight loss happens in the kitchen” and I believe it!
If you truly want to shed fat, you must get your exercise and diet on track.
With that in mind…
I know everyone is different and we each have our own preferences, which is why I create this list of the 7 best eating plans for CrossFit so you can choose a plan that fits your lifestyle and start losing weight and feeling great today!
2. You Will Get Stronger
When folks ask me “What are the benefits of CrossFit?”
I love to tell them that they can look forward to getting stronger.
In this case, I am speaking about physical strength, but I will get to mental strength later on, so stay tuned.
This is especially true if you are starting out when you are out of shape or untrained.
CrossFit is big on Olympic lifts, so you will learn those, and as you progress, you will see your ability to lift more increase. CrossFit also uses kettlebells, your own body weight and dumbbells for resistance training.
Besides all the other benefits of resistance training, getting stronger and being able to do things I could not do before is one of my favorite benefits.
3. Metabolic Conditioning vs Steady-State Cardio
Steady-state cardio is cardio done at the same pace for an extended period of time.
Think of it like riding a recumbent bike at level 5 for a ½ hour, hour hopping on an elliptical trainer and gliding away like a hamster in a hamster wheel at the same speed for the whole workout.
The benefit of steady-state cardio is it does burn calories, and it builds endurance.
Metabolic Conditioning – Used in CrossFit
Metabolic conditioning, which is what is used in CrossFit, is varied intensity and varied intervals of rest and work.
The idea behind metabolic conditioning is that since the work is always changing, your body cannot adapt to it, like it can with steady-state cardio. Your body is continuously challenged.
Timing matters too! Sometimes, metabolic conditioning is scheduled after resistance training or weight lifting.
Because after weight lifting, your body has used the muscle energy stores and it dips into your fat stores to fuel your pursuit.
4. Community Aspect
Many people ask me “What are the advantages of CrossFit?” vs just going to the gym, or working out on my own?
One of my favorite things about CrossFit is the community aspect. Classes are held in small groups, giving you a chance to know your classmates and coach, as you see the same folks again and again.
Your classmates help keep you accountable, like a good workout partner might. They progress alongside you and are a great source of friendly competition which can push you to become a better athlete.
Working out with people who know you and your goals, and you theirs, is very satisfying.
You can cheer each other on as you meet new personal bests, and encourage others when they need it.
Having the expertise of a coach always available, and the support of classmates with goals similar to you is a huge benefit that is hard to come by if you go to a standard gym or workout alone.
5. You Will Have Fun
CrossFit makes fitness fun!
One thing CrossFit has is a novelty. Each day, the workout changes, so you are not doing the same thing, day after day.
Changing things up, on an everyday basis, prevents burnout and boredom.
The friendly competition you have with classmates who are on about the same fitness level as you is fun too.
That’s why people love sports – competition is invigorating!
6. Solid Intro to Weight Lifting and Resistance Training
If you have never lifted weights before, let alone an Olympic barbell, CrossFit is a great intro to weight training, resistance training, and Olympic lifts.
In fact, I think this is one of the best benefits of CrossFit for females, who may be intimidated to use the weight room at a commercial gym.
The coach is there for every class to teach you the exercise, ensure you are using proper form, and to show you how to scale down a movement so you progress at a rate appropriate for you.
If you have never used a barbell before, but want to reap the benefits of resistance training, CrossFit is a great place to start.
7. Cheaper than Personal Trainer with Many of the Same Benefits
CrossFit is a small group class with a trainer who will walk you through the warm-up and teach you mobility skills so you stay flexible and maintain or increase the range of motion you need to perform.
The coach will then head into skill training, where the coach covers the proper technique for the exercises you will do that day.
The coach will monitor your performance and progress, and make suggestions for improvement and encouraging you when you need it.
From time to time the coach will include nutrition education as part of the class curriculum. Sometimes a coach will even initiate a nutrition challenge which members can participate in to get their diet on track.
All of this coaching is included in the membership, and is much less than hiring a private personal trainer.
8. Strengthens Your Mind and Will
CrossFit has a way of making you mentally stronger. When you are working through a WOD, or workout of the day, there will be times you want to stop, quit or GIVE UP!
But at that moment, if you push through, and just do it, you will get stronger mentally.
Your body WILL obey what your mind tells it to do. The more often you just make yourself push through one more rep, one more pull-up, one more kettlebell swing, one more minute, just to push a little bit farther, you will begin to see, it is your mind that is in charge, and you are mentally tough enough to do it.
This thinking will carry over to your everyday life. This “can do” attitude will help you power through things, instead of putting them off.
You will employ the “mind over matter” principle in your life more and more, and the dull and routine tasks of your day will become easier to just get done.
9. Increases Overall Fitness in 10 Areas
CrossFit improves not only the strength and metabolic conditioning I discussed earlier.
CrossFit actually focuses on 10 key areas of improvement.
If you show up to class on a consistent basis, and give it your best, you can expect to improve in these areas:
- cardiovascular/respiratory endurance
Since CrossFit is NOT repetitive, it’s varied, and since the type of exercise is varied, you have the opportunity to cover so many fitness areas.
Your workout will include different exercises and workout equipment. One workout may use an air bike, have you run for a kilometer, use a barbell for Olympic lifts, have you do pull-ups, push-ups, gym rings, a jump rope, barbells, dumbbells…
….you get the picture.
It is easy to see that with so many different exercises, and a different workout each day, it is easy to cover all 10 fitness areas.
Can I do CrossFit from Home?
Many athletes do CrossFit at home full time, or on a part-time basis.
Of course, having an at-home CrossFit gym means you may miss the community aspect, unless you only use the gym part-time, which many do.
You will need to do the programming, and there is no coach to encourage you or hold you accountable.
But there are benefits to building an at-home CrossFit gym.
- You can work out on your own schedule.
- You can focus on personal areas for improvement and do not necessarily have to stick to the WOD.
- You can save time and money with a home gym. No monthly membership fee and no driving to and from the box.
If you are curious about the equipment typically used in a CrossFit gym, or are thinking about setting up your own CrossFit gym, I have a list of the essential CrossFit garage gym equipment you need right here.
Do I Need any Special Equipment, Gear, Clothes or Shoes to Start CrossFit?
Not necessarily, but I do recommend a pair of CrossFit specific shoes.
As far as workout clothes go, if you are female, most wear workout leggings with a tank top or t-shirt made from moisture-wicking athletic material.
For men, its most often a t-shirt and shorts that are loose, but not so loose the get in the way, and long enough to cover to the knee, but NOT longer than knee length because that hinders movement.
As for the CrossFit shoes I mentioned earlier…
CrossFit shoes are something special. They are not like running shoes or casual sneakers.
A good pair of CrossFit shoes will make a difference.
You need shoes that are stable and flat enough for heavy lifting, while being flexible and durable to withstand everything else the WOD throws your way.
Wrapping it All Up
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of CrossFit and know that it is great for beginners and can be done by people for are not in great shape, it’s time to get out there and give it a shot!
Don’t wait, start today. You have nothing to lose.
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