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Fit Enough for CrossFit: Do You Need to be In Shape to Start CrossFit?

Spoiler Alert!

I can answer this question right off the bat.


You do not need to be fit, in shape, young or at your ideal weight, or even close to your ideal weight, to start CrossFit.

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.Zig Ziglar

I know you want a more complete answer, so let’s talk.

I will cover why you can start CrossFit at just about any weight, any age or any fitness level, and what you can expect from Coaches and members if you fall into any of these categories.

two fit people on the background in crossfit gym

Too Heavy for Crossfit? Can I start CrossFit if I’m Really Overweight?

This is one of the most common questions I hear about starting CrossFit.

If you are overweight, or morbidly obese, and are considering CrossFit, you are in good company.

Overweight people join CrossFit everyday and coaches are trained to adjust the workout for all fitness levels.

What you can expect, if you are overweight or out of shape:

  • Your coach will “scale” the movements to your fitness level.
  • Other members support you where you are at, regardless of fitness level.

I know one woman who was unable to climb one flight of stairs without being out of breath for a few minutes or sit comfortably in a restaurant booth before she started CrossFit.

Her coach scaled the WOD for her, according to what she could do.

When she started, she could not hang from the bar longer than 10 seconds. After a year of CrossFit, she can now do Toe’s to the Bar.

You are your own worst enemy

Usually, you are your own worst critic in class. You might berate yourself for not being able to do what others do, or feel like you are not good enough.

Others in the class, including your coach, cheer you on, and you should do the same!

It’s encouraging to see a struggling athlete stick with it and meet a milestone.

They deserve the loudest cheers because those milestones are the hardest to reach.

It’s a funny twist of human nature, but think of it like this:

Everyone is more excited to see a baby take his first steps or say those first words, and that’s how it is at the box.

Folks are excited with you when you meet those first milestones, no matter how small you think they may be.

It is satisfying to see the underdog win.

people in CrossFit gym

Too Old For CrossFit? Do Middle Age or Seniors get into CrossFit?

You may ask – What if I am middle aged, and sedentary?

Do you wonder if you can keep with the young fit athletes you imagine the local box is filled with?

I tell you what.

There will be young fit people at your local CrossFit Gym.

But there will also be middle aged dad’s, soccer moms, overweight youngsters, and even a few retirees in the mix.

What can an older person expect from a CrossFit Gym?

The same thing everyone receives;

  • An attentive coach who takes the time to carefully evaluate them and their needs and adjust their workout accordingly.
  • Plenty of peer support and a community that cares about their progress.

Your Ticket to Success: Fundamentals and “On Ramp” Classes

Most CrossFit Gyms offer some sort of beginner class, sometimes called an On Ramp, Fundamentals, or Bootcamp class.

These classes cater to your novice status.

They follow the prescribed WOD and scale it to your ability. The coaches focus on perfecting your form and teach you to scale exercises on your own.

Once you have the basics down, you have the tools you need to join the regular class and scale as needed.

Tip for Older folks:

CrossFit Cardio can be intense. It is a good idea to talk to your doctor to get cleared for CrossFit. Most will be supportive of your exercise efforts.

You might also want to invest in a CrossFit fitness watch to monitor your heart rate.

Keep in mind, your Max heart rate = 220bpm – age.

So if you are 60 years old, it is 220-60=160. A fitness tracker with HR monitor can let you know what your real time heart rate is so you know when to scale down the cardio.

Looking for some Inspiration?

Watch this 78 year old CrossFit Athlete pound out a workout that would floor many younger guys. It is NEVER too late.

78-Year-Old Grandfather Kill It during CrossFit

Too Weak for CrossFit? I am Puny and Lack Upper Body Strength, Can I do CrossFit?

If you can not do a pull up, a proper push up, or get two feet off the ground during a rope climb, guess what?

You are just like me when I started.

CrossFit is just what you need.

Many people who join can’t do these exercises, and some take years get there.

You are worried about what you can and can’t do, and that fear is normal.

Here’s the Truth:

What you need to know is, coaches are adept at training people just like you and do so every day. They have your back.

The coaches will scale workouts until you are able to do the WOD as prescribed.

You should also look into taking the gyms Fundamentals or On Ramp class, which are offered to you when you go to the gym to join.

You are in good hands.

No matter where you are at physically, CrossFit can certainly be for you.

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Have a question or comment?

Hit me up in the comment box below, I would love to hear from you!