More and more people in America are getting serious about physical training for health reasons, image, increased capability, and being prepared for tougher times down the road. If you’re serious about being prepared, you realize that one of the most important “tools” at your disposal is your physical body. Stewardship of the body is not just important for overall health, but also essential as the foundation for accomplishing any grueling task.
You may have a lot of questions if you are just starting on the road to fitness. Where do you start? Is running, weight lifting, or calisthenics the best answer? How do you avoid the stagnancy that tends to creep into your workout? I found a good answer to these questions a few of years ago at CrossFit.com. For those of you not familiar with the concept, the CrossFit program creates functional fitness through the controlled chaos of a widely varied exercise program. I will warn you that it is not for the faint of heart! Ever tried doing 150 pullups as PART of your workout? How about 400M of walking lunges? Maybe you’re one of those guys who can effortlessly bang out sets of double unders as you blow through your workout. I haven’t even talked about BURPEES yet (once you’re familiar with sets of them, the mere word strikes fear in the heart of even very fit men)!
Let me break it down for you. Your old workout program – after completing a set of bicep curls, you stroll over to the pec deck while consuming an energy drink and try not to be too obvious as you check yourself out in the wall mirror. Crossfit – after finishing a murderous combination of box jumps, medicine ball throws, and 800M runs you kneel down in the grass and vomit. After some water and rest you’re good to go and ready to take on your day. That pretty much sums it up.
I will admit that even though this program has made up the foundation of my physical exercise plan for the last few years, I still wouldn’t call myself a total CrossFitter. I train at home on a mix of hand made and factory produced equipment instead of at a CrossFit gym. I also incorporate regular runs into my program instead of always doing the WOD (workout of the day). I definitely don’t hold myself to the very strict diet that is an integral part of the program. I mean, hey, you’ve got to reward yourself for that killer workout, right? Regardless, I’ve seen incredible gains as a result of CrossFit and after just under three years of grinding it out there is no stagnancy to be found.
How do you make an aggressive PT program like this really work for you? Here are a few of my tips for beginner:
- Start off by scaling the WOD instead of trying do it Rx, as written.
- Incorporate something you LIKE to do for exercise, such as running, biking, hiking, etc, and make it part of your weekly rotation instead of always doing the WOD.
- ALWAYS watch the helpful instructional videos available on the site before doing an unfamiliar exercise.
- Understand going into it that you will need a substantial amount of equipment if you want to complete most of the workouts at home. That being said, a lot of it can be done with a place to run, a pullup bar, and some basic weights/equipment.
- Bad form is never good exercise and injuries take a long time to recover from. I don’t attempt some of the more complex olympic lifts because I don’t have the back ground and am not comfortable with the form. Don’t let this scare you off as much can be accomplished by just adapting the CrossFit mentality and adapting it to a workout regimen that is good for you.
Before I started this program I was doing the typical running/weight lifting combo and I was definitely in a rut. I’m very glad I gave CrossFit a try and I encourage you to get started and check out their site!