Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting started in CrossFit

Some of the most common concerns about CrossFit that I hear:  It's expensive. It's intimidating. There's a lot of pull-ups. There's a lot of new lifts. I don't know how to start.

All of these things kept me from starting CF for years, even when one of our best friends started his very own gym. Eventually, he convinced me to give things a try when he described CF as just taking weight from the floor to above your head, and doing it as fast as you can. I thought that didn't seem so bad, so I decided to add in some CF to what I was already doing.

Now, even though I managed to get started on my own, I do feel strongly that a CrossFit affiliate gym is by far the best place to get the proper introduction on all of the lifts and exercises. However, these gyms are often pricey. So even though in an ideal world, we would all get training at our local CrossFit, I think the beauty of this "sport of fitness" is that it is functional movement that can be done almost anywhere. Something CF prides itself in is making fitness accessible to EVERYONE. So, I truly believe that if you are safe and know your own limits, you should be able to work your way through almost any workout. Here are a few things I found helpful when I started:

  • CrossFit.com "Get Started" page. I cannot emphasize this enough. I would start here, read about CF and the reasoning and science behind it. When you decide to get started, they have hundreds of videos and resources available. If you cannot find a lift or WOD demo here, then look on YouTube or google.
  • CrossFit Omaha has a great list of Workouts on the Road (a link on the main page). These do not require any weights or fancy equipment. This is how I got started. Pick one of these a day or a couple per week, do them to the best of your ability, and see how you feel. If you are anything like me, this will get you hooked!
  • After you are hooked, then look at BrandX WOD scaling. This website posts scaled down versions of every single WOD posted on the CrossFit page. I found this really helpful at first, until you get the hang of how to scale things down to your personal level.
  • A "Loop" resistance band. I used this to assist with pullups for the longest time.
  • If you already belong to a gym, you can certainly try to do CF workouts there. I found this frustrating after awhile, so I convinced Husband we needed a garage gym (truth be told, he didn't need much convincing at all). We will talk about our garage gym in posts to come.
Hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions, please post below and I'd be happy to (try to) answer!

In closing, here is Greg Glassman's take on World-Class Fitness in 100 Words:
"Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports. "
~Greg Glassman 

He makes it seem so simple. No excuses, right? 



  1. Ok, I have no idea what recipe I've used for cauliflower mashed potatoes! I always google recipes and often lose great ones since I don't save em most the time. I actually needed a vegetable for dinner tonight and thought I'd try a recipe from Paleo Spirit. I had no idea what Paleo was before but it stuck out since I learned about it through your site! http://paleospirit.com/2011/cauliflower-mashed-potatoes/ When looking for recipes I was seeing lots of recipes with butter, cream cheese, etc. so decided to use this one just because it looked as healthy as a cauliflower mashed potato recipe should! I didn't have coconut milk so used regular, used less garlic and kept everything else the same. It was good; better than potatoes would be without butter in my opinion. Surprisingly sweet. I liked the nutmeg and still would do less garlic if I did it again. I think the key is to blend the heck out of it to get the texture as creamy as possible. I've also made a cauliflower alfredo sauce but of course, I don't have that one either. Ha! My all time way to prepare cauliflower is sauteed in a pan with some olive oil and an onion. Not as healthy as this though. I have a question about coconut oil. It's all the rage recently but when I've read about it online and the FDA warns against it. What's your opinion? Personally it scares me to use it since it's a saturated fat.

  2. I have changed over to using almost all coconut oil for my cooking. I did this after reading several books and following Robb Wolf's blog for a while. Basically, I think the pendulum is kind of swinging back to saying fat (including saturated fat) is not bad. Robb Wolf makes a point in saying many times that a lot of the studies which have led to our current FDA guidelines have been flawed. I believe the main thought is that it has not been the saturated fat clogging our arteries, but all this inflammation and insulin that we have hanging around all the time that is causing our cardiovascular disease. One of the big things is correcting an omega 6: omega 3 balance (6s are pro-inflammatory and 3s are anti-inflammatory). Our ratio by eating grain fed animals and lots of nuts, is thrown off, but we can correct it by eating grassfed meat and fish. Coconut oil is a good source of healthy medium-chain fatty acids and has mostly saturated fat, as you mentioned, so it is a good fat source to not provide us more omega 6s (since we are already getting way too many). Coconut is also supposed to be healing for the GI tract and even anti-bacterial itself. I will point you to a very informative post of his: The Big Fat Blog Post (http://robbwolf.com/2011/08/03/big-fat-blog-post-part-1/) because I am not great at explaining the biochemistry behind it all. Probably more info than you wanted, but I hope this helps!!