Getting Started with CrossFit: Tips and Common Mistakes

by On Sep 17, 2014
Getting Started with CrossFit: Tips and Common Mistakes

According to, their unique exercise program now has more than 5,500 gym locations and 35,000 accredited trainers worldwide. Clearly, CrossFit is more than a passing fitness fad. Since its start in May 2003, the CrossFit brand has found a global audience who has discovered the benefits of this training program.

Known for its nearly universally accessible workout methods, CrossFit is a new way to train for all sports that you love. CrossFit is an exercise and training program that focused on highly varied, high-intensity workouts and includes a combination of weightlifting, running and stretching.

How CrossFit is Done

CrossFit workouts can take place anywhere. While some gyms are devoted just to CrossFit programs (often referred to as "The Box"), you can do many of the exercise circuits in your house, neighborhood or gym. The CrossFit workout is never the same twice. Each session —called a "Workout of the Day", or WOD in CrossFit-speak, is composed of multiple exercises that are done quickly but safely. CrossFit participants are in charge of pushing themselves as much as possible without injury.

Sometimes, the workouts are timed. During these sessions, you would have to complete as many circuits as possible during the 30- or 45-minute period. Other times, the sessions are number-based. For example, in the "Dirty Thirty" workout, you need to complete 30 of each of the chosen exercises (a lineup that includes burpees, pull-ups and lunges). Since there is no time limit, you advance at your own pace. A beginner may take 45 minutes, whereas someone in top physical shape may take 35 minutes. No matter your time, the focus in CrossFit is on individual improvement, proper form and safe exercise.

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CrossFit trainers are taught how to combine and recombine these basic exercises so that the participants never get bored. The constant change in workout with each session will keep your muscles guessing and ultimately allows you to be in better total shape.

Getting Started with CrossFit: Tips and Common Mistakes

Photo Credit: 123rf

Benefits of CrossFit Training

The unique training process of CrossFit comes with multiple benefits to athletes at all fitness and training levels. Since you advance through each Workout of the Day at your own pace, you control how much you push yourself: In CrossFit, you are your own competition.

The constantly changing, high-intensity workouts keep your body guessing. Because of its structure, the program allows athletes to work out their entire bodies and not just the parts traditionally used in their chosen sport. In another program, a marathoner might focus more on leg workout and running exercises; in CrossFit, the same athlete would work on improving his or her arm strength and core stability just by completing the Workout of the Day.

CrossFit looks at fitness holistically and includes information on proper nutrition. CrossFit trainers teach their students on the best way to fuel the body for maximum workout results.

Common CrossFit Movements and Workout

Many of the pieces of the CrossFit workout are familiar to beginners and include push-ups, pull-ups and sprinting. The goal of CrossFit is not to make you learn new movements but rather to teach you how to combine basic exercise components into a workout that will help with your overall fitness level.

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While you will never do hundreds of weight lifts in CrossFit workouts, the program does make use of kettle bells and weights to create resistance and promote strong, healthy arms, backs and cores. As a part of the workout, you may do 20 or 30 kettle bell swings: The goal here is not to use the heaviest weight but instead to focus your energy on swinging the weights properly.

Other common CrossFit movements include box jumps, burpees, wall throws, deadlifts, squats and lunges.

How to conduct Crossfit safely and correctly

As with any exercise program, you should know your limits before beginning a CrossFit program. Since you choose the intensity with which you complete the Workout of the Day, you need to be aware of your fatigue level throughout. Since many of the exercise components (like pull-ups and sit-ups) seem basic, you may feel the need to push yourself harder than you might in another workout. The biggest mistake that people make in CrossFit is getting overconfident. No matter how great your last workout was, the next one will be different and requires just as much attention and focus as any of the others.

While some believe that CrossFit is too intense for beginners, the program can certainly be undertaken by anyone under the supervision of a certified CrossFit trainer. People who are out of shape need to approach each workout slowly, must carefully listen to the directions given and work with their trainers to modify exercises when appropriate.

Getting Started with CrossFit: Tips and Common Mistakes

Photo Credit: 123rf

No matter what your fitness level, you should complete each Workout of the Day with patience and awareness. Do not try to compete against any of the other CrossFit participants. If you are having trouble with one of the exercises, slow down or ask your trainer for a proper substitution. For example, for those who cannot do a pull-up, a trainer might suggest an assisted pull-up or a reduced load pull-up.

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To properly train with the CrossFit program, you should join a gym that specializes in the training methods or opt to work with CrossFit certified trainer. Doing so will allow people from all fitness levels to get maximum results from the program while also staying safe and injury-free. If you have never used the CrossFit method before, you should not attempt to exercise using the posted Workouts of the Day on the Internet.

Are You Ready to Start?

Because CrossFit is so adaptable, anyone with a basic fitness level can participate in the program. The CrossFit gyms often see everyone from marathon runners to people who swim for fun to stay-at-home parents who need a workout.

In Singapore, several different facilities are available where you can train with a CrossFit program. CrossFit Singapore was started in 2009 and holds the title as the first CrossFit training facility in the area. CrossFit Hub has classes for beginners and advanced CrossFitters at convenient times seven days a week. CrossFit Fire City has been helping people get in shape with CrossFit since 2011 and is run by head coach Samuel Lim.

If you are ready for a constantly evolving and never boring way to get in the best shape of your life, it's time to start your CrossFit program!

Aidan is the Editor-in-chief of RunSociety. His focus is to oversee RunSociety’s Creativity Channel, spanning a wide range of inspirational and enriching topics daily to the running community. Get in touch with him if you something to say, or want to weigh in on an interesting topic at

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