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Making the Best Possible Transition to CrossFit {guest post}

Hey Friends! Hope you are enjoying these awesome Guest posts! I’m certainly enjoying some much needed time off. It’s all about balance, right? Today I have a treat for you… Chuck from PerfectCouplet.com is sharing some of his awesome CrossFit knowledge with you! Enjoy! – Courtney


Hey boys and girls,

I have been around CrossFit for quite some time at this point, not just as a CrossFitter, but also as a coach and an active part of the larger community. Since getting my Level 1 back in January of 2009, I have gone on to run GSX CrossFit in Fort Worth, assistant coach for the CrossFit Gymnastics Certifications, and facilitate CrossFit competitions internationally. I now have the following CrossFit Certifications: Level One, Endurance, Olympic Weightlifting, Gymnastics, and Kids. During that time I have coached hundreds and hundreds of individuals. Additionally, I have watched thousands of CrossFitters compete at all levels, from Games competitors to first-time scaled competitors. That large exposure has allowed me to identify some key points in what allows people to transition into CrossFit as efficiently, effectively, and with as much enjoyment as possible.

Do you want to do CrossFit or be a CrossFitter?

crossfit-vs-crossfitter

There is a great distinction between the two, whether people want to talk about it or not. Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong answer, but identifying which side of the line you are on will save you time, money, injuries, and frustrations. If you want to dabble in CrossFit, even on a regular basis, as a way to keep your workouts interesting and fresh to focus on fitness, awesome. If you want to be a CrossFitter and treat CrossFit as your sport, there is a great deal that changes. Most of this will be applicable to people that have decided to move forward and really make CrossFit a big part of their live, but all of it applies to people that do as much as a single WOD a week.

Find a Good Gym with Good Coaches!

There are LOTS of CrossFit affiliates out there at this point, over 4,000. Some of these CrossFit affiliates are amazing, some should be de-affiliated, but pretty much everyone is going to tell you that they’re good. If a CrossFit gym does nothing but bash every other affiliate in the area, walk away. If a CrossFit gym doesn’t have some type of Foundations, Elements, Fundamentals, etc for incoming members, walk away. If a CrossFit gym doesn’t regularly touch on nutrition and recovery, walk away. If a CrossFit gym’s metcons/WODs are really long (20:00-30:00+ on a regular basis,) walk away. More on that point here. If a CrossFit gym doesn’t regularly incorporate higher skill lifting and gymnastic work (Snatching and Muscleups,) walk away. Find a relevant and quick read in regard to this entire section here.

 Look Down!

Like straight down, at your shoes. Virtually everyone that stumbles into CrossFit is wearing the wrong shoe. Almost universally, their feet are usually resting inside of a typical running or cross-training shoe. News flash, they both suck. Not just for CrossFit, but even for your running, walking, and natural movement as a whole. What we want is some type of flatter, more minimal soled shoe. This isn’t because they are trendy, but because they work. Something along the lines of an inov-8 or a Reebok Nano will allow you to move much more naturally with much better bio-mechanical movement patters.

journeyofadreamer_zensahcompression

A shoe like that will also allow all of your barbell and kettlebell work within CrossFit to be much easier to master. Anytime you are doing any lifting, boil it down to your spine stabilizing an external load. If you’re wearing a typical running shoe with excessive cushioning, it’s like your body and central nervous system are trying to make sense of these movements with marshmallows underfoot. It makes learning CrossFit’s movements much more difficult and potentially quite dangerous.

Get Over Your Carbs!

Most people coming into CrossFit, especially those with an endurance background, are eating too many damn carbs and too many of the wrong ones! It’s hard to argue that the CrossFit community hasn’t created some of the fittest and most athletically balanced individuals on the planet. If individuals that have Deadlifts over 2.5 times their bodyweight while also being able to hold sub-6:00 miles don’t need to choke down tons of granola, cereal, pasta, and grains to “get carbs for energy,” neither do you. The reason that the Paleo diet has become so big in the CrossFit community, is because it is so focused on being as healthy as possible. Cutting out gluten isn’t something that is done simply for weight loss, it’s done to help the body operate as well as possible. Your body is not designed to process grains and the damage that they wreck on your digestive tract, bones, joints, and hormones is staggering. I strongly recommend that you get educated on the Paleo diet. My number one book recommendation would be The Paleo Solution
by Robb Wolf. If you don’t want to read a whole book (even though it’s a fun and easy read,) ask your CrossFit Coach. If they can’t explain Paleo to you, walk away.

Get Stronger!

Many people coming into CrossFit, especially from yoga and endurance backgrounds, don’t want to get stronger because they are under the false belief that it will compromise their other athletic passions. The other adversion to this that I typically see is women not wanting to get stronger because they think that it will make them too big and muscular. These are both HUGE misconceptions! Women see many of the female competitors at the CrossFit Games and think, “Nope, don’t want to look like that.” Trust me, you won’t. Their training volumes, intensities, frequencies, and supplementation is beyond anything that you will subject yourself to, even if you get very into CrossFit. On the other side, strength increases will benefit any other athletic endeavors that you choose to participate in. If you’re a yogi, go check out some true gymnastics videos on YouTube and seriously tell me that the strength that gymnasts possess limits their ability to bend, twist, and balance. If you’re an endurance athlete, cruise on over to CrossFitEndurance.com and get educated. If a CrossFit gym doesn’t regularly program strength work (both lifting and gymnastics,) walk away.

Some of these are massive oversimplifications that could all each be expanded into a novel of information. If there is a demand for it, I would gladly continue this into a several part series. In the mean time, feel free to reach out to myself or my wife via PerfectCouplet.com

Train safe, smart, and hard.

Chuck Bennington

3 thoughts on “Making the Best Possible Transition to CrossFit {guest post}”

  1. Great tips, Chuck! I just started CF and think I’ve been fortunate to land in a good box! There is always stretching/mobility before every class, then a strength/skill portion focusing on anything from rope climbs, sled pushes, barbell skills, pull-ups, etc.. then is the WOD. Could be anywhere from 5-30 minutes, but it varies quite a bit.
    Right now I do Crossfit, but I would love to be a Crossfitter!

    Like

  2. Thank you so much for the guest post. I enjoy doing CrossFit at home workouts, but unfortunately the nearest box is 45 minutes away from me so I am making do with what I have at home….barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, treadmill, and my body of course!!! While on vacation in Kansas to visit my parents I had the opportunity to work out at the box that my parents work at and work out at as Level 1 trainers and loved every minute of it! It made me sad to come back to NC and have to work out at home! While I do feel I am getting stronger by doing stuff at home, I know there is so much I am missing out on by not being able to work out at a box! Thanks again for the post!

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