Starting CrossFit: What Should I Do to Prepare?

This week I posted a short article about CrossFit and The Biggest Loser.  It quickly become the most popular article on the site and has been shared all over Facebook.  However, given that there was little meat to the article, I tried to understand why it resonated.

What I came up with was the following:  If your life has been positively impacted by CrossFit, you want your friends, family, and coworkers to have that same opportunity.  And having seriously overweight people succeed means CrossFit isn’t just for people who are already fit.

CrossFit HQ acknowledges the perception of CrossFit may make it seem out of reach for everyday people:

“Our typical reader [of CrossFit Journal] is seen by his friends, acquaintances, and family members as, quite frankly, a freak – a fitness freak, but still a freak. Your endorsement may not carry the weight you would hope or think it would.”

This comment from Anne captures the sentiment exactly:

Starting CrossFit after seeing TBL

So, if the show The Biggest Loser can motivate and inspire someone in starting CrossFit, should they immediately sign up for a membership at a local affiliate gym?  I would argue that people who have been sedentary and are seriously out of shape would benefit greatly from a month or more of remedial, at-home exercising BEFORE enrolling.

Some will say that you can scale CrossFit and begin at any stage of fitness.  OK, perhaps that is true.  But, I believe that people are more likely to stick with the program and become integrated into the community IF they feel like they belong.

Walking in on day one with the ability to do a few basic movements gives you a big boost of confidence and proves [to yourself]  that you belong.

OK, Where do I Start?

For now, don’t worry about the CrossFit lingo (Fran, WOD, AMRAP, etc.).  Don’t worry about purchasing new shoes.  And most definitely don’t worry about learning Olympic weightlifting.

Starting CrossFit with Primal BluePrint Fitness

No, if you are sedentary and out of shape, I highly recommend getting Mark Sisson’s free ebook, Primal Blueprint Fitness.  In the book, Mark identifies the “Five Essential Movements,” pushups, pull ups, overhead press, squats, and plank and outlines a realistic and reasonable series of progressions for each.  Below are videos are Mark demonstrating each of the five movements:



Overhead Press



I’m not suggesting that you need to master each of these five movements or even progress all the way through them.  However, having one, two, or three months with these skills will give you a big leg up when starting CrossFit.

Does this seem reasonable?

Related Posts:

CrossFit:  The Biggest Loser or the Biggest Winner in 2012

CrossFit Training – Getting Fit for Life

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Tim Huntley spends his time advising and investing in startups and was formerly the CEO of Ganymede Software.

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