Getting Started: Tips for Smooth Entry into the World of CrossFit Endurance

(this is a sidebar from the first story I wrote on CrossFit for Triathlete Magazine. A few tips on getting into CrossFit Endurance.

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1. Don’t be intimidated. “Everyone there is there to support everyone else,” Guy Petruzelli says. “It’s a very positive atmosphere.” Brittany Rutter agrees saying, “The truth is that Crossfit has a culture like triathlon. Reach out for help. The community is incredibly open and supportive.”

2. Visit the Crossfit Endurance website. Founder Brian MacKenzie says those interested should visit Crossfitendurance.com and e-mail for advice about where to start. “Crossfit is growing at a fast pace, and there are going to be a few gyms out there that are out there to destroy. Go to our site and contact us. We’ll send you in the right direction. You need to go to a gym where they’re smart and safe above all.” Adds Petruzelli, “The guys who run these gyms are keen on injury prevention. No one wants you to get hurt.”

3. Be patient and take responsibility for making a safe transition. MacKenzie advises triathletes to ease in. “Yes, this stuff is really intense and if done incorrectly can land you in the hospital,” he says. “So can doing an Ironman; we’ve all seen it. But they’re two different beasts. So scale the weight, reps or time down to fit your ability level. You are the best judge of this.”

3. Take a Crossfit fundamentals course. A fundamentals course is typically the prerequisite for taking Crossfit classes. You’ll be taught proper technique for the exercises and power lifts, get exposure to how the WODs are performed and get into the rhythm of how the gym operates. Nutrition is also discussed.

4. Go in with an open mind. Petruzelli says that to get the most out of the program you have to let go of what might have worked for you in the past so you don’t spend all your energy fighting it. And be prepared for a rude awakening: Don’t think for a second that traditional triathlon fitness is going to slide you into a Crossfit gym as some sort of star. “I thought I was going to own the place,” Petruzelli recalls. “I was so humbled. There were women in there knocking out pull-ups and I could barely do any.” Remarks MacKenzie, “The ego has to be put aside.”

5. Focus on achieving proper technique. “You’ve got to have the technique to do the strength training,” Rutter says. “You really have to commit yourself to getting the skills down.”

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