How to Start CrossFit

Five Essential articles for the aspiring CrossFitter. Except where noted, these articles/videos are all offered up for free on the CrossFit Journal.

  1. Guide to finding a good coach. Just published, this free CrossFit Journal article offers some excellent tips on the initial approach in starting CrossFit. Particularly valuable is the advice on adopting a set of responsibilities so you won’t get in over your head to soon and will get the most from a good coach.
  2. Learn how to warm-up properly. Spend a few hours surfing the exercise videos, or in the CrossFit Journal archives, and you’ll see a lot of Greg Amundson. Amundson was critical to the growth of CrossFit in many ways: He was one of the first from Coach Greg Glassman’s original Santa Cruz gym to become a standard bearer of the concept of an elite CrossFitter; he became a coach and one of the principals in the early years of the CrossFit Coaching Certification program; he continues to live and breathe it to this day. In fact, this morning I visited the new gym he’s opened in Santa Cruz, CrossFit Amundson. “My goal is to recreate the original spirit of the first CrossFit gym,” he said. In the class I attended–which Amundson coached–there were four of us. And the first thing Amundson did was take us through a warm-up. And it was almost move-for-move the same warm-up that has long been archived on the CrossFit journal.  It’s an easy warm-up to do even for the first-timer and if you’re going to start CrossFitting, Amundson has said this is the warm-up that has long helped him not only get physically ready for the rigors of a workout but also mentally ready.
  3. The Hard Routine. One of the CrossFit Journal classics, the Hard Routine, written by Jason Dougherty. It offers CrossFitters a terrific set of guidelines on how to get the most out of joining an affiliate, setting goals and working with a coach. It starts: “In Andy McNab’s bestseller Bravo Two Zero, a book about a famous British SAS mission in Iraq, the commandos use the term ‘hard routine’ to describe their mindset, focus, and seriousness when at work. When they step into an actual mission, crossing the line of departure, they say that they go on the ‘hard routine.’ From that moment on, the rules are strict, the focus is singular, and all available resources are brought to bear with an intensity that is necessary for success.When they’re on the hard routine, there is no room for selfishness, indulgence, compromise, or distraction.” It’s a must read.
  4. National War College Speech. I am sure I’ve seen just about every Greg Glassman video archived within the CrossFit Journal. He’s a smart, no-bullshit speaker and he’s the guy who created CrossFit and continues to direct how the company exists and grows.  This is one of his best and will give you a good overview on the underlying thought of CrossFit.
  5. Barry Sears on nutrition and performance. Nutrition is in the bedrock of CrossFit and the Zone Diet—the anti-inflammation diet recommended by Sears–is within this bedrock. While some argue that the Paleo diet has trumped the Zone diet in a debate within the CrossFit world, if you watch all of the video interviews with Sears you’ll likely come to the same conclusion I did: that Sears advocated the “real food” principles of the Paleo diet but in addition to portion control and balancing out carbs and protein (to help dampen down insulin response to meals). You be the judge, but regardless the CrossFit Journal serves up a terrific assortment of reporting and opinions on the topic of nutrition. Start here for a free download of Sears speaking. But if you subscribe to the journal watch Nicole Carroll’s lecture on CrossFit and nutrition here.

In Inside the Box, veteran journalist and marathoner T.J. Murphy goes all in to expose the gritty, high-intensity sport of CrossFit®. From staggering newcomer to evangelist, Murphy finds out how it feels, why it’s so popular, and whether CrossFit can fix his broken body.