CrossFit is a group exercise workout that incorporates high intensity interval training with Olympic lifts and bodyweight exercises. According to a recent study published by the American Council on Exercise, CrossFit workouts build more muscle and burn more fat in 30 minutes than either a regular cardio or resistance type workout done for the same amount of time. However, done incorrectly these workouts can be dangerous. Before beginning a regular CrossFit regimen, affiliates offer a beginner's course.
First Things First
Before allowing a new member to become a regular participant, CrossFit affiliates require you to take a beginner course. This course covers the basics of CrossFit such as the names of the movements, proper body alignment, and terminology used in the class. The beginner's class is required so that you don't get hurt during a regular class. Because CrossFit is a group exercise class, participants sometimes don't get a lot of personal attention to make sure they are doing the movements correctly. The beginner's course teaches the proper way to perform the most common movements to make sure they are done correctly even when a trainer is not paying specific attention to you.
Keep it Moving
CrossFit workouts are high intensity interval workouts. Interval training is going from one exercise to the next with little or no rest in between. Usually, an interval consists of three to eight exercises in a row, which repeats three to five times. The goal of this type of exercise is to build strength and endurance at the same time. According to the article by the ACE, when beginning interval training, it is best to try one or two of the more strenuous exercises mixed in with a few low intensity exercises to begin with. This structure is exactly what you can expect from a beginner CrossFit class.
Don't Overdo it
CrossFit workouts vary. Each interval is called a Workout of the Day or WOD, and the exercises change from one WOD to the next. Intervals are set up this way to keep your muscles from injury due to overuse. Even though CrossFit exercises vary, the article recommends beginners only do two to three WOD's per week until their body becomes accustomed to the strenuous workouts.
Progress Makes Perfect
CrossFit progress depends on how well you can keep up with the group. However, CrossFit affiliates keep track of how fast you complete a certain WOD. Your progress can be measured both by how fast you finish compared to the rest of the group and how much better you do from one class to the next. As you continue CrossFit training -- gaining strength and endurance -- you will find you are no longer a beginner.