Advice for anyone who's thinking of starting CrossFit


"Don't try to 'get in shape' before starting CrossFit - the fastest way to get fit is to just start. Workouts can all be scaled, so just do what you can and work to improve strength and stamina each week.

For motivation to come:

* Find a friend to join CrossFit with you or meet someone else new in the OnRamp classes. Accountability is key - make plans to attend next class together.

* Buying new shoes or workout clothes can help you get your butt to class - you don't want that money to go to waste do you?

* Allow yourself a treat or reward after class or after a month of classes -- e.g. hit the local juice shop after a tough class, invest in new equipment or buy that something special you've been wanting after completing 1 or 3 months..."

Julie Tomlinson, 38 y.o

Expat Mom/ Engineer/ Crossfitter

2 years CrossFit experience

"From my experience, I've never been to a gym before, using weights, barbells or kettle-bells. It was very daunting for me to go to any gym without any help or without paying a huge amount of fees to go for a one-to-one personal trainer session.

CrossFit 399 shared a lot of tips with regard to techniques for various functional workouts. Comrades within the box helped me to gain confidence in using weights and of various workout sets. It is worth trying. Michelle and her team helped me the whole way with any questions I have thrown at them. She is very knowledgeable and very articulate in describing the workouts."

Taufik Marlik, 27 y.o

Engineer/ Crossfitter

11 months CrossFit experience

"CrossFit was something I've been wanting to try since I'm working in the fitness industry, and especially after watching all the CrossFit competitions on Youtube (also partly motivated and inspired by Michelle, CrossFit 399's coach). It is something I enjoy doing as it involves learning new skills and having a good workout at the same time!

For new comers who are afraid that it will be too difficult or too tough, CrossFit is always about knowing yourself. You don't necessarily need to follow what others do but instead set your own benchmark. AND you will definitely see improvements throughout time. In terms of time management, it's not rocket science. Just an hour of quick fix (time pass real fast in CrossFit) and just like doing a plank, you really work out every single muscle in your body. It is wonderful! Just try out once that's all I can say. If you never try you will never know. And, you only live once."

Toh Yen Lu, 28 y.o

Dietitian cum personal trainer/ Fitness and nutrition coach/ Crossfitter

1 year CrossFit experience

"What I like about CrossFit, to my mind, provides the experience of training as an athlete would. Is the distinction important for a person that simply seeks to be fit and have a better appearance, and say, a much better feeling about themselves? Yes, and for one important reason: longevity in an activity. The idea of a possessing a ‘beach body’ may be one of the more common motivators for people to exercise. The problem with this is that even with long hours in the gym, time will take its toll on the body. Waist lines thicken as we age. It’s just a fact of living. Just take a look at primitive societies living on what is essentially a Paleo-diet. Good, strong and functional physiques, but gravity and time have also made their mid-lines reveal their age. No, they do not have pot-bellies, but they are not owners of what in many modern societies is considered a ‘beach body’. Seeking a physique model look past a certain age is only setting one up for disappointment, and those doing so are more likely than not to be disappointed with the results they get from their body-building type routine and quit working out.

CF is about performance in lifts, activities and routines. That is the goal and that is what we should care about. CF is functional fitness. It places a demand on the body that one is more likely to encounter in their daily lives, than would, say, just lifting weights or doing cardio routines. Case in point can be found in self-defense. The experience of a metabolic routine (WOD) is much more likely to imitate the kind of demands a physical altercation would have than would, say, running a 5 km route, or doing 3 x 10 in a bench press. Simply put, real world physical demands are much more closer to the kinds of experiences one will have in a CF box than those they would have in a traditional fitness facility. CF lets you know - real fast - where you are weak. We all have physical attributes that we are able to capitalize on when needed. Some of us have great coordination, balance and flexibility. Others have brute strength, while others possess incredible cardio capacity. CF allows one to engage all facets of fitness in a regular way and in a capacity which allows one to improve their performance in an area where they may be deficient while continuing to improve in those areas where they are gifted.

Finally, CF is not about what's prescribed on the whiteboard. Sure that is a great thing to take on once in a while - or regularly - but the importance of a good box is that one can scale their WOD to meet their abilities or challenges for the day they train. Let’s face it, some days we do not want to ‘go hard or go home’; we just want to get some training in to maintain our fitness. On other days we might want to challenge ourselves further and really ramp up the weight or reps. Whatever we feel dictates our workout. CF allows that without judgement. In the end, we are only competing with ourselves. CF embraces this. Of course the CrossFit Games might seem to contradict this, but I see that as a means of checking just where I might be on my better days compared to some other guy my own age. In the end, I really don’t care what someone else can do, it’s what I can do that matters. My advice to someone that wants to start CF SCALE. Don’t feel you need to do the Rx (prescribed weights). In so many cases those weights are for people that have done sports for years and took up CF. Or they’re for people that have been doing CF for a very long time.

Technique over weight in everything. Get the full range of movement. Low squats. Full extension of the pull-up. Hollow body. Squeeze your buttocks (not someone else’s). Those are all super important factors to remember. We are athletes. Athletes should have good technique. Again, if longevity is your goal - and it should be - then paying attention to getting the movements right is obviously important to avoid injury and to improve performance. Finally, be patient and be consistent. You might not be able to do the pull-up today, but with regular practice you will. Again, this is a life-time gig; it isn’t just to be ready for the beach."

Hugh Plouffe, 53 y.o

High School Teacher/ Crossfitter

9 months CrossFit experience

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