Should You Get In Shape Before You Start CrossFit?

Should you “get in shape” before you start CrossFit? This is a common question of people wanting to improve their health and fitness. My response is usually with another question.

Would you wait to eat healthier until you lose weight?

Would you wait to stop spending money on frivolous purchases until you saved enough for an emergency fund?

Would you wait to go to the doctor until after you were feeling better?

No? I didn’t think so.

So why then do people think they need to get in shape BEFORE starting the absolute best method of getting in shape? Misinformation, lack of information, and nerves are the biggest factors.

Here’s a secret:

You have to start CrossFit to get in shape for CrossFit. There is no other way.

I have trained hundreds of people, coached thousands of classes and PT sessions. Some with experienced, high level athletes. Some with people that had absolutely zero previous athletic or exercise experience, and many that had done some sort of exercise previously or participated in school sports when they were younger.

Here’s another secret: in 7 years, I’ve never once had someone come in and say that CrossFit was easy. That’s the reality of it, and the magic of it. CrossFit is THE BEST way to improve your fitness, no matter where you are starting from.

If you are preparing for college sports, CrossFit is the best way to take your abilities to the next level while avoiding imbalances that are so common when athletes focus solely on training for their specific sport.

Is your most strenuous exercise currently getting up off the couch to walk to the kitchen? Perfect. We will meet you where you are and before you know what happened you’ll be squatting, lifting, rowing, even running!

It doesn’t happen over night, and I certainly wouldn’t say it’s easy. But it is simple! You come in, we tell you exactly what to do and how to do it. We lead you through a warm up. We coach you through each new movement.  We show you how to stretch afterward. We talk with you about what you can do at home to help your body recover. The next day you’ll undoubtedly be sore, but that’s ok! That means you did something different! That means your body is already responding, changing and improving! Then, you’ll come back and do it again. And again. Before you know it, you won’t feel quite so sore after every workout, you’ll actually look forward to coming in, you will have learned a ton of new stuff- everything from how to properly perform a deadlift to a whole new language that uses words like WOD, AMRAP, and pistol squat. You’ll have new, like-minded friends that are also striving to be healthier.

After you complete our On Ramp course, you’ll discuss with your coach whether you should choose group or personal training classes. If you choose group class, you may be working out with some of those high-level athletes I mentioned, but you will definitely be working out with a lot of other people just like you. You see, at CrossFit Paladin our mission is to create a fitter Lubbock. The best way to do that is to help those that need help the most! We have two groups of people we specifically aim to help: our First Responders, and anyone that doesn’t know what to do or where to start. This is our specialty. This is what we take pride in. This is why we started our gym. To help First Responders (because their lives and their coworkers lives could literally depend upon their fitness), and regular people become the fittest, healthiest version of themselves. I’ll expand on why those two groups of people were the catalyst for our mission in another post, but let’s just say it is personal (also, it doesn’t mean we can’t or don’t help others that may not fit into those categories, but that is what lit our fire to start our gym). Just know that while you will see a few members doing some very difficult looking high skill movements, most members will either be where you are, or they were right where you are not all that long ago.

What if if we take a minute to explore the alternative, getting in shape before starting CrossFit? What does that look like? Maybe you get a membership at a regular gym. You go a couple times a week, spend some time on the treadmill or eliptical. Maybe venture into the free weights, but if you’re like I was, you’ll just stick to the machines that have a picture that’s easy enough to look at to figure out what you’re supposed to do on it. You’ll still feel awkward and unsure, so you’ll cut the session short. Next time you might try a class. You’ll do your best to follow along, but since the instructor is busy doing the workout and calling out what’s coming up, you probably won’t get much individual help in figuring out why you are never in the same place as the rest of the class or why your right knee feels weird during the 1/4 squat. You might do that for a few months, if you’re one of the very disciplined. You’re also probably stuck in a contract for a service that’s not going to be very effective at helping you reach your goal.

Then what? Will you feel “ready” for CrossFit? Spoiler: NO, you won’t. The ONLY way to get “ready” for CrossFit is to do CrossFit. Like I said earlier, nobody is ready for CrossFit until they start doing CrossFit. Nobody ever starts with us and thinks “this is pretty easy, glad I did all that cardio and isometric work- it really prepared me!” That’s just not how it works. Whether you are 12 years old or 65 years old (we have members from 12 to 65 years old), you just have to start. If you are extremely nervous and apprehensive, start with personal training for the first 3 months (or for as long as you wish) to build your confidence. If you’re just a little nervous, sign up for our On Ramp course and gain enough confidence to join the group classes upon completion of those 5 one-on-one sessions. It’s simple. Trust the process. Be consistent. Magic will happen.

Starting something new is scary. It takes guts. It takes bravery. It takes a willingness to jump in. But it doesn’t require anything more than that.

So- just start! What do you have to lose?

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