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The Fit 5: Beginning CrossFit

Our fitness expert answers your questions about exploring CrossFit training.

For all of our fans who shoot us questions on our Twitter and Facebook Page, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen. This week, Will Lanier, CF-L1 Coach at CrossFitNYC answers questions about exploring CrossFit training.

1) At-Home CrossFit — asked by Greg Spero I have 300lbs of barbell weights at home and with three kids under the age of 5, I have no time to get to gym. Is it possible to do CrossFit at home? If so, how do I setup an on-going CrossFit workout?
“Absolutely. You’ve already got the most expensive pieces of equipment. All you need to add to your arsenal is a pull-up bar and somewhere to perform dips. To perform the most basic CrossFit workout, you’ll be set with an Olympic Barbell set and a pull-up bar. Add a jump rope to your toolbox and you’re ready to go. If you want to invest a little more into your garage gym, gymnastics rings, paralette bars (you can make homemade parallette bars), and a Concept 2 row machine (around $800) will also add variety to your workouts. Once you’re setup—you can visit CrossFit.com for daily workouts. Many affiliate gyms use this Main Site programming in their gyms while others program on their own. You can also follow the blog of any affiliate you wish and perform the workouts. I do recommend picking a program and following it—don’t cherry pick—commit. (Great PDF from CrossFit HQ about building home gym here.)”
2) Terminology — asked by Thomas Michael What exactly is a "tabata" that I've heard about?
"Tabata was founded by a Japanese scientist named Izumi Tabata and fellow colleagues at a department of physiology in Japan. Izumi and his fellow scientists decided to conduct a study to compare moderate intensity training with high intensity training. To spare you the entire study—the Tabata found that not only did high intensity interval training have more of an impact on the aerobic systems; it had an impact on the anaerobic systems as well. Tabata falls under the category of high intensity training or high intensity interval training. Any exercise can be incorporated into the Tabata training (air squats, push-ups, and pull-ups are the most popular). The basic outline of the Tabata training method are as follows: • 20 seconds of intense training (max effort/max reps) • 10 seconds of rest • Total of 8 sessions or rounds You can download a Tabata timer for your phone that will keep you honest with your seconds so you can concentrate on counting your reps instead of watching a clock."
3) Scared of CrossFit — asked by John Reynolds As popular as CrossFit has gotten, what's with all the negative talk take pops up?
"As with anything that becomes popular or front and center in the fitness community, people are going to talk negatively about it. Most of the negativity comes from those who either don’t understand the sport, those who have tried it once but never came back, or those who are purists committed to their own methods of training. CrossFit combines elements of many different schools of training—and adds its signature intensity. I’ll be the first to admit that CrossFit isn’t for everyone—but if you want to be successful with CrossFit—you have to commit to your training, shake off the negativity that you hear, and put your hands back on the bar."
4) Positive Effects of CrossFit — asked by Adam Halloway What is the number 1 best result of being a crossfitter?
"Honestly – I tell everyone I meet that CrossFit makes you better at life. CrossFit training focuses on functional fitness—in laymen’s terms, everything we do in CrossFit will strengthen everyday movements you do daily. Squats equate to the most essential movements of getting out of bed, sitting on the toilet, getting in and out of a chair or even your car. Pressing equates to putting your luggage in the overhead compartments, putting away dishes. Farmers carries equate to carrying your groceries home, your gym bag into the gym, your book bag around school. CrossFit movements help to build strength and endurance to make things you do every day easier and more efficient. Having a hot body doesn’t hurt either…"
5) Injury Avoidance — asked by Craig Mez What's the best way to avoid getting hurt in CrossFit?
“I preach this to my clients and athletes every day. For Pete’s sake—stretch! Many CrossFitters end up injuring themselves in one of two ways. One, because they don’t properly warm-up. It is essential to warm-up before any exercise regimen—including CrossFit. The foam roller is your best friend. Every CrossFitter’s gym bag should include a foam roller and lacrosse ball for rolling out tight muscles and knots. CrossFit is intense—mobilizing yourself is the most important thing to do for your body. Another mistake CrossFitters make, especially in their first few months, is going too hard too fast. CrossFit harvests a competitive nature and you can really get caught up in that. It is essential to know your limits and working around those. Sure…push your limits to a reasonable place but if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe—then stop and lower the weight or scale the workout to an appropriate place for your level of athleticism. A skilled CrossFit coach should be able to help you find that level of intensity and proper weight based on your skill."

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