As a runner, you should be finding cross-training activities to supplement your running. Cross-training is important because it helps you develop and maintain muscles that you don't use while running. Many runners have taken up biking, swimming, yoga and even zumba. But what about Crossfit? Here are some things to consider before deciding if Crossfit is the right cross-training activity for you!
It Should Be Fun
Crossfit can be really intense. Some of the workouts are as short as a few minutes but you'll still leave the gym feeling spent. If you're like most people, you'll have a much easier time sticking with your cross-trianing activity if you enjoy it. So try it out and if it's fun, keep going! If it's not for you, find something else that you really enjoy!
There are a lot of terms that regular Crossfitters will throw around that will sound foreign to a newbie. Here are just a few terms you should know:
Box: Refers to the Crossfit gym/space
WOD: Workout Of the Day. There is typically a new WOD for every day, although they do get repeated over time.
AMRAP: As Many Rounds As Possible. If your WOD is an AMRAP workout, it means you'll have a time limit and will do as many rounds of the workout as you can during the time limit.
Random Names: Many Crossfit WOD's are named after people. These are WOD's that are often repeated and you'll have fun keeping track of how you did the 1st time vs. how you do as you repeat the WOD at future workouts. Some WOD's are even named after fallen soldiers. These WOD's are typically pretty tough but are a great benchmark to see how you're progressing.
Not All Gyms are the Same
Make sure you research gyms before joining. Many will offer a free class or two for interested potential new members. Make sure that the gym's focus matches your own. For example, some gyms do a lot more with heavy weight lifting and some gyms focus more on high-intensity aerobic training. You'll also want to chat with the coach and make sure your personalities seem to mesh. You can also ask members what their thoughts are on the gym
As with most cross-training options, the risk of injury is minimal. The risks vastly increase, however, when you either don't listen to good coaching or you have a coach that pushes you too hard. A good coach will understand where you're at and not push you to progress too quickly. They'll also pay attention to your form and make sure you're maintaining good form throughout the workout, especially as you start to get fatigued. You need to listen to your body too and be careful not to push yourself too hard.
You can expect minor scrapes and bruises, however. Rope climbs can give you rope burn, lifting can give you callouses, and pull-ups can give you blisters on your hands. This is just part of the deal so don't go in expecting to remain completely unmarked.
Over 60% of Crossfitters are women, according to The American Council on Exercise.
One of the best aspects of Crossfit is being part of a tight-knit community. Crossfit classes are a great way to make new friends, and you can expect that you'll receive a lot of support from your fellow athletes.
If you compare Crossfit to a regular gym membership, Crossfit comes out looking pretty expensive. With Crossfit though, you're getting coaching unlike what you'd get in a fitness class at the gym. You'll get some one-on-one time during every class and this is key to helping you progress and stay injury-free. The value you get is completely worth the price tag ($100-$130 per month), but you have to decide if it's worth it to you (and fits your budget).
Good luck deciding if Crossfit is right for you!