Fit Enough for CrossFit: Do You Need to be In Shape to Start CrossFit?

Jeff Baldelli
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Too Heavy for Crossfit? Can I start CrossFit if I’m Really Overweight?

While athleticism and flexibility are important aspects of fitness for CrossFit, they are not enough to be able to handle the physically demanding workouts that CrossFit offers. They are necessary, but not sufficient.

That being said, you can still sign up for CrossFit even if you haven’t exercised in a while (or ever).

When you take the workouts in CrossFit, you’re going to find that the workouts are going to be quite demanding. This means that even athletes who are in excellent condition can struggle with them.

If this is the first time you’ve been active in years and months on end, then you shouldn’t expect your body to hold up.

All of the above achieved with CrossFit is fine, but anyone who asks you about CrossFit and says, “I’m not fit enough for CrossFit,” is ignoring the fact that CrossFit is not just about being fit enough. It’s also about being fit for CrossFit. Going to CrossFit isn’t just about faking fitness for a few weeks.

A fair comparison would be training for the military.

You are your own worst enemy

The only way you can know how capable you are, is by spreading your wings and trying.

Getting fit enough for CrossFit is no different from getting fit generally. You must practice and work hard, but if you are about to start CrossFit, you might be wondering exactly what it takes to be fit.

If you are about to start CrossFit, it is important to know what you are getting into. A jock, bodybuilder, or couch potato can easily join CrossFit. However, the sports elements of CrossFit training require an enhanced level of fitness. This doesn’t mean you have to be an elite athlete, but above-average fitness is a requirement.

This is not a book about CrossFit, nor are we going to explain everything you need to know about the workout. If you are still curious, there are tons of resources online that you can use for further information. Our aim is to get you started, but understanding all there is to know about your new favorite fitness program is outside the scope of this book.

Clean Eating: Eat Clean To Get Fit

One of the most important rules to always follow when you are trying to get in shape is sticking to your fitness plan and eating clean.

If you give up all junk food the day before your program starts then you will only be setting yourself up for cravings when the diet ends.

Too Old For CrossFit? Do Middle Age or Seniors get into CrossFit?

If you have been to your local CrossFit gym lately, you may have noticed that it is no longer just 20-something year old people training there.

Since the system has grown so popular, so have the ages and backgrounds of participants. There are surely a lot of 20-somethings who train and participate in competitions, but you see a lot more 40-somethings as well.

Sumo wrestlers, professional CrossFit athletes, Marines, cops, nurses, and stay at home moms are a lot more common now.

In fact, as long as you are healthy enough to participate in intense physical exercise, there’s nothing really keeping you from trying CrossFit. Even if you can’t do everything right away, you are going to get stronger and healthier, which will allow you to do more in the future.

With that being said, it’s true that CrossFit is more challenging at a higher age than at a younger age. All of the movements are more challenging, and at some point, you will be asked to lift weights, and not just bodyweight.

Your Ticket to Success: Fundamentals and “On Ramp” Classes

Before you dive into CrossFit head first, you’ll need to learn the ropes and make sure you are fit enough for CrossFit. In order to make sure that you start out on the right foot and have the best chance of succeeding in CrossFit, you need to take in a few of the fundamental classes and “on ramp” classes available at most CrossFit gyms.

Fundamental classes at most CrossFit gyms, such as The Fundamentals, are tailored to introduce you to the basic movements and basic workouts. They typically don’t involve much, if any, intensity, and they are basically there to make you more comfortable in class.

Once you are comfortable with the movements and intensity in workouts, you’ll move on to the “on-ramp” CrossFit classes. These classes will help introduce you to more advanced barbell movements and more complex workouts, as well as help you increase your overall fitness for quicker, more effective results.

Many athletes, whether they have been in sports or in the military, struggle with “on ramp” CrossFit because they find it challenging to cope with the intensity of the workouts, which many times involve weight-lifting at high intensities.

Looking for some Inspiration?

If you’re like the rest of us and you can’t leave a computer screen for more than 10 minutes without looking something up, then you probably spend a lot of time on the internet.

In addition to being a great place to waste time watching viral videos and scrolling through Facebook, the internet is full of motivational quotes like this one:

Image Courtesy of ShermansTravel

Anyone who has ever tried to stick to a fitness program can recognize this: it’s very easy to give up and quit on it at the first sign of trouble.

Quitting and giving up is one of the first human instincts that we learn as we grow up. At a very young age, our parents would make us do things we didn’t want to do. Things that seemed unreasonable and too challenging for us at the time.

It’s an instinct that is even more powerful in adults than it is in children, and it’s the reason why you find a lot of adults who wish they had the smarts and strength to accomplish, but have the smarts and strength to quit.

There are a lot of different approaches out there to breaking this cycle of failure. A lot of those approaches have different levels of effectiveness.

Too Weak for CrossFit? I am Puny and Lack Upper Body Strength, Can I do CrossFit?

If you can do a pull-up, or achieve a pretty good standing cable row, then you will be strong enough to start CrossFit. You may not be able to do a pull-up yet, but that’s okay because you can start doing some body weight pull-ups in the meantime to be able to try one for the first time.

If you have the dedication and strength to perform 25 unweighted reps of a body-weight pull-up, then you are ready to start CrossFit or another Cross-Training class.

Fairly strong people can usually do 3o reps of a pull-up or a 40-45 pound dumbbell row if they have been following the program. Likewise, if you can’t achieve this level of strength, it is the typical goal of the first couple months by most of our clients.

Elite CrossFitters are rivalled only by elite olympic weightlifters and powerlifters in terms of strength capacity when it comes to upper body strength. They can do 10 pull-ups with a 45 pound barbell around their waist. If it takes you two minutes to do one pull-up on the bar, then you’ll probably want to focus on some strength training for a while before you sign up for CrossFit.