Getting Started with CrossFit: Complete Guide for Beginners

How To Get Started with CrossFit


CrossFit is a high-intensity fitness regimen that has exploded in popularity over the past two decades. Here is a brief background on what CrossFit is, its history, and its rapid growth:

  • Definition of CrossFit:

    • CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that incorporates high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, strongman exercises, and more.
    • The goal of CrossFit is to improve fitness across ten domains - cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.

  • History of CrossFit:

    • Founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman in California.
    • First CrossFit gym (aka "box") opened in 2001.
    • Rapid growth in popularity over 2000s and 2010s.
    • Now over 15,000 CrossFit affiliates worldwide.

  • CrossFit Games:

    • Annual CrossFit competition started in 2007.
    • Tests the fitness and capabilities of the world's top CrossFit athletes.
    • Helped drive interest and growth of CrossFit as a sport.

Getting started with CrossFit can be intimidating but also exciting and rewarding. Here is an overview of the key steps any CrossFit beginner should take:

  • Find and choose a CrossFit gym or "box"
  • Prepare physically and mentally for your first workout
  • Learn the lingo and benchmark WODs
  • Start a beginner's training program
  • Embrace the community and lifestyle

The journey starts with the first step - read on to learn how to launch your CrossFit experience!

Finding and Choosing a CrossFit Gym

When getting started with CrossFit, the first step is finding and choosing a CrossFit gym or "box" in your local area. Here are some tips:

  • Research CrossFit boxes in your city

    • Search online directories like
    • Search Google Maps and Yelp for "CrossFit [Your City]"
    • Ask friends for personal recommendations

  • Visit the CrossFit gyms for trial classes

    • Most boxes offer 1 free intro class or a free week trial
    • Attend classes at multiple locations
    • Get a feel for the coaching, community, and workouts

  • Consider important factors:

    • Coaching - knowledgeable, supportive, and attentive
    • Community - welcoming, fun, and motivating
    • Schedule - class times that fit your schedule
    • Pricing - monthly fees or membership options
    • Amenities - showers, equipment, parking, etc.

  • Pick a CrossFit gym that is the best fit for you

    • Choose the box where you felt most comfortable and motivated
    • Don't just go with the trendiest or most expensive option
    • Location close to home or work is a plus for convenience
CoachingKnowledgeable, supportive, attentive
CommunityWelcoming, fun, motivating
ScheduleClass times fit your schedule
PricingMonthly fees or membership options
AmenitiesShowers, equipment, parking, etc

Picking the right CrossFit gym is crucial to get the most out of your experience. Visit several boxes, take trial classes, and consider the key factors before deciding.

Preparing for Your First CrossFit Workout

When you are getting started with CrossFit, it is important to be prepared both physically and mentally for your first workout. Here are some tips:

  • Physical preparation

    • Work on mobility and flexibility - this will help prevent injury
    • Build a baseline level of strength - you'll need to lift weights
    • Do some metabolic conditioning like running or biking

  • Set proper expectations

    • Your first workout will likely be very challenging
    • You will be very sore afterwards - this is normal
    • Don't get discouraged - it takes time to build fitness

  • Nutrition and hydration

    • Eat a balanced meal 1-2 hours before workout
    • Stay hydrated in days leading up to workout
    • Have water and carbs like fruit after workout

  • What to wear and bring

    • Athletic shoes - avoid running or tennis shoes
    • Workout clothes - t-shirt, shorts, sweatpants
    • Grips - to protect hands during pull-ups, kettlebells
    • Water bottletoweltoiletries for showering after
Preparation TipsDetails
PhysicalMobility, flexibility, strength, conditioning
MentalSet expectations, don't get discouraged
NutritionBalanced meal before, hydrate, carbs after
GearShoes, clothes, grips, water, towel

Being prepared will help you start strong and minimize soreness on your CrossFit journey. Focus on mobility, strength, and setting proper expectations.

Learning the CrossFit Lingo and Benchmark Workouts

When you are new to CrossFit, there will be many new terms and lingo you need to learn. Here are some of the most common:

  • WOD - Workout of the Day
  • AMRAP - As Many Rounds (or Reps) As Possible
  • Rx'd - Prescribed workout "as written" vs scaled
  • PR - Personal record
  • 1RM - One rep max

You'll also hear references to benchmark CrossFit workouts. These are classic named WODs that serve as benchmarks to test fitness:

  • Fran - Thrusters and pull-ups
  • Cindy - Push-ups, pull-ups, squats
  • Murph - Run, pull-ups, push-ups, squats, run
  • Filthy Fifty - 50 reps of various exercises

When first starting out, you'll need to scale workouts to match your current fitness level:

  • Lower weights on strength moves
  • Reduce reps or rounds
  • Swap out exercises like pull-ups for ring rows
CrossFit TermsDefinition
WODWorkout of the Day
AMRAPAs Many Reps/Rounds As Possible
Rx'dPrescribed workout "as written"
PRPersonal Record
BenchmarkClassic named workout
ScaleModify workout to fitness level

Learning the unique CrossFit lingo and benchmark WODs will help you feel comfortable and part of the community. Don't be afraid to ask coaches to explain terms and scaling options.

Starting Your First Workout Program

When you are getting started with CrossFit, most boxes will have you complete an on-ramp or elements course for beginners:

  • On-ramp

    • Usually 1-4 weeks of classes
    • Covers CrossFit movements and methodology
    • Gets you ready for regular group classes

  • You may also start with private training sessions

    • 1-on-1 coaching for new members
    • Learn movements and build foundational capacity
    • More expensive than group classes

Once you complete on-ramp and begin regular CrossFit classes, here are some tips:

  • Scale workouts appropriately as needed
  • Focus on proper movement mechanics
  • Make notes on weights and reps for each exercise
  • Track progress and celebrate new PRs
Starting OutTips
On-ramp1-4 week beginner's course
Private training1-on-1 coaching
ScalingModify workout to your level
ProgressTrack weights, reps, PRs

Starting with an on-ramp course allows new members to safely build fitness. Don't rush into advanced movements - focus on form and progress at the beginning.

CrossFit Community and Lifestyle

One of the best parts of CrossFit is the community and lifestyle it provides. Here are some tips:

  • Embrace the community

    • CrossFit boxes become like a second family
    • You'll make great friends who will cheer you on
    • The community keeps you motivated

  • Add CrossFit into your lifestyle

    • Make it part of your regular routine
    • Focus on proper rest, recovery, and nutrition
    • Let it become your hobby and passion

  • Celebrate small wins

    • First time Rx'ing a WOD
    • Hitting a new 1RM personal record
    • Mastering a new gymnastics skill

  • Recovery and nutrition

    • Get enough sleep each night
    • Eat plenty of protein to rebuild muscle
    • Properly refuel before and after workouts
Community TipsDetails
Embrace communityLike a second family
LifestyleMake CrossFit your routine
CelebrateMilestones and PRs
RecoverySleep, nutrition, refueling

The CrossFit community and lifestyle is a key part of the experience. Embrace the motivating community, make CrossFit part of your routine, and celebrate small milestones on your fitness journey.


Q: What is CrossFit?

A: CrossFit is a fitness program that combines elements of weightlifting, cardio, and gymnastics to create a comprehensive workout.

Q: Is CrossFit suitable for beginners?

A: Yes, CrossFit is suitable for beginners. There are modifications and scaling options for every exercise, allowing individuals to start at their own level and progress as they get stronger.

Q: How can I start CrossFit as a beginner?

A: To start CrossFit as a beginner, you can find a local CrossFit gym and join their beginner classes or find online beginner workouts to do at home. It's important to start slow, focus on proper form, and listen to your body.

Q: What equipment do I need for CrossFit?

A: CrossFit workouts can be done with minimal equipment. Basic equipment includes a barbell, weights, pull-up bar, and some open space to move around. As you progress, you may choose to invest in additional equipment such as kettlebells, dumbbells, and a jump rope.

Q: Can I do CrossFit at home?

A: Yes, you can do CrossFit at home. There are many beginner-friendly CrossFit workouts that can be done with minimal equipment. You can also find online classes or follow along with CrossFit workout videos.

Q: Is CrossFit good for weight loss?

A: CrossFit can be an effective tool for weight loss. The combination of high-intensity workouts and functional movements can help increase metabolism and burn calories. However, diet and nutrition also play a significant role in weight loss.

Q: What is a WOD in CrossFit?

A: WOD stands for "Workout of the Day" and refers to the daily workout posted by CrossFit gyms. WODs typically consist of a combination of different exercises and are designed to challenge participants both physically and mentally.

Q: Can I do CrossFit without doing squats?

A: Squats are a fundamental movement in CrossFit and are often included in workouts. However, if you have limitations or injuries that prevent you from doing squats, there are alternative exercises that can target similar muscle groups.

Q: How often should I do CrossFit workouts?

A: The frequency of CrossFit workouts depends on your fitness level and goals. Beginners may start with 2-3 workouts per week and gradually increase frequency as they build strength and endurance. It's important to listen to your body and allow for rest and recovery.

Q: Do I need a CrossFit coach?

A: Having a knowledgeable CrossFit coach can be beneficial, especially for beginners. They can teach you proper form, help you scale exercises, and provide guidance on programming and progression. However, it is possible to do CrossFit on your own if you have a good understanding of the movements and can prioritize safety.

CrossFit Brings Life-Changing Transformation

Getting started with CrossFit can seem daunting but taking the first step is the most important part. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Find a CrossFit gym with great coaching and community
  • Prepare physically and mentally for high-intensity
  • Learn the lingobenchmark WODs, and scaling
  • Start with an on-ramp or private training
  • Track progress and celebrate PRs
  • Embrace the lifestyle - add nutrition and recovery

The CrossFit journey takes dedication and consistency. But with the right mindset and motivation, you'll be amazed at the fitness gains and personal growth you can achieve.

Key TakeawaysDescription
Find a boxGreat coaching and community
PreparePhysically and mentally
LearnLingo, benchmarks, scaling
StartOn-ramp or private training
TrackProgress and PRs
LifestyleNutrition and recovery

CrossFit can transform your life
 if you embrace the community and commit to the journey. Take the first step and start your fitness adventure today!