Forget everything you know.
Well ... not everything just everything you know or think you know about fitness. For you to get the most out of CrossFit you have to do it as it was designed.
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that delivers general physical preparedness (GPP). There are other programs that do something similar but not in the same way nor with as much efficacy.
So whether you have never worked out before or you're a certified personal trainer that "knows" stuff. To get the most out of the CrossFit methodology you need to do it with a clean mental slate.
Strength doesn't mean big muscles.
It means being able to move your own bodyweight with ease and increasingly heavy objects whenever you need to. Having that ability does not require big muscles. It does require working with objects that are heavy for you. That's why we have heavy lifting in our program 1-2 days a week.
It also needs to be said that heavy lifting is one of the best things anyone can do for the longevity of their bodies as it builds strong muscles and bones and it also has a significant effect on how good your body looks.
It also makes you feel like a superhero when you lift heavier than you ever could before. And who doesn't want to feel like a superhero?
If you don't lift things that are heavy for you on a regular basis you're going to miss out on many of the benefits of CrossFit.
Conditioning is commonly misunderstood as "cardio".
Conditioning is actually the process of building efficiency in all energy systems in your body. These energy systems are what runs our bodies through different kinds of activity. Ther are different systems for different kinds of activity. One system would govern activities that are under 30 seconds in duration with high intensity, another system would be used in a long bike ride, and there are a few others as well.
These systems don't have hard edges though. They overlap a little bit. Things get a little fuzzy here and we anticipate that. We create workouts to focus on a particular energy system know that others will be affected as well. But these workouts are constantly varied. 99% of the time we won't say go for a 30-minute run. If we did run for 30 minutes every time we would really only improve that one energy system.
Our conditioning workouts include anything and everything combined together in various but strategic combinations to deliver the best total conditioning. Because our body is s system of systems. Everything interacts and overlaps and training everything separately does not develop fully integrated fitness.
If you're just running, swimming, or even pushing a prowler for your conditioning your not getting the most out of CrossFit.
The most important part of CrossFit that is often overlooked is nutrition. In the early documents outlining the genius of what CrossFit is the foundation is nutrition.
You have to eat the right foods, in the right quantities to get the best results. If you don't, you won't be as strong as you could be, you won't be as conditioned as you could be, and you won't look as good as you could.
We've outlined the basics of nutrition in our Nutrition Blueprint.
Train enough and don't skip things
For you to get the most out of CrossFit you need to train 5-6 days a week. You can get really fit by only training 2 days a week and active on your own the rest of the week but that won't be as fit as you can be.
We all have things we like doing more than others but if you are skipping workouts that are heavy, long, or have running in them you're missing a lot of the benefit that CrossFit has to offer. The training methodology all works together to deliver amazing results. If you cherry pick workouts your results will suffer.
Get a coach. Ignore the internet.
A coach sees the big picture and more specifically your big picture. They know what your specific situation is and will give you advice custom tailored for you. They can tell you what you need to tweak or work on next to progress towards your goals.
The internet, on the other hand, is a minefield of opinions. It is not a coach. It does not have your best interest in mind. If you follow random workouts you find on the internet or the Instagram fitness celebrity du jour you're sabotaging your potential.
CrossFit is the best tool for reaching elite levels of fitness, losing incredible amounts of weight, and reversing diabetes but only if you do it the right way. If you do the work 5-6 days a week, eat properly and have a coach guiding you then you'll see amazing results. Trust the system, and trust the process.
Now go live better.