The Crossfit Question! | Lift Heavy Run Long

Most of you out there are aware that I’m a huge proponent of Crossfit.  I get asked quite a bit about how much Crossfit costs, which local gym they should go to, how many times a week they should go, how it mixes with their running program, etc., etc.  When you have been training at a Crossfit type gym like I have for a few years, it can be hard to understand where these questions are coming from. Many times I just want to say, “Drop what you’re doing and join my gym.”  Ultimately this is what needs to happen. However, it’s tough for people who have never been in a great gym with great coaches and a great environment to understand exactly what they are missing. So with this post I am going to try to answer some of these questions that I frequently get.

First, coaches and gyms. Crossfit is awesome, but unfortunately all crossfit gyms are not created equal. As an athlete that is serious about your sport (or as a sedentary person seriously concerned about your future), you want a coach that is equally as serious about your results. If you’re in the Memphis area, I can make this very easy and tell you that you need to be training at Faction Strength and Conditioning, Crossfit Collierville or Crossfit Chickasaw.  Three gyms that I know for a fact have great coaches that care about their athletes and your results.  Not everyone lives in Memphis though, so what makes these gyms special and how do you find a gym like this in your town?  First, all of these gyms place a great deal of importance on “ramping up” new comers.  They all have a Fundamentals program that everyone goes through to learn the movements and get familiar with how classes work.  This is very important, and should carry a lot of weight in your decision to join a particular gym.  Second, all of the coaches at these gyms care a great deal about their athletes, their goals, and results.  At Faction, we have athletes with all kinds of different goals.  Some people just want to look good naked, others want to run a marathon, and some want to compete in the Crossfit games or similar competitions.  Some of us want to be the strongest and fastest ultra runner in the world! 🙂  Athletes talk to coaches and get advice and sometimes even get their own programming to follow to achieve their goals.  If an athlete isn’t reaching their goals, the coaches listen to them and help them figure out how they can adjust their training or diet to get the results that they are after.   So, find a gym with a good newcomer program, coaches that care about your goals, and athletes that are making progress and achieving great results.  If you walk into a gym and ask a few people what they are training for, and they look at you like you’re an idiot…walk away.  You owe it to yourself to make sure you are around like minded people that want to achieve great things and want you to achieve great things as well.

Second, how does Crossfit fit in to your training?  This is where I lose most people, endurance athletes in particular.  If you didn’t watch it, check out my interview on Barbell Shrugged.  I think it’s near the end, but we touch on this a little bit.  Whatever your goals are, you don’t need to try to mix programs.  In a good Crossfit gym, the coach is writing a full program for his/her athletes to follow.  They aren’t writing a program for someone to jump in once or twice a week.  If you’re on a marathon training program and running 40 to 50 miles a week then trying to come into a Crossfit gym twice a week, you’re just going to end up overtraining and probably hurting yourself.  What I mean is, Crossfit IS the training program.  If you want to “do” Crossfit the best thing to do is embrace it to it’s fullest.  Drop what you are doing and go for it 100%. If you find the right gym, it is going to work.  If you’re a runner, cyclist, swimmer or all of the above tell your coach.  I’m not saying you need to give up your sport specific training all together, but you need to talk to your coach about how to work it into your training without over training or hurting yourself.  That’s for my athlete friends asking about trying Crossfit.  If you are like I was 3 years ago…a fat, out of shape couch potato then you don’t need to do anything else but Crossfit.  Just get there!

Third, the cost.  This is probably the biggest reason that I hear people say that they cannot train at a Crossfit gym (right before “that stuff is hard”).    For most Crossfit gyms, you can expect to pay somewhere between 175-220.00/month.  When you compare that to 24 hour Fitness, it sounds like a lot I guess.  However, Crossfit isn’t treadmills and ellipticals.  It’s barbells and rings.  Most people in the Crossfit community (myself included) will tell you that you’re wasting your time on the elliptical and the treadmill.  That sounds kind of elitist (maybe it is), but once you’ve experienced getting stronger, heavy squats, doing pullups, etc. you wonder why you ever did anything different.  Here’s what I advise you to do.  Pony up $150.00 and sign up for a Fundamentals class.  Give yourself 1 month to experience Crossfit and learn what it’s all about.  Dedicate yourself to that 1 month.  Make all the classes (usually 3-4 times a week).    While you’re there for a month, talk to the coaches, talk to the other athletes that you see in the regular classes about why they train there.  Ask them if it’s worth the money.  Ask them what kind of progress they’ve made.  It can seem intimidating walking up to one of these crazy Crossfitters in the gym and asking them questions, but I guarantee you they’ll love answering questions for you.  Do it!  I can almost guarantee you that after that 1 month you’ll understand and you’ll be hooked.

So there you have it.  My (hopefully complete) answer to the “I’ve been wanting to try Crossfit” questions.  If I can explain something a little more, answer any questions or anything else just drop me a note: vonralls@gmail.com.

Lift Heavy Run Long.