CrossFit can look intimidating, and many remain unfamiliar with exactly what a CrossFit class entails. To find out more we spoke to Pat Barber, a CrossFit coach and competitor whose company provides CrossFit workouts to gyms across the US using his expertise and experience. Here he answers our questions on how those who are curious can get started with CrossFit.
Q) For those who are unfamiliar with CrossFit, how would you describe the sport?
First of all, it’s not a sport, it’s a training method. As a training method it’s designed for everything that life might throw at you; you train a little in every demographic of fitness and it includes functional movements at a high intensity. Functional movements allow a human being to produce a high amount of energy at a high intensity, and because of this it’s a very effective workout.
When people think of the CrossFit Games competition, this is a subset of CrossFit, a bit like a triathlon or a marathon is a subset of running — it’s the application of CrossFit but in a competitive setting. The athletes are given physical tasks that are found in disciplines such as gymnastics, lifting, running — a bit like a decathlon. However, it’s not limited like a decathlon, it includes everything and tests all skills.
Q) Who can try CrossFit? Are there any age restrictions or do people have to have a certain level of fitness? How do you get started with CrossFit?
Anyone can do CrossFit and it can be scaled back or up for each individual level. Nothing is one-size-fits-all and the way it’s applied depends on the person — it’s made for everyone, me, you, pro-athlete, my mom, my 90-year old grandma. It is often done in a class environment with a CrossFit coach, either in a gym or a center specifically for CrossFit.
Q) Do people need to buy any special gear or equipment when starting CrossFit?
If you have gym shorts and gym shoes, then that’s it, that’s the gear!