Workout Tips for Beginners: Avoid CrossFit. Start Slow. Focus on Technique.

When you begin a new workout or exercise routine, it’s easy to want to jump in headfirst. Pushing your body to the max is exhilarating, making it easy for rest days to feel like a waste of time. As someone who works with many people new to exercise, this approach is most-often counterproductive. Instead of getting in shape faster, you risk rhabdomyolysis, joint injury, and burnout. Here are several tips for those who are new to working out.

CrossFit Is Not For Beginners

You have a new fitness goal, you’re excited to make progress and you plan to dive-in . That is great! Just make sure your excitement doesn’t sabotage your progress. Remember to ease into your new exercises so you give your body time to adjust. Part of the Steele Training System™ is that your workouts should be strategic, specific, and progressed. CrossFit or similar advanced level workouts are no place for a someone who is new to lifting. 

I’ve had new clients come train with me after a few weeks of CrossFit and complain of injuries stemming from their intense CrossFit workouts. I have zero beef with CrossFit. I like many things about CrossFit, but of course people get hurt! Combining box jumps with Power Cleans, or super-setting Burpees with 3 other Olympic lifts isn’t inherently a bad thing, but these are advanced level workouts and a lot of people aren’t built to withstand this type of training. As someone who has a background working with elite-level athletes, CrossFit is not a place for exercise beginners. I’m sure this is upsetting to many, but it’s the truth. Learning proper technique and developing a proper strength base is the first thing you should do as someone new to exercise. As you progress your strength base and learn how-to-execute Olympic Lifts and functional movements, then consider CrossFit or a more advanced level program down the road.

Focus on Technique For Long-Term Success

If you are a new beginner to exercise, focusing on form, posture, and executing proper movements is impossible while training at a high-intensity. This is why 16-year-olds shouldn’t take off in a car for the first time driving 100 mph! Proper technique and a foundational strength base will help prevent injury and ensure you are receiving the full benefits of your training routine. Ease-into your workouts and concentrate on correcting mistakes along the way. Starting slow isn’t a waste of time your time, it’s the approach that will help you transition to more advanced workouts while reducing the injury risks often associated with those workouts.

Strength, Recovery and Burnout

Developing a strength base takes time, progress your exercise routine so that your muscles can adapt to your workouts. Muscle growth and development occurs as you rest between workouts, this means rest is just as important as work. Training too often can limit your progress by limiting muscle growth. Start with 2 to 3 resistance training sessions a week and add 10 to 15 minutes of cardio after your training sessions. Try keeping your routine around 30 minutes, as your technique progresses, increase the intensity level of your workouts. 

It takes disciple to adhere to long-term health goals. Set yourself up for success down the road by staying motivated each week. Strategize every workout and set small micro-goals each week. Achieving these small goals will give you a sense of accomplishment as your strive to reach your destination.