CrossFit is one the fastest growing fitness trends of the moment, that has exploded across the US and UK, in gyms and fitness centres all over the place. If you’ve heard the term but are puzzled by what it means, here’s CrossFit in a nutshell: intensive and widely varied strength and conditioning that gives you a truly comprehensive workout, from cardiovascular stamina, endurance and strength, to coordination, flexibility and agility. Continue reading below to find out more.
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What makes CrossFit so different?
One one of the biggest reasons for the enormous popularity of CrossFit is the variety it offers, and its truly holistic approach to fitness. Unlike typical gym workouts, this won’t tie you down to any one speciality or body area – instead, every workout is designed to boost your overall body fitness.
Can you do CrossFit at home?
Unlike many other specialist fitness programmes, to get started with CrossFit you don’t need much in the way of specialist equipment. While CrossFit first developed in gyms, or ‘boxes’ as they’ve often called in CrossFit circles, the versatility and flexibility of its approach to fitness means that practicing CrossFit at home is incredibly easy.
A CrossFit home gym can be set up with minimal cost, and needs very little space to get started – in fact, the most important tool you’ll need is your own motivation!
Why should you do CrossFit at home?
Doing CrossFit at home has a lot of advantages and can be an ideal solution for anyone who finds they just don’t have the time, or the money, for regular trips to the gym. Whether you’re looking to save the cost of an expensive membership, or you want to set up a workout plan around a flexible schedule that suits your lifestyle, a few CrossFit home gym necessities are all you need to get going. So how can an at-home CrossFit set up change your approach to a fitter life?
When nearly 4 out of 5 gym memberships around the country lie around gathering dust each month, doing CrossFit at home really does make sense, as you can get just as effective results, without having to fork out a fortune! For a fraction of the price of a regular monthly fee for a gym, you can set yourself up with all you need for a CrossFit home gym. You can even have your own homemade CrossFit equipment, to save more. Plus with no power-hungry electrical equipment required, you don’t have to worry about a hike on your bills, either!
Unlike many other fitness regimes, the intensity of CrossFit means you start to get genuine results, within a very short space of time. You can take the CrossFit workout to a level that suits your own fitness and ability, and the variety of activities to choose from mean that you can slot in the workout that suits your timetable, not the other way around. Some workouts may only last 10 to 15 minutes, while others stretch over half an hour. The diversity of every workout will also help to keep your interest levels spurred on, with something different to challenge you each day.
Workout when you like
The best thing about having a CrossFit home gym is its sheer flexibility and adaptability. You’ll rarely be doing the same thing twice – making sure there’s no room for boredom! Plus, you can work out whenever you like, which means it’s ideal if you have a flexible work schedule, can’t make regular gym opening hours, or work form home. Having your very own exclusive gym right in the middle of your living room means there are no excuses about having to go out in the rain, and you don’t even need a lot of space to set things up. Just turn any space, from the spare bedroom, garage or living room floor, into your own workout area in moments, without having some lumbering piece of kit taking up precious room.
What if I don’t have any equipment?
The really brilliant thing about CrossFit is that you can even have a regular workout, with no equipment at all. All you need is the space to do it in. This makes it the ideal workout for anyone who has extremely limited space – such as a shared dorm or flat, where you can’t store away any equipment. It’s also completely portable – if you travel regularly for work or want to stay in shape while on holiday, there are lots of workouts you can do with no equipment required. But there are a bunch of basic things you should consider taking a look at (I’ve highlighted what I think are the best of the bunch in a section below).
Can a CrossFit home gym deliver the same results?
Absolutely. With the right amount of dedication and time spent, you can start seeing results very soon. Feel fitter, stronger, more energetic and in great shape! To CrossFit at home you don’t need to learn lots of complicated jargon or getting your head around a complex routine – and you don’t need to spend hours working out, either.
CrossFit home gym necessities
Before you set up your own CrossFit gym, you’ll need to run through a few essential points, based around your own space and what you want to get out of your gym. The most important thing to consider is the amount of space you have, and what you’d like to use it for. After that, you can decide what kind of equipment to start using. Here are a few of the basic things you’ll need to get started:
The more space you have, the more flexibility you’ll enjoy with different work outs. That said, you don’t need to have an entire garage dedicated to your home gym. If all you can space is the living room floor, work around that.
Make sure you’ve got enough space to lay a mat and move around it with ease. If you’re planning to train with a partner, make sure there’s ample space for both of you to move around in comfort – the last thing you need when you’re really getting into an intense workout is having to worry about knocking elbows and knees with someone else.
CrossFit Home Gym Environment
When setting up a home gym, the environment you work out in should be one of your top considerations. Unless you live a million miles from anyone else, your environment is likely to be shaped by the people around you, and your activities will also impact theirs. While your CrossFit home gym won’t need much equipment, you should ensure that it has a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere – and that your workout won’t be bothering anyone else.
Some basic points to look at are:
– Noise levels: music is a great motivator, but unless your using headphones, will playing loud music bother anyone else around you? Are there restrictions on what times you can play loud music?
– Floor stability: you’re going to be jumping and moving a lot – is there anyone below you who could be effected by the noise? Is the floor even and stable for you to work out on?
– Time: while you can enjoy a CrossFit workout at any time of the day – or night – are you going to be blasting your workout soundtrack at unsociable hours? Or if you’re sharing space with others, can you work out a timetable to use the area?
Homemade CrossFit equipment
You’ll be surprised to know just how much CrossFit equipment you can make for virtually nothing yourself, with everyday items or things that can be purchased from any household store:
– Sandbags – if you’ve got access to a sewing machine, make a sack with heavy duty canvas dust sheets, easily found in hardware stores, and filled up with pea gravel.
– Kettlebell weights – a basketball and some PVC piping can be turned into your own kettlebell weight,
– Power racks with pull up and chin bars – if you’re really technically minded, you can easily construct a secure and practical pull up bar, right in the comfort of your home.
Further CrossFit Home Gym Equipment You’ll Need to Get Started
As well as home made equipment, it’s worth investing in a few basics that you will be turning to regularly for each workout. CrossFit home gym essentials that are worth getting your hands on are:
Ultra Speed Cable Rope
Crossfit jump rope. Perfect for improving agility and shredding fat!
We’ve highlighted this rope as it seems to be the best of it’s class. Check it out here on Amazon!
Abmat Abdominal Trainer – Crossfit Abmat
Most people workout with a ‘normal’ yoga type mat, which is fine for most exercises. When you progress to Crossfit, however, effectiveness is key.
We picked out this Crossfit Ab mat due to it’s unusual properties which allow you to laser target your different areas of your abs easily. Take a look at it’s excellent reviews on Amazon!
Crossfit Karp Kettlebell
Kettlebells are a powerful way to get rapid results from your training, and are used often with Crossfit workouts.
Plus they are pretty discrete and don’t take up much space in your home when you’re not using them.
The Carp kettlebells are the pick of the bunch – grab yours here.
Valeo Crossift Medicine Ball
By having a medicine ball in your Crossfit arsenal, it opens you up to a ton of exercises you might not have been able to do without.
Find a high wall, stand about 3 feet away from it and face it. Do bodyweight squats, and as you rise, throw the ball as high as you can against the wall. As you catch it, begin your next squat. Repeat until it hurts a lot…
Body-Bands CrossFit Advanced Resistance Band
Crossfit resistance bands open up a new dynamic to your workout, and the possibilities for them are ENDLESS!
ZFOsports® – 40LBS Adjustable Weighted Vest
Weights vests are probably more suited to slightly more advanced Crossfitters, but are a great addition to your home Crossfit gym!
The ZFO sports vests I think are the best value and have excellent reviews. Check them out here!
Apex Roman/Hyper Extension Bench
OK, you may need a bit more space for this (but it’s not too big), but if you can find room for it, it’s absolutely great.
If you’ve ever done back raises you will no doubt have felt the benefits!
These are reasonably priced, and you can take a look here for more information!
Ultimate Body Press Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar
A wall mounted chin up bar for Crossfit is a necessity. Pull ups and chin ups build up so much strength in your lats, and biceps and while you might not be able to even do 2 at first, you will be surprised how quickly you improve! They are GREAT!
Check out this wall mounted chin up bar here on Amazon. It seems to be the best value and like the other products on the page has outstanding reviews!
Black Mountain Products Resistance Band Set
If you are struggling to figure out what you should buy first for your CrossFit home gym, then look no further.
The Black Mountain Products resistance band set gives you so many possibilities for your workouts in one convenient, cost effective set. I can’t even start to tell you what exercises you can do with it, but if you use your imagination you will probably see what I mean. I don’t think there’s a single part of your body that you can’t craft and tone with this set.
Don’t just take my word for it – it’s got incredible reviews on Amazon (and yes, I own a set myself!).
Check it out here!
HemingWeigh Extra Thick Foam Exercise Mat
You will often just need a simple mat. It’s worthwhile making the investment to get a decent one that will last, such as the Hemingweigh Mat shown here.
It’s comfortable as it’s nice and thick – you will not feel a hard surface beneath you, and is plenty big enough for exercises.
Thick Multi-purpose Interlocking Black Foam Mats
If however, you are looking to make your own weights area in your home CrossFit gym, then a normal mat isn’t going to suffice.
What you should probably consider are these interlocking mats which allow you to create areas for your weights that you can expand and contract as you need.
These are great, definitely worth checking out. Find them here.
SKLZ Super Sandbag – Heavy Duty Training Weight Bag
Sandbags are great to develop core strength, which is what CrossFit is all about.
While you can make your own homemade CrossFit equipment, sometimes it’s worth buying the equipment if it’s cheap enough to save time and hassle.
This sandbag is a simple yet genius solution to allow you to have the benefits of sandbags in your own home CrossFit gym, but without the issue of having to create your own. Sure it’s not that hard to make a sandbag, but when it comes to changing the weight of it, it becomes tricky.
This sandbag allows you to add or remove weight as you need easily, and is very cost effective.
What are the pros and cons of CrossFit?
CrossFit has grown phenomenally fast amongst fitness fans of all backgrounds and abilities. That’s not because CrossFit promises a miraculous transformation in days, or that is claims to be really easy. CrossFit’s success is due to the fact that it simply works, and that it’s a realistic, practical programme.
The comprehensive and diverse nature of CrossFit means that there is no single area you have to focus on – you can enjoy each activity for what it is, without placing too much emphasis on whether or not you ‘succeeded’ at it. Not only is this good for overall body fitness – it also prevents the inevitable boredom from settling in.
IT’S FOR ALL ABILITIES
You might have seen CrossFit heroes online with incredible physiques and superhuman strength – but CrossFit is perfect for all fitness levels – from beginners to pros. You can customize it and build up your workout, in a way that suits you.
It wouldn’t be correct to say CrossFit is perfect for everyone. If you’re working on a particular area only, the diverse approach means it’ll be a slow path to the kind of results you’d get from a more targeted approach. And the focus on completing a high number of reps each time can also leave you at greater risk of sprains and injuries, so it’s important to ensure you approach each activity with care and respect for your body’s limits.
As with all fitness plans – if you have prior health concerns or physical issues, it’s important to have these addressed by a professional before starting.
What to eat
Alongside a healthy diet, it can help to deliver a toned, healthy physique and exceptional fitness levels, without the excess bulking up of muscle. A healthy diet is essential to maximize your fitness regime, and the Paleo diet is a great match for CrossFit.
CrossFit and the Paleo diet often go hand in hand – with emphasis on proteins and vegetables, as well as the avoidance of carb-heavy grains, sugars and processed foods, mean that your body’s nutritional needs are fully met, without loading it up with excess sugar to turn into fat.
Making your own basic home CrossFit gym is an ideal way to build up confidence and a base level of fitness, before jumping in to the deep end and joining a local CrossFit box.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and you’re interested in trying out CrossFit at home, leave a comment and we’ll help you get started!