I want to try CrossFit but I have some concerns
Background “Hello all, I have been in my local gym for about 3 years, and I have gone from wanting to body build to power lifting. With power lifting I don't even plan on competing. I just changed my gym mindset to where I focused mainly on the big 3 with less emphasis on isolation. I have recently been eyeing CrossFit because I don't want to be that guy that can only lift heavy weight. I do want to be strong, but also be able to move.
My concerns with CrossFit:
I am worried that I will lose what muscle mass I have built. At 5.7ft and “80kg I do not have much to lose. I still want to gain some weight. I am tired of doing the Bulk and Cut diets.
The lack or less frequent benching concerns me. I worry my chest will not grow. (Probably could get over this bro thinking)
I know having a full time "coach" is a selling point, and I see this being excellent for someone who has never trained before and is clueless. I am clueless to CrossFit, but I am confident in my own learning and ability that I can train myself minus Olympic lifts. I guess Just don’t want to pay the high cost if I can do it myself.
My response to these concerns:
I don't think loss of muscle mass is a common concern. CrossFit may not be about creating a specific body composition or image however you will see yourself reach the best shape of your life and easily sustain it. The running, gymnastics, and conditioning won't do anything to reduce muscle mass but will make you more fit and leaner overall. It’s a super advantage to looking swole all year.
CrossFit workouts will be way more intense than what you have been doing. Running a mile followed by 100 pull ups, 200 push ups and 300 air squats requires some intense preparation and having other people to work out with really helps. The coach and group dynamic are one of the main "things" about Crossfit that distinguish it from just going to the gym by yourself. Constant improvement and a desire to be able to do more work is a cornerstone of the sport.
CrossFit is the exact opposite of what you've been doing. You walk into the CrossFit box not only not knowing what you're going to lift, but if you're going to lift. And if you do lift, it could be any lift, could be light or heavy weight/reps, could be by itself or mixed in with something else (i.e. alternating lifting and jump rope). Or there could be no lift at all and the whole class is say running sprints and pull-ups. This willingness to be prepared and ready for any work out or challenge at all times is what makes the sport so great for me.
Many do extra strength work on their own, before and/or after class where the programming that week doesn't meet personal goals. That's a very common approach in general. You are also not limited to the workouts. As for gaining weight if you eat you will gain weight. It's not difficult. You should know what a macro is if you've been bulking and cutting; if you hit more than you spend, you will gain.
Nothing is stopping you from benching 10 times a day. If you want to bench or curl, do it. CrossFit isn't an end all, be all. Many, many people have goals outside of regular programming, and work on them outside of class. Bench whenever you want, nobody cares. While CrossFit is a sport on its own its purpose is to prepare you for any challenge or sport you choose.
Finally, you do need a coach and I believe CrossFit community if you're new to CrossFit. You can be as confident as you want, but the reality is that it is immensely helpful to have someone teach you correctly. Box jumps, burpees, double unders, muscle ups, Olympic lifting...you can learn them through Youtube videos, but it's not a good idea. You can learn to bench press, but there's no substitute from an experienced coach watching and telling you where to put your feet, how to hold the bar, etc. Learn right the first time, so when you develop strength and speed, you don't have years of bad habits.
Charles Lubbe is co owner and head coach at CrossFit Zest for Life, Queenswood, Pretoria