The mere mention of the word CrossFit can cause excitement and even anger. Despite the hate from some, the sport is growing in popularity and the number of newbies joining CrossFit means there is something really right about its concept.

Many in the growing community of CrossFit fans were motivated to continue with the likes of Heifer Welsh (pictured above) and Markus Hendren. These top athletes not only do heavy weight squats, presses, and jerks, but they look pretty darn good as well. It’s easy to find yourself inspired by their dedication to strength and attractive figures.

If you’re new to CrossFit, or just curious to figure out what it is, the information below will help you do just that.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit was created by trainer Greg Glassman as a fitness system to help people develop performance in the broadest sense of the word. This means that CrossFit will not necessarily result in you being more productive in any one movement or skill. Instead, CrossFit will help you succeed in improving a variety of qualities and strengths at various levels of intensity. Most likely, with CrossFit you will not become the strongest person on the planet, but you will be stronger, faster and able to do more work in different modes.

If you, as a beginner, are coming to a CrossFit class for the first time, then you will most likely need to go through a metabolic conditioning session (met-con). In met-con, you will try to complete as many laps as possible or do as many reps as possible in a given amount of time. The movements, laps, reps, and other details of CrossFit workout are constantly changing, so you never know what to expect this time around. One day you have to run the distance and do pull-ups, and the next time there will be kettlebell swings, burpees and box jumps.

But CrossFit is about more than that. A normal trainer will take the time to teach you how to do technically challenging movements, give you weightlifting skills, teach you things like double jumping rope, kipping (fast-paced pull-ups with snatches), proper running and rowing.

Another nice thing about CrossFit is that it doesn’t require a special gym or trainer. For example, Markus Hendren started his crossfit training with the super-stiff Lumberjack 20 system: “I was looking for another opportunity to compete,” says the former college football player. “I’ve always enjoyed competing and I heard about CrossFit so I decided to give it a try.”

What does CrossFit have to offer for beginners that are not available in regular gyms?

Instead of a maze of machines and dumbbell racks, in the CrossFit gym you will find a small selection of barbells, weight plates, ropes, rings, weightlifting platforms, medicine balls, kettlebells and crossbars. Your workouts will be more personalized, you will have more freedom in the choice of exercises and modes of their implementation.

Will CrossFit help a beginner accomplish his fitness goals?

It depends on the goals. If you want to become healthier, stronger, more athletic and agile, then CrossFit will help you. However, the main goal of CrossFit is to be as cool as possible at everything, so if you want to specialize in one thing, then it may not be for you. This is especially true if you are a bodybuilder or strength athlete. CrossFit won’t make you huge. However, athletes like Heifer Welsh, Rich Fronin, Dan Bailey, Markus Hendren and Annie Forisdottir definitely prove that you can get strong and pumped with CrossFit.

Will I be able to handle the stress of my CrossFit workout?

One of the best things about CrossFit is that it can be tailored to fit the trainee. If you can’t train the way you need to, train the best you can. If you cannot pull up with your body weight, do lighter versions of the exercises, close to pull-ups. And so with almost every movement. If the 60kg deadlift is uncomfortable for you, reduce the weight. You cannot jump on a stand 90cm high – jump to a height of 50cm. Nobody is going to force you to do something that you are absolutely not ready for. Before doing any movements, you will study them in detail.

However, CrossFit is also great because it challenges you to do more than you thought was your limit. The line between the shirking and the real inability to continue the movement is very thin. Rigorous CrossFit training will teach beginners to understand the difference between these conditions.