This is a questions I actually wish new members would ask more often. These is no simple answer for this because it really depends on where you are coming from, and it often takes being honest with yourself to figure out.
Fresh of the couch: This is the largest group of new members and I think it’s great that more people are getting active, it’s good for us to have a routine that keeps us moving. If you work a sedentary job and the extent of post work activity involves more a more sedentary lifestyle then you won’t need much to see results, just commitment. The great thing is your body adapts fast so committing to 3 days a week of 101 classes with a goal of getting to 4 days a week by the end of the first month is what we recommend. Any less and you’ll take much longer to see results, our goal is to get your really fit, and it start by committing and ramping up the volume as you progress.
Previous training at the big-box gym, novice: Be honest with yourself here, maybe you trained hard, but did you follow an intensive training protocol that included presses, pulls, squats and intense conditioning? Or did you just pick and choose what you wanted to do and then spend 30 minutes on the treadmill after? If you’re the first see then move on to the next category. If you’re the later, which many people are, then you have a good start, you may be able to handle more volume to start, 3-4 days a week, starting with our 101 classes for the first month to gain more exposure to fundemental movements, then transitioning on to full classes 4 days a week.
Previous training at the big-box gym, advanced: If you are coming fresh from another intense training protocol, maybe a written strength and conditioning program where you squatted, pulls (deadlifts, rows. cleans, snatches), pressed and complete intense conditioning like HIIT or intervals then you have a great foundation for transitioning to CrossFit and probably will not need 101 classes for more than a week if at all. Once a coach see’s you move a little they may make a recommendation that you join our full CrossFit classes so you can be exposed to more advanced movements. We recommend 4-5 days a week, as long as you’re fueling and recovering well you should be able to adjust to this volume within a month. This is a small percentage of new members.
Previous high-level athlete: You’re an athlete, or maybe a former professional or college level athlete, that’s awesome, you’re probably a beast in the weight room. Most times these members will learn most movements quickly or they have already done them quickly. That being said, CrossFit is not a sport specific protocol, it is a GPP (general physical preparedness) program, and many athletes coming from sports specific programs have an extreme bias’ and struggle with some parts of what we do. That’s where training 5 days a week and working hard at your weaknesses daily will pay enormous dividends. Former olympic weightlifters, gymnasts, and track and field athletes tend to do very well at CrossFit and many of the best in the sport have prior experience in those sports. If you’re really strong like a weightlifter can be then you’ll probably be deconditioned, and if you’re a middle distance runner you’ll probably need to get stronger
Coming from Non-competitive Running, MMA, P90X, Insanity, or Other Programs: Depending on how long you’ve been doing your program you may be able to jump right into full on CrossFit classes 4-5 days a week after 2-4 weeks of our 101 classes to rehash on fundamentals. A good starting point would be equal to the number of days you were training with your current program. If you did P90X 3 days a week, then start 3 days a week with CrossFit. If you move well and have good body awareness then you may be doing the advanced CrossFit classes shortly after you start.
Will it be hard, yes! No matter your skill level, you’ll have to be patient with some parts of what we do or possibly all of it. Be honest with yourself and talk to a coach if you are not sure how often you should be training. But we promise you that if you commit and stay the course you will see results, what we are doing is very effective and will work if you are showing up and giving 100% effort each time.