Crossfit at Home: The Home Gym Blueprint

Originally written for It's Time to Burn 

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.

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?

Save money

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!

Save time

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.

Can a Crossfit home gym deliver 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:

 Space

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. 

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.

Equipment suggestions

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:

  • floor mats
  • a good quality jump rope in the right length for your particular height
  • medicine balls
  • wall mounted pull up or chin bars  

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.

It’s diverse

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.

The cons

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.