A Guide to Common Questions from the Beginner CrossFit Athlete

Over the last 3 years that I have been coaching Crossfit, and the last 6 years that I have been actively using it as my main exercise regiment I have fielded a lot of questions over that time from people looking to get into Crossfit and for those that are looking for some direction. Below I’ve put together the top questions I have been asked over the years and hope it can help you as you begin your journey into Crossfit. 

It seems like you have your own language. What do all these terms mean?

It’s true your first initiation to Crossfit usually comes along with a whole host of words that are specific to our methodology and we might as well be speaking to you in another language when describing the workouts. Here are some of the common abbreviations you will hear once you begin Crossfit.

1. “WOD” - Stands for Workout of the Day, referring to the daily programming of your box.

2. “BOX” - Refers to your gym. Most Crossfit gyms are referred to as boxes and although now some of them have made a transition towards looking like a more commercial space, many people still refer to it as a box. 

3. “AMRAP” - As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible. A time oriented workout where the demand is placed on completing as many rounds or reps within the given time frame.

“Cindy” 5 Pull Ups, 10 Push Ups, 15 Air squats x 20 Min AMRAP is an example of a time oriented workout 

4. “FOR TIME” -  A task oriented workout where you are expected to complete the workout as quickly as possible. 

Example: “Diane” 21-15-9 Deadlifts and Handstand Push Ups for time. The goal would be to complete the given task (“Diane”) as quickly as possible.

5. "THE GIRLS" - The girls are the benchmark workouts of Crossfit. Most of the training that we do is constantly varied but these benchmarks have been established as a way to get measurable results to see if you are improving your fitness. While I have only listed a few there are numerous benchmark workouts, each name refers to a different workout. Sometimes its just easier to say “hey guys we are going to do Cindy today, instead of saying 20 mins of pull ups, push ups and air squats. The evolution of these “Girl” workouts have also come to include “Hero” workouts which have been named for Crossfit athletes usually who serve in the military or emergency medical services who have died in the line of duty. We do these WODs in honour of their memory and their sacrifice. 

Examples: “Cindy”, “Diane”, “Annie”, “Angie”, “Fran” 

6. “RX”- Performing the workout as prescribed. Every workout has prescribed weights and standards if you meet those requirements you are deemed to have done the WOD Rx’d. If you have to scale movements or weights or have partial range of motion you are deemed to have scaled the workout. Too many people get caught up in having those two letters beside their name on the board, just remember you have to walk before you can run. 

7. "DU’s" / "DUBS" - Double Unders. Refers to a movement with the skipping rope in which the rope passes underneath you twice before you land back on the ground. 

8. “METCON”- Short form for metabolic conditioning. This is what the general population thinks that Crossfit is all about. The short high intensity workouts usually performed in circuit fashion. Metcon is training with the intent to enhance performance in three metabolic pathways that provide energy for all human action. These metabolic pathways are phosphagen (10 secs or less), the glycoltic pathway (10 secs -1:00/2:00), and the oxidative or aerobic pathway (anything in excess of the two previous time domains). 

9. "ME" - Max Effort. Working as hard as you can within a given time frame.

10. “EMOM” - Every Minute on the minute. It means that you are performing a certain task and must complete within the time frame of 1:00. For example EMOM x 10 complete 15 Wall Balls. At the top of beginning of every minute you complete 15 Wall Balls and then rest for the remainder of the minute, you have the duration of that minute to complete the work. The faster you work the more rest you get. 

11. "REP" - Repetition. One performance of an exercise.

12. "1RM" / "3RM" / "5RM" / "10RM" / "20RM" - Refers to the most you can maximally lift for those reps. 1 rep max, 5 rep max, 10 rep max, 20 rep max. Usually anything 5 reps and under will lead to gains in maximal strength, within the 5-10 rep range focus on size and strength gain, and above the 10-20 rep range we are looking at focusing on muscle endurance. 

13. "PR" / "PB" - Personal Record or Personal Best. Refers to your lifetime personal max lifts and times. 

14. "CLEAN" / "SNATCH" - Refers to the two Olympic Lifts that you will learn once you begin Crossfit.

15. "FROM THE HANG" - Also referring to the Olympic Lifts, usually for beginners we have them working “from the hang” position. Meaning that instead of taking the barbell from the floor the barbell will hang below your waist but be above your kneecap. 

16. "OLY LIFT" - Short form for Olympic Lift.

17. "NANOS" - usually refers to the footwear of choice for most Crossfit members designed by Reebok (I was not paid and did not gain any compensation from Reebok for that plug....although I should). 

18. "LIFTERS" - Shoes specifically designed to aid in Olympic Lifting 

19. "BURPEE" - Your new favourite thing to hate.

20. "PALEO" - A diet/lifestyle adopted by many Crossfit members coined by Dr.Loren Cordain. Suggests that we follow a diet that was adopted by our paleolithic ancestors. Excludes any artificial or processed foods, grains, dairy, legumes and alcohol. Basically, eat like a caveman. 

21. "3,2,1, GO!!!" - A countdown used at the beginning of almost every Crossfit WOD.

Hope this helped a little bit more in your understanding as you get your feet wet in Crossfit. Just remember that all of your coaches here at TCF are here to help you along your journey so don’t hesitate to ask.