When it comes joining a gym, there’s no shortage of objections. Not enough time or money. Lack of motivation. Straight up distaste. We could go on. But if there’s one thing that shouldn’t prevent you from working out, it’s the intimidation of being a confused newbie. Soul caters to a variety of clients, from high-level athletes to the average Joe who just wants a good workout. There’s something for everyone, but we get that you might not know where to get started. So we’re here to point you in the right direction.
Taking on a new fitness routine or joining a new gym can be a daunting task, especially if you have limited experience working out. Maybe you’ve been to a big chain gym and decided that it’s not for you. If you’re looking for something with more of an emphasis on community, where there are group workouts and coaches giving focused attention to clients, then Soul might have the personal touch you need.
Now we know to a beginner that Soul may not seem that accessible. While big chain gyms rake in the masses with bright, shiny equipment and slick-talking sales associates, CrossFit boxes can seem like an underground society for elite athletes. It’s easy for the layman to see them as chalk-powdered warehouses where sweaty, muscular types speak their own language and chase the next adrenaline-pumping workout.
While your experience will vary from facility to facility, the truth is that a reputable box isn’t the Fight Club (the book/movie, not the chain gym) some make CrossFit out to be. A good box balances intensity with safety and accommodates both the novice and the experienced lifter. Soul places a very high emphasis on teaching proper technique and prides itself on being a welcoming environment to clients of all fitness levels.
Another common misconception about CrossFit boxes is that they only do CrossFit. However, Soul and many other boxes offer a variety of programs. But how do you pick the right one for you?
Education is a great way to alleviate fear. The more we can demystify CrossFit and other weightlifting sports, the more accessible they become. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about fitness and strength programs so you can make an informed decision based on your preferences and goals.
What to expect: Workouts combining cardio and strength with kettlebells, dumbbells, and bodyweight and endurance exercises. Think squats, push-ups, kettlebell swings, and a variety of other movements done at a fast pace.
Who’s it good for: People of all fitness level who want to get in better shape and feel healthier. Good starting place for beginners.
Bootcamp provides a way for the average person to burn fat, gain muscle, and increase cardiovascular performance. Weights are typically lighter compared to other programs, although individuals can go heavier if desired. If you’re new to working out, it’s a good way to get your feet wet. The amount of equipment used will depend on the individual bootcamp, but at Soul we incorporate kettlebells and dumbbells along with body weight movements. Bootcamp will allow you to build a solid foundation of functional strength, which is the strength that helps us move well and get through everyday life.
What to expect: Fast-paced, high intensity WODs (Workout of the Day) that incorporate olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, strength, and metabolic conditioning.
Who’s it good for: Someone who wants to be well-rounded with strength and cardio, improve athletic performance, and enjoys a challenging workout. All fitness levels, although there is a learning curve.
There’s a little bit of everything in CrossFit, which is what makes it effective in improving athleticism, burning fat, and building strength and muscle. What sets CrossFit apart from other programs is its use of olympic lifts (snatches, clean and jerk, etc.) combined with gymnastics, strength, bodyweight movements, and metabolic conditioning. On any given day you can be practicing snatches or handstand push-ups, doing double-unders or burpees, or finding a three-rap max for squats. If you have no idea what any of that means, don’t worry. Coaches will teach you everything you need to know, from the lingo to form and technique. There is a certain level of skill required to properly execute the movements, but they can always be scaled to the client’s ability. And each class is always led by a Soul coach to ensure safety and correct form. In short, if you like variety, intensity, and want to take your fitness to the next level, CrossFit can help you get there.
What to expect: Olympic weightlifting movements (snatch, clean and jerk, and variations thereof) with additional accessory exercises to enhance weightlifting.
Who’s it good for: Anyone who wants to become proficient at weightlifting and build speed, strength, and power.
So here’s where it gets tricky. Crossfit uses weightlifting in its workouts, but weightlifting is not CrossFit. In a weightlifting program you are only practicing olympic lifts and usually at a lower rep range than you would in crossfit. Weightlifting is not a metabolic or cardio type of workout. The overall pace is slower to allow for recovery between sets. If you are new to weightlifting, expect to spend an extensive amount of time working on technique, which is absolutely critical to this sport. Of all the programs offered at Soul, this is the one that requires the highest level of athleticism as it combines elements of strength, speed, explosiveness, flexibility, and coordination. As in CrossFit, there is a learning curve, but keep in mind that is true for any sport. Novice lifters are welcome and will receive thorough coaching.
What to expect: Training the squat, bench, and deadlift to develop maximal strength, along with accessory exercises.
Who’s it good for: Anyone who wants to get stronger.
Powerlifting focuses on building maximal strength and power in the big three: bench, squat, and deadlift. This is also slower-paced program, as you will need to recover between sets so you can give each lift your all. Strength is determined by periodically testing your one-rep max, which is the most amount of weight you can lift for one rep. The technique for powerlifting is nuanced in its own right, but the nature of the exercises makes them slower movements than the ones you would perform in weightlifting.
When deciding which program would be best for you, think about what your goal is. Do you want something fast-paced that will burn fat and give you a good sweat? Then bootcamp or CrossFit might be a good fit. Want to get strong and jacked? Try powerlifting. Tempted to throw up heavy weights? Go for weightlifting. There’s no right or wrong choice, only what you want. And if you’re new to lifting, remember that everyone starts at the beginning; for some that beginning just comes a little later than others.