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A CrossFit Workout For Beginners

CrossFit Athlete Mel Ockerby Shares Her Beach-Ready Workout

Have you gotten on the CrossFit bandwagon? Many celebrities are fans of CrossFit, and it's becoming more and more popular as a way to get results fast without being bored. Mel Ockerby is one such fan. The former gymnast started CrossFit training just two and a half years ago and now spends her days challenging herself and others as a Puma trainer and member of the reigning champion team in the Reebok CrossFit Games (I took a 12-minute workout with her last month, courtesy of Puma, and let me tell you, she knows what she's doing). I recently spoke to her about how she got into CrossFit, and asked her to share a bikini-ready workout with us.

FitSugar: Why do you like CrossFit so much?
Mel Ockerby: It's fun! You work out with your friends. The workout changes every day. It's never boring. It never gets "easy." Yes, you get better at certain movements, but once you're good at a movement, you either want to add more weight or do more reps to make it challenging again. There's always a challenge, and it can be competitive.

FS: What does your weekly workout routine look like? Do you have a rest day? Do you have less-intense days?
MO: I work out five times a week, usually two workouts per day, each lasting an average of 12 minutes. Some "rest" days, I will do a very low-intensity jog.


FS: What do you say to someone who is scared to try CrossFit?
MO: Just walk in the door! The people are super nice, the coach will scale the workout to your fitness level, and the feeling after you finish a [workout] is unmatched by anything else!

FS: What diet tips do you recommend for someone trying to get in shape for Summer?
MO: Eat real food! Lean meats (fish, chicken, grass-fed beef, seafood, turkey), veggies, nuts and seeds, and avocados. Avoid processed foods. Don't overdo the fruit and nuts.

CrossFit is all about simple, scalable moves that you can make more difficult by adding weights or reps. Mel recommends you try the following workout to get in shape for Summer, going as hard as you can without breaking form. Continue adding reps (or weights) to each exercise when you're ready — it's more important to "get the mechanics down first, perfectly" before you make your workout harder, Mel warns. "[There should be] no intensity until movements are consistently great," she says.

Read on for the workout.

The Push-Up
Begin in plank position, with shoulders and wrists aligned and belly button tucked in, arms fully extended but elbows not locked. As you lower yourself, keep your abs engaged and get as low to the ground as possible. When you raise back up, make sure you go back to the starting position before beginning another rep. "Always get a full range of motion — chest to deck and full extension at the top. If you have to drop to your knees to get that range of motion, then do it!" Mel says. (If you have problems performing a push-up correctly, move your arms out wider to make it a little easier). Do five push-ups.

The Sit-Up
The key to a proper sit-up is the full range of motion as well. "Get chest to thighs and shoulders to the floor behind you. Use your arms to create momentum and power," Mel says. If you're a sit-up master, try these three ways to make sit-ups even more effective. Do 10 sit-ups.

The Squat
Don't forget your backside; add squats to further define your lower body. You feet should be shoulder-width apart or wider, with arms extended straight out. As you lower down, pretend you are sitting back in a chair, and keep your weight on your heels. "Take your time. Get the crease of your hip below your knee and full extension at the top. Sit on a box or a ball if you have a difficult time determining what is low enough," Mel recommends. Do 15 squats. Repeat the entire circuit 10 times.

Main photo courtesy of Puma

dreilly1966 dreilly1966 4 years
I've seen a lot of people here complaining of knee problems. Talk to a chiropractor about laser therapy!! My daughter, MJ, was extremely active--years of gymnastics, martial arts, softball, and marching band--and her knees got to the point where they were horrible. She gave up doing almost everything because she was constantly in pain--even walking up and down stairs hurt. I took her to a sports med doc who recommended physical therapy, which she did for months, with no relief. Knee braces, no relief. Finally, her martial arts instructor recommended the laser therapy --he'd been through it, and it helped him. The therapy is non-invasive, not painful, no drugs involved, and there's no down time. The chiropractor explained that the laser works with the body to help it heal itself. It sounded like a lot of voodoo to me, but I've seen the results--after 3 weeks of treatments (3 x a week, 10 visits total) MJ was literally running, kneeling, jumping on a trampoline--things I hadn't seen her do for a number of years--with absolutely no pain. She did the 3 weeks of treatment this past summer, and has been back for one additional treatment about a month ago. \u00a0 Disclaimer: I have no desire to sell anything--I do not work for any company that has anything to do with this--I was just so impressed by how much it helped MJ, that I wish more people knew the help existed. If you have a questions, feel free to e-mail me I can help someone.
Lilly2555218 Lilly2555218 5 years
I'm willing to bet money the last comment is BS from some P90x sales rep that doesn't like CrossFit getting popular. No one "jacks up" their knees from doing CrossFit. If your knees are already jacked up, it might not be a smart idea to jump in head first, but CrossFit has only HELPED my knees from years of running. Get a clue.
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