Updated: Feb 13, 2021
A great question that I get asked and often wonder myself is "How Often Should I Do CrossFit Workouts?".
You may be thinking that if you workout too much you will feel fatigued and sore outside of the gym too much or that if you don't workout enough you will not see the results you are looking for.
This blog takes you through how often you should do CrossFit workouts for every experience level on a weekly basis.
CrossFit Workout Frequency For Beginners
For those who are starting out on their fitness journey and who have never or rarely stepped foot into a gym before, you may need to start introducing CrossFit workouts into your routine at a steady pace. For complete beginners to CrossFit, start at once or twice a week to build your fitness or listen to the advice of your CrossFit coach.
When starting out try to focus on the quality of that workout rather than how often you should do CrossFit workouts. Focus on warming up and cooling down, the form of your movements and pacing yourself through the workout to get the most out of CrossFit.
You should start to see changes in your body and your fitness levels fairly quickly and hopefully within a few weeks or months can start to increase the frequency of your CrossFit workouts.
If you are coming from a sporting background, are currently in a sports team or a regular gym goer and are being introduced to CrossFit workouts for the first time then you may find you can smash 2-4 workouts per week with ease.
Again you should see adaptations fairly quickly too. If you are used to the gym but just lift weights or body build, you will often find that your fitness will go through its paces when you start doing CrossFit workouts.
For beginners, try to aim for 3 CrossFit Workouts Per Week to get used to CrossFit programming.
Recovery is key for beginner athletes so make sure to optimise your recovery between CrossFit workouts.
Check out my guide on [ How to recover from a CrossFit Workout ]
CrossFit Workout Frequency For Intermediate Athletes
CrossFit HQ programming suggests working out 5 times per week for the average CrossFit athlete.
This is generally for those who are regular CrossFitters, who attend classes or have a home gym set up (like Josh Bridges).
If you have special requirements or want to go the extra mile, your coach may suggest an extra few sessions working on specific strength, conditioning, mobility or rehab/prehab work that will improve your CrossFit performance as an athlete.
CrossFit Workout Frequency For Advanced Athletes
If you are an advanced CrossFit athlete, aiming for a sanctional placing or even a spot at the CrossFit Games, your training regime must be dialled in and analysed to get the most out of your training sessions.
You might be on a strength block, a conditioning programme, have specific mobility and body work and have to try and fit all these around your normal life. Look at Pat Velner, a full time chiropractor and CrossFit Games Athlete.
Those who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to dedicate their life to fitness by doing everything they can to be the fittest they can (hello Mat Fraser!) would expect to be switched on from the moment they wake in the morning. Measuring everything they eat, drink and do to increase performance and optimise recovery.
Typically someone like this may do 2-4 CrossFit workouts every day with a rest day every 10 days. This is obviously not recommended for beginners and is something that most dedicated Crossfitters only dream about.
What do CrossFit workouts do to your body?
When looking at frequency of CrossFit workouts, you need to understand what a crossfit workout does to your body.
To build muscle, first you have to break down the muscle for it to repair itself into a stronger version. This happens in CrossFit workouts as well as many other things so when looking at how often you should workout you need to allow time for you muscles to repair themselves if they are broken. for example if you are doing a strength workout, the next few days you might be experiencing DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness, an indication that your muscles are repairing themselves. It is important to listen to you body here and ensure you're not over working yourself.
When you workout, depending on the movement you burn energy. When looking at the energy systems, most crossfit workouts use the glycogen in the body as energy. This means that after your workout your body is depleted of it's glycogen stores. So when choosing how often you should workout you need to replenish those glycogen stores or alternatively use different energy systems.
It's also incredibly important to take note of how you are feeling. By altering your energy levels coupled with muscle soreness and recovery, this can have a large impact on your mood. It is important to have balance and ensuring you are taking ample rest days to help achieve your overall goals.
When thinking how often should you do CrossFit workouts, the simple answer is that it depends on your fitness level and your goals. If you are a complete beginner then less is more beneficial for your CrossFit gains but if you are elite level then fitting in as many workouts and adaptations as you can whilst optimising recovery.
Let me know how many CrossFit workouts you do a week and why that works for you in the comments section below.