FAQs CrossFit Contessa

You got questions, we got answers!

Answers to some of the commonly asked questions are here, but if there is something else that you want to know, or aren't sure of, get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

What is “WOD”?

WOD stands for "Workout of the Day".
Every day we post a workout in our gym membership system SugarWOD, which is the main work component of the sessions that will be coached that day at CrossFit Contessa.
The WOD can be scaled in load and time to suit each individual but we all do the same workout together. This is what makes us a community and ensures that everyone is exposed to the same programming. Make it part of your daily routine!  

I have never done any weightlifting. Is that a problem?

Weightlifting (think about what you see at the Olympics rather than the bodybuilding that you see at commercial gyms) is a core component of CrossFit and there is nothing better in its ability to produce strong and powerful people. However, we fully expect that people will start CrossFit with little or no weightlifting skills. Our program is specifically designed to teach people the weightlifting techniques and over time develop a high level of skill using these movement patterns. So don’t worry, at the beginning is a great place to start and also means you don’t have to unlearn any bad habits. 


What happens in a typical training session?

A typical training session runs for 40 – 50 minutes. Some people turn up before the start time to perform extra warmup or skills practice, however there is no requirement to turn up early. The warmup time is included in the session time. If the session starts at 4:30pm, you can arrive at 4:30pm and not be late. When you arrive the coach on duty will gather you around the whiteboard and take you through the warmup. If there is a session in progress, you will wait until the coach calls you in for your sessions. When the allocated warmup time is finished (about 10-15 minutes), the coach will go through any specific skills and techniques required for the WOD, we will set up for and perform the WOD, with about 10 minutes remaining for any stretches you would like to end with.


But what if I’m not very fit?

Then you have come to the right place because getting people fit is what we do! It doesn’t matter how fit you are (or aren’t) when you first walk in the doors. The workouts will be scaled to your current fitness level, no matter how low that may be. All you need to do is turn up with a positive attitude. The rest takes care of itself over time. Consistency is paramount.  

Is the WOD all that you do? It seems very short, how is such a short workout going to get me fit? Should I do extra training?

The WOD is the main work component for the day. However, we also do skills work, warm-up, cool-down and other conditioning drills during the session. In general though, our fit CrossFitters eat well and do the WOD as prescribed (rx'd) each day, and it is plenty of work. CrossFit works primarily due to the intensity at which we train. Intensity in our definition is the amount of work that can be done within a specific time frame. If we increase the amount of time, ie from a 20 minute workout to a 40 minute workout, we see a corresponding drop in intensity and training stops being as effective. High intensity causes a positive hormonal response from your central nervous system and results in an adaptation that produces serious fitness, well beyond that possible with longer bodybuilding style workouts or endurance based long slow distance. Once you are completing the WOD with maximum intensity you will find that one short WOD a day is plenty. If you feel the WOD is not enough, then try increasing the weight to that specified in the WOD and see what happens to the intensity. It is also worth noting that the trainers at Contessa follow the same WOD as the clients. We do not do extra or different training than what we put in SugarWOD. CrossFit is effective and enjoyable because of the short intense workouts.

How often should I train?

Most CrossFitters train 3 days in a row, then rest for 1 day. However, we live in a 7 day week so you might train 5 days on, 2 days rest. Or 3 days training, 1 day rest, 2 days training, 1 day rest. In the beginning you will be governed by how you feel while your body is adapting to the new stimulus. At CrossFit Contessa is  we have sessions 6 days per week and Open Gym on the 7th day, and we encourage our CrossFitters to make the most of the available sessions. We sometimes hold special skills and technique sessions and workshops.  

Should I do a separate strength program? I am not strong enough to do CrossFit?

CrossFit incorporates strength training within the daily WOD. Some days are metabolic conditioning based (makes you puff!) and some days are strength based (makes you strain), and some days are both! Rest assured, you will get strong enough just by following the program. In fact, if you do extra strength training you will find that any initial gains will be at the expense of genuine CrossFit progress. Turn up, do the WOD, give it everything, constantly change the weights that you use and before you know it you will be stronger than you thought possible. Consistently attacking the WOD makes you strong.  

What should I bring?

Wear comfortable clothes you can train in and move in. Wear shoes that are suitable for cross training. A lot of people wear a flat-soled shoe for the strength-based sessions (running shoes are not much fun to squat in). Bring a water bottle and towel. Keeping a supply of your own strapping tape, long socks, pullup grips, and wrist wraps are also good to keep in your bag.

Do I need to turn up early to warm up?

No. The warm up is included in your session, just turn up on time to your selected session time. Of course, if you want to turn up early to practice or do an extra warm up, you are more than welcome.

Should I wear gloves?

There are a variety of opinions on this one. If you have a job that requires you to have manicured hands (eg massage therapist or hand model) then gloves may be necessary to prevent calluses and rough skin forming. Having hands that are able to do work without blistering is important. Over time, we want our hands to adapt to the demands of holding things so that they are naturally protected when we do work. We don’t want soft and delicate, but we don’t want blistered either. We want calluses that are protective but not lumpy. Initially, your hands will hurt and you will blister. But your hands will adapt over time and to do this we need to not wear gloves.

Reasons why

  • When your blisters are healing
  • Specific exercises known to break the skin (high rep pullups)
  • When you have a skin condition
  • When you have a specific requirement/desire to keep your hands soft
Reasons why not
  • They prevent your hands from getting tougher
  • They can make some exercises dangerous because of loss of sensitivity/tactile control
  • They become a psychological crutch
  • They mask the underlying problem (eg wrong grip, too many reps etc

Best strategies to avoid ripping your hands
  • Learn which movements put you at risk
    (high rep pullups)
  • Look after your hands
    (callus shaver, pumice stone, moisturiser)
  • Tape your hands
  • Develop gripping techniques
  • Consistently hold bars and do work to develop your hands over time