One of the questions I get asked again and again is "How often should I CrossFit?" Well, the short answer can be summed up with -- It Depends. It depends, is not a quantifiable answer that many of us are looking for. But, it depends is in reference to how often should an individual who is new to CrossFit do the WOD. There are a certain number of variables that I will look at and consider before giving a more concrete answer. Some of those factors are health, age, athletic background, current fitness routine, and lifestyle. While there will never be a one size fits all model to answer this question, with a few general guidelines we can hopefully answer the question of, "How often should I CrossFit."
One of the factors to weigh is current health and age. These do not necessarily go hand-in-hand, but typically men and women in the 18-25 year-old age range are of a different health than those in the 35-45+ age range. On average, a younger athlete will bounce back much quicker than an older athlete. I am now almost 37 years old, I can remember playing football in college, and as an 18-23 year-old, I was able to quickly recover from workouts, practices, and games. In general, younger men and women have much quicker recovery times. Age isn't the only factor though, current health plays a large role. An individual with chronic joint pain will usually need more time to rest and recover between workouts. Similarly an individual with a weakened immune system or a very deconditioned athlete will need more time between workouts.
A second factor to consider when looking into the question of how often to WOD, is current fitness routine and lifestyle. These two variables can be intertwined, but like any other variable, it is not always the case. Having a current fitness routine will help keep you into a rhythm. Many people find it easier to continue working out daily once they've made it part of their daily routine. A daily workout is part of many people's lifestyle. Others have made a commitment to choose a healthy lifestyle -- and including a fitness routine is part of that lifestyle. Your routine and your lifestyle will play a large roll in determining how often to WOD.
So, all that being said, How often should I CrossFit? Just past the "it depends" answer I typically tell new members to aim for three days per week. Usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This gives you three great WODs in a week, with a day of rest in between. On average, no matter what your age, current health, lifestyle or athletic background, many people will want a day off between workouts in their first two weeks of starting CrossFit. After about two weeks I will encourage people to start adding an extra workout day each week. Very quickly both men and women will get very close to 5 or 6 WODs per week -- and for certain few there are multiple training sessions in some days.
After an individual has been CrossFitting for about two or three months I generally do not see a distinction between how often they CrossFit and their age, background, lifestyle or any other factor. The beauty of CrossFit, is that the WOD is tailored to the individual. If each man or woman gives their best effort day in and day out, they will see results. So, no matter where you are starting from, no matter what your goals are, you can achieve tremendous success through CrossFit.