For years, and I don’t want to tell you how many, I could play any sport without any warmup. Years.

When I found CrossFit five years ago, I entered into the WOD class setting and everyone warmed up. There was no alternative, after all, it was right there on the board to kick things off:

– 4x Jog/Back Pedal
– 1x High Knee
– 1x Butt Kicks
– 1x Side Shuffle

So, like any good student, I joined right in, (knowing full well this was entirely unnecessary and a complete waste of my time). And for four plus years, I CrossFitted three plus times per week with nary an injury or tweak. But certainly, I couldn’t attribute that lack of trouble to warming up. Never getting hurt was simply “in line” with my athletic experience since childhood. I would just jump in, and everything was fine.

Then, about six months ago, I “ran out of time” to warm-up. Coaching, work, business ownership, kids, family, youth sports, date night. They all pressure us for our time. Something had to go. So after coaching classes, I began to just jump in and hammer out the strength and skill work, no warm-up.

With no appreciable change in diet, sleep, or other factors, troubles began to appear almost immediately.

The only explanation? The only significant factor that changed? It was the amount of time in moderate intensity warm-up activities and stretching that I was doing prior to hitting strength hard or a high intensity WOD.

Now for many of you, you are simply thinking, “Ya don’t say…” But for we who’ve found ourselves in the  lifelong non-warm-up group, its a painful revelation. A revelation that age will someday tell you, “It’s time to spend quality time stretching and warming up before you get after it.”

When in any CrossFit classes, take the warm-up period seriously. It is an intentional 10-15 minute period kicking off classes designed to prepare your body for the significant strain you are about to put it to. Work hard during the warm-up. If you aren’t approaching a sweat or already there by the end of warm-ups, you probably have “mailed it in” and need to consider increasing your warm-up intensity next time around.