5 Tips for Starting CrossFit
The first time I walked into the gym I saw people doing exercises I had never seen before and people lifting weights that I thought couldn't do. Part of me thought about reconsidering whether I was ready for this new routine or if I should take a little more time to “get in shape” before I got started.
Thankfully, I didn’t change my mind. Who knew that the best way to get started was to just start, then and there?! What I didn’t realize then was that even though CrossFit is class-based, the coach was there to help me on a personal level. There’s actually no pressure to keep up with anyone else, or do something you’re not ready for. The important thing was to be consistant in showing up, sticking with it and trying to be better then I was the day before.
If I could go back and talk to my getting-start-self, here are 5 tips I would share with me and all others beginning CrossFit.
1) You’ll Find Your Own Intensity
People of all shapes and sizes, of all backgrounds and all ages come into the gym and throw down (workout) together. Because every person is different, we don’t require everyone to do the same thing. The workout is provided and led by the coach, and with the coaches help, you determine the weight that you’re comfortable with and almost every movement can be scaled or substituted to make sure it suits your ability. That being said- let the intensity find you. The workouts will be tough, but don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. It’s not about being the best or fastest on your first day, in fact it’s never about that unless you want it to be. If your goal is to be healthier, stronger, or faster, it's important to push yourself daily to be better then YOU were before but you need not compare to others (unless you want that competitive side). Finding your own pace and challenging yourself to improve every day is all you need to do.
2) Don’t Be too Proud to Scale
Check that Ego! There is nothing wrong with having less than Rx (prescribed, what's written on the board) weight on the barbell or having to change a movement completely because you aren’t there yet. Everyone knows their body and its limits. Talk with the coaches daily if you're unsure or uncomfortable doing something. We'll make sure you’re still getting a great workout in. Scaling when it makes sense can help you avoid injury in the long run and actually help you improve faster.
3) Ask Questions
Everyone from the coach to the person working out next to you has your back. I’ve yet to meet someone in the CrossFit community who doesn’t appreciate the hard work that goes into every WOD or who can’t relate to the struggles of a beginning CrossFitter. It can be confusing with all the lingo and acronyms. Ask the coach if there is anything you’re unsure of- we’re happy to help, that’s why we’re here after all. There’s no such thing as a dumb question.
4) Don’t Underestimate Recovery
It’s easy for athletes to over train. Jumping into a high intensity regimen 5 days a week right off the bat may not give you the best results – especially if your body isn’t used to working out. Start with 3 sessions a week and see how your body feels. Are you super tired, extra sore or moody? If the answer is yes, refuel your body with optimum nutrition, hydration, and some rest. As you get adjusted to CrossFit, you can start to increase the amount of days per week that you train, just remember that your body will always need at least a day or two of rest and recovery time.
5) Have Fun!
Last but not least, don’t forget to enjoy the hour at CFCL. CrossFit never gets easier but you get better. That’s what you’ll learn to love though- that challenge and subsequent feeling of accomplishment when you conquer workouts and start to do things that you never thought you could. Set goals for yourself and celebrate your accomplishments. Even when it's most difficult, it's worth it, it's fun and instead of thinking of it as a chore or "having" to do something, think of it as GETTING to do something. We get to be alive, workout, improve our health and be together!