If you’ve ever watched the CrossFit Games on TV then you probably have seen the crazy intense workouts that top athletes go through. From powerful handstand pushups, heavy clean and jerks, and pistol squats to ninja-like rope climbs and muscle ups.
All movements you see athletes do at the CrossFit Games are for advanced athletes only. Athletes who have spent long periods of time, hard work and effort in mastering them.
The good news is, you will not be expected to do any of these movements when you first start out. (Go on, you can breathe now)
Coaches will ensure you have proper technique and form and have been through a progression of the movement before you attempt anything advanced.
Along with that there will be many other burning questions going on in your mind about starting you CrossFit journey.
We’ve listed out 22 uplifting tips for the CrossFit newbie or beginner in their first few days or week of experiencing what over 200,000 other people have been through.
#1 It’s okay to feel overwhelmed
CrossFit is most likely not like anything you have done before. You might find that you will struggle emotionally, especially in the beginning. It will be hard and your self-belief will be tested. Expect this and embrace it, we will help you smash through it!
Muscle soreness – After high intensity workout such as CrossFit, especially 24-48 hours later, you will feel some intense soreness. This is all natural and apart of the healing process. Keep an eye on it and know the difference between actual injury and just muscle soreness.
#2 All Athletes are at different levels
When you walk through the doors for your first CrossFit WOD (Workout of the Day) you will realize that CrossFit is truly for all. You will be surrounded by people of all shapes and sizes, skills and abilities. From advanced super-fit athletes, to the person just getting started, do not feel embarrassed or stupid about where you are currently at. You are in the right place at the right time to achieve your fitness goals.
#3 Get social
Your Box (CrossFit Gym) is your new whanau, where one athlete’s success is shared by all. CrossFit is community based so you will get to meet a lot of new people and make new friends. There is a saying in CrossFit that “The person that finishes last gets the loudest cheer”. You will experience this near the end of every WOD. Whether it’s you or others finishing last, give your support for everyone.
#4 Classes have a set structure
Most CrossFit Boxes run a similar structure to a 1 hour class, though it varies from Box to Box. You should expect a format similar to this for a standard 1 hour class:
- 5-10 minutes warmup
- 10 mins mobility work
- Strength or Skill component
- Workout-of-the-Day (WOD)
The strength/skill timings will depend on the length of WOD, which usually run about 10-30minutes depending on the workout etc. classes are designed like this to get the most band for your buck!
#5 Acronym overload!
AMRAP, EMOM, WOD, OLY, BOX, Rx, Sc, HSPU, ‘The Girls’ are all terms you will come to grips with when you get on the ‘inside’ of the CrossFit community.
#6 Personal attention from the Coach
At a normal gym you have to hire a coach for a personal training session. At CrossFit you get personal attention from the Coach! (which is included in your membership). Your coach will spend extra time walking you through each movement in detail and critiquing your form. Coaches will ensure you are moving efficiently and safely.
#7 High intensity, but low weight
CrossFit workouts can be scaled to your current strength abilities. So you won’t be expected to do anything you can’t handle safely. Your coaches will always encourage perfect technique at light weight before ever going heavy. That being said, most of the WODs you will do are in nature short and high intensity but with low weight to always ensure good form.
#8 Loud CrossFit gyms are normal
This isn’t your mother’s Pilates class. As soon as you walk through the door expect to be greeted with pounding tunes, the whipping of jump ropes and clanging and banging of barbells, yelling, and grunts of exertion. This is all normal in a CrossFit Box, I suggest you get amongst it!
#9 Failure – Expect to be humbled
Unless you’re an athletic freak, you’re likely to finish towards the back of the class on your first few WODs. Even for people who have done some sort of exercise previously, none of that will compare to what CrossFit can offer you. So expect to be humbled when you write your score up on the board. And remember this is your journey, so don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others who are on a different journey with their fitness goals to you.
#10 You will get battle wounds
Expect to feel pain, both mentally and physically. CrossFitters wear their battle scars with pride, so don’t be shocked to see some cut-up shins, or ripped hands from pull ups. You will most likely experience this so be prepared with some tape and protection!
#11 You’ll be at it like a crack addict
After a while working out at your box and you start seeing results and feeling better you will start to get hooked. And working out will become a habit and second nature to you. That’s why you see so many people coming back every day to get their asses handed to them! It could also be why outsiders think its a cult. I mean, why would all these people get addicted to something so good for your health and wellness and keep wanting more of it?
#12 Ladies, weight doesn’t just fall off some people
Here is a response from an article by Alisha Pace on Tabatatimes.com.
“If you aren’t doing everything by the books, then why are you asking why you aren’t getting results? I did everything by the books for months and panicked because I gained weight and my clothes were tighter! I turned to forums trying to find out what other people were losing and I drove myself crazy. It turns out I have an under-active thyroid problem working against me. The fact is that everyone is different. Do everything by the books, and if you aren’t yielding results in a few months, you may want to see a doctor to see if there is an underlying issue. If you aren’t doing everything by the books, then why are you asking why you aren’t getting results?”
#13 Results will take a while. Longer than you can imagine
We live in an instant gratification world. People want things instantly, which is why we are overweight in the first place. Do you expect to lose 10kg after doing 1 week of classes? The truth is that it takes time to see results. But if you stick to it and be consistent, you may see them faster than you expected. Trust in the programming from your coach, that’s what you pay them for!
#14 Get to class early
If there is something you are struggling with and need time to practice then use the Open Gym sessions or get to class a little earlier to practice those double unders. Getting there early also ensures that you don’t miss the warm up and go into a WOD cold. Doing that can lead you straight to injury. Plus some boxes add a penalty for lateness in the form of lots and lots of burpees.
#15 Nobody was Rich Froning or Camille Leblanc-Bazinet at the start
Do you think you’re the only one that struggles with double-unders or squats? Because CrossFit is relatively new, most people have had to learn new movements over time. Ask the pro’s at your gym what they struggled with in the beginning and it most likely will be something you’re struggling with right now.
#16 Ask for advice
No question is a stupid question. If you are unsure then always, always ask your coach. That’s what they are there for and what you receive for your membership. Always ask your coach to critique your form and where you can improve.
#17 Accept constructive criticism
You already know the CrossFit community is supportive. So everything the coaches tell you is to help you improve and get better. Leave your ego at the door and use whatever advice you can to help you become a better athlete.
#18 Cry (if you need to)
You don’t have to, but your first few workouts can leave you mentally and physically exhausted. Lean on the community and coaches for support. Remember your box is your new whanau (family).
#19 Mind over matter
You will get to a point where you think you cannot do anymore. All of a sudden you have people cheering you on,giving you a rush of excitement and adrenaline, nek minnit you’re doing more reps you didn’t think you had in you. That’s the power of a supportive community and believing in yourself. Push yourself to give your best effort every time and help to push others.
If you’ve been really pushing yourself and just feel burnt out and exhausted then take a rest day. Take a bath in Epsom salt, get a massage, and just relax and recharge, ready to hit it hard again the next day!
#22 Get involved in CrossFit community events
There will most likely be team challenges, or no sugar challenges etc. These are designed to help you have fun and get involved with the community. Participate and enjoy exercising!
#23 Stay positive
You may feel down at times because you can’t do certain movements or lift the required weight, whatever it may be, always stay positive. You will feel amazing over time and it will all stem from your positive attitude. You deserve to be healthy and fit. CrossFit will help you get there!
#24 Bonus Box Rules!
As a bonus we have included the Box Rules for you to look over. As a beginner please read these rules as they will help you achieve the best results and the most bang for your buck!
Be on time, practice technique & be consistent, listen to coaches and learn new skills.
LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR
CrossFit is humbling to everyone, AIM for progression not perfection. Trying to be perfect and better than everyone will leave you in tears.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW – ASK!
Coaches are here for you all the time. Ask Questions and get answers.
SUPPORT OTHER MEMBERS
CrossFit is community driven. When it rains we all get wet, we may train as individuals but we workout as community.
LET COACHES COACH
We have experienced coaches who know what they are talking about and it’s their job to INFORM, INSTRUCT and coach technique, while support is great, leave the technical advice to the coaches.
Don’t do stupid things. Eliminate the unnecessary by listening to the coaches, always follow:
If niggles do occur tell us. Do your mobility work always.
DON’T PUT DOWN, PUT AWAY!
We would love our members to view our box as theirs own and treat it as such. Once we are all done, only then put your gear away. Clean up tape and keep chalk in the bucket.
Eat meat & vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch & no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Keep it simple. Results reflect your nutrition & your training period.
While we do take our training seriously, we want everyone to have some fun in the process. We enjoy laugh as much as you do!