I haven’t always been the type of athlete that loved the feeling of sweat dripping down my face the almost-pain-but-not-pain limits we push ourselves to in crossfit. Spending the first 22 years of my life immersed in the the dance world left my work outs in pilates studios and yoga rooms a little lack-luster. I thought that if I sweated at all, I was doing okay. And I’ll admit, I was nervous and scared to come into a box and hop into a workout. There was a lot to remember, on top of my complete lack of knowledge of what my body was capable of.Thinking back on that makes me chuckle at myself, but I am sure I am not the only one to be intimidated to come into Crossfit from a very non-traditional sports background. Here are some things I wish I knew then, that I know now:
1) You CAN do it!
I know, I know. It’s cliche. But if you’re not used to pushing your body and demanding more from your workouts, you may not realized how true this is. You CAN finish the workout. You CAN do one more box jump. You CAN pick that barbell up again. Enjoy the push, it is what makes you stronger today than you were yesterday.
2) You WILL get stronger!
When it is time for a strength workout and the numbers are based off of percentages of a max lift, don’t baby yourself. You’re getting stronger, and part of getting stronger is doing heavy loads. Trust yourself. Trust your form. Trust your coach. Of course, never do something you don’t feel comfortable with or sacrifice your form. But do know it’s okay to push, and take pride in your new muscles and gains! It can be frustrating at first but it’s so rewarding when the work pays off.
3) You have to EAT MORE!
For myself, I wasn’t used to eating enough to sustain my workouts. There were several times I was mid WOD and felt super queasy. Knowing how much to eat and when to eat it and what to eat is a learning process. I know I can’t have too much food in my stomach before I workout, but I also can’t not eat before I workout… Finding what works for you will benefit your workouts and help you get the results you want out of they gym as well. If you need guidance, check in with one of the coaches! We can help point you in the right direction!
4) Your shoes may make a difference!
We have all seen the person that changes shoes between the warmup, the strength, and the wod. That may be a little extreme for me, but I have learned that yes indeed I need to bring more than one pair of sneakers with me to the gym. I prefer a Crossfit shoe for wods and for strength, but if I’m doing more than a 400 m run I really prefer to wear a running shoe. This may have no affect on you, or it may completely change your WODs. Don’t be afraid to switch it up and see. Knowledge is power.
5) Yes, the protein shake DOES really help!
I will be the first to admit that I can be a little lazy. I stopped drinking protein after I worked out for awhile because I got tired of cleaning the shaker bottles. I didn’t really realize how much this affected me until I started drinking protein AGAIN. I find that I don’t get as sore and generally feel better if I get a shake in within an hour of my workout. Maybe it’s a “sugar pill” effect, and maybe it’s not, but I’m going to stick with it! Also, shameless plug, we sell some awesome protein powders at BCCF, so it’s convenient for you!
6) You WILL NOT turn into a bulky monster woman!
This probably applies more to the ladies… but seriously. We have all heard someone say “I would do Crossfit, but I know I’ll get bulky.” And that’s crazy. You’ll gain muscle sure. You’ll get stronger. But you won’t look like a ninja turtle. I know there are women at the games that have more muscles than even some of the gentlemen could dream of, but for you and I, that’s not a reality. I’m not saying you CAN’T look like that if that is your goal. I am saying that unless you workout for more than 3 hours a day and are super super strict with your food and you make Crossfit your only activity ever for day and months on end, you’re not going to puff up or get bulky. Your body will change, but for the better!
7) If you can keep a push press straight from a snatch… It’s okay!
Obviously we want you to know what all the movements are, and we want you to have general understanding of how to execute them safely. But we are your coach for a reason. We are here to demonstrate, assist, and remind you of what exactly a hang squat clean looks like and how it’s different than a hang squat snatch. Do you own homework though. Watch videos on lifts and techniques and take note of tips and differences between lifts. Some of the knowledge comes simply with time spent in the gym. So don’t sweat it if you walk into the gym and you don’t understand what is on the board, but spemd some time learning more about the things we do at Crossfit. It’ll be worth your time!
I hope this helps. I’m sure I could think of more. Maybe you can relate, or you have a few of your own!