Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen Crossfit blowing up on social media and in magazine articles – everywhere! So you’re peering into the glass and wondering what it would be like to give Crossfit a try. Maybe you’re just looking for a way to spice up a boring routine or get back into shape. And Crossfit can help you do that, but, just like you won’t catch some people doing Zumba or spinning, Crossfit isn’t for everyone.
For some people, though, once they step foot into a Crossfit class – or ‘box’ to use the lingo – they instantly know they belong. But what will your first box be like? Here are 7 things to expect your first time trying Crossfit.
1. You won’t start the first day.
Surprisingly, you don’t get to jump right into a class the first day you show up. The box I go to has beginners attend a fundamentals class. In that class you learn the basic form for the exercises used in Crossfit workouts and get familiar with terminology such as WOD (Workout of the Day). A coach works with the group of beginners to go over proper form for squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and various other moves. Box etiquette is also covered, meaning things like sanitizing equipment after using and where everything is located. Based on the box you may have fundamentals or basics a few times before you join a regular class period.
2. It is intimidating.
Let’s be honest. It is intimidating when you look up onto the board and see the WOD for the day and think “I don’t know how I’ll be able to do that.” It’s intimidating when you see a woman beside you who can squat 70 pounds more than you can. It’s intimidating to see experienced classmates doing kipping pull-ups while you’re struggling with band-assisted pull-ups.
But then you learn that’s part of it. It’s like being in a yoga class with classmates getting into headstand pose when you can’t even lift one leg off the ground. Your classmate next to you may be killing himself doing the advanced version while you’re killing yourself doing the modified versions. It’s not about reaching the level everyone else is on, it’s about individually making progress and getting stronger.
3. You won’t be babied.
Crossfit is a high intensity workout and that means you will be challenged. Your coaches will push you. The people working out with you will push you. You don’t get by with giving half the effort in Crossfit. That’s not how it goes. Expect to push yourself hard.
4. You’ll find a supportive, friendly atmosphere.
From the moment I entered the box until I left, I was greeted by friendly faces. Everyone introduced themselves and offered encouraging words about how I’m going to absolutely love Crossfit. They were right.
Since I’m new to Crossfit I’m not familiar with all of the workouts, moves, etc. On multiple occasions classmates have offered tips and suggestions on things like how to get a double-under down to how to progress on my pull-up form. Not only do they give suggestions, but there are many shouts of motivation and encouragement WOD. Your coaches aren’t the only ones pushing you to go hard, it’s your classmates too.
5. Be Open to suggestions
Starting a new workout programs means you aren’t going to be a “know-it-all” right off the bat. If a coach asks you to adjust your squat form, don’t get upset. They want to make sure you are doing it with proper form, so you don’t put yourself at risk for injury. Don’t let yourself get upset about being told to change something you’re doing or you’ll never improve.
6. There are modifications for everything.
Watching the Crossfit Games or seeing photos on Instagram, you may be thinking “how can I do Crossfit if I can’t even do one pull-up?” Don’t you worry. There are modifications for everything. There is no shame in having to go to your knees for a push-up. Or having to use PVC pipe instead of a weighted bar during a WOD. Can’t jump up on a box? Just do step-ups. You can do it. I promise. Your coaches will show you alternative ways to do a move, so you can still fully participate and get in a high intensity workout.
7. It’s more than just a WOD.
If you think that Crossfit is just a short, high intensity workout and after that’s done everyone goes home. You’re wrong! Don’t worry, I made the same mistake. There is a warm-up, strength and/or skills, WOD, cool-down, mobility, and core. Some days you may just work on strength and not skills. There might not be any core work on the board. You learn how to warm-up your body and how to increase your mobilization after a workout.
Crossfit goes beyond the workout too. You can talk to your coaches about proper nutrition or where to get quality Crossfit shoes. You’ll build relationships with your classmates and learn more about their lives outside of the box.
Of course everyone has different experiences with Crossfit and it will also vary from box to box. Stop peering into the glass and step inside to give it a try!
Try out this Double Pyramid Crossfit-inspired workout to get a flavor of the workouts are like!