You’ve read the blogs, you realize I am right, about everything – and you are finally ready to take the first step in becoming a better person. You are ready to do your first CrossFit workout. Here’s a small, but effective survival guide as part of our continuing series of "Why you should try CrossFit".
1. You know nothing. The person who absorbs the most from their first weeks and months at CrossFit is the person who understands they don’t know anything. Drop your preconceived notions of fitness at the door, ditch what you think you learned by watching videos on youtube prior to your first day in the gym. This is different. The movements are different, the principles and goals are different. Shut up and learn.
2. Nobody cares what you “used to lift”. Again, this is different. You are going to be scaling the weight – Read more about how terrible the “back in the day bro” is and why nobody likes him, here.
3. Ditch your ego. Along the lines of number 2 – You are about to have your ass handed to you by a pregnant woman, or a 65 year old man or woman, because they are in shape. They have been Crossfitting for years. You haven’t. Know this is going to happen before you go in – prepare yourself for it if you have to.
4. Don’t get frustrated. Anyone who knows me will probably laugh at me saying this to anyone – as this is something I still struggle with every day. Throwing a fit because you can’t do 30 snatches at the prescribed weight, is insulting to the people around you who worked their asses off for the last year 2 years to be able to accomplish this feat. You haven’t put in the work yet, so don’t expect the payoff.
5. Don’t cheat. Cheating reps may only cheat one person – you, but it can pretty much ruin your reputation in the gym and nobody is gonna take anything you accomplish seriously. If you lose count, and you will, just estimate your score lower or don’t post a score at all. We all lose count, it happens. But trust me, I have seen guys and girls in the gym who post scores on the board that would make them a Regional Athlete – these people usually don’t compete, the gym is their competition – and every day they “beat” some of the top people in the gym – then The Open arrives and mysteriously their name is absent from the list of top performers. Don’t be that guy – or that girl.
6. Learn the language. Yes, we speak our own language – much like the military, everything is abbreviated or made into an acronym – or simply has its own word. I refuse to call the gym a “box”, but some of the lingo you will need to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask! Nobody expects you to know this when you walk in the door, so don’t pretend to, just learn it as you go.
7. You don’t need all that gear. You aren’t gonna be snatching 225lbs, you aren’t going to be hitting 100 double unders – so don’t worry about dressing like you can. Yes, you will see guys and girls changing shoes depending on the movements, wrapping shit around their wrists, pulling on compression sleeves, using gymnastic wraps on their hand. You don’t need all that stuff when you start. Get a pair of shoes designed for CrossFit, and get after it. As you progress, you can start adding these tools when they are necessary. I didn’t get a pair of Olympic lifting shoes until I had been training for almost a year and a half. Rich Froning has snatched over 300lbs in a pair of Reebok Nanos. Also, training masks are stupid.
8. Don’t start eating Paleo. This might not mean anything to you right now, but just don’t. If you are looking to improve your nutrition, there are much better ways to do it. You can read about the best way, here.
9. Don’t try stupid shit. The guy doing an overhead squat on an atlas stone? He’s probably been doing this a while – you haven’t. You’ll get injured and nobody will think you are cool anyway.
10. You know nothing. This is number 1 and number 10. Failure to adhere to this rule and understand your lack of knowledge will turn you into the Insufferable CrossFit Newb. Read about him here and don’t become him.