Ever see the CrossFit Games on ESPN and think, “I would really like to try that but I can’t do what they are doing or I’m too out of shape to workout with people on that level”? The truth is you aren’t! In reality, the athletes you see on TV and/or competing at competitions are elite athletes just like professional football or basketball players. These are the 1% of 1% of CrossFitters. Most CrossFit athletes are just like you and me. We just want to be healthy and make our exercise routine less of just that, a routine. Below are some tips to help you get over the fear of trying CrossFit because we’ve all been there.
We all started somewhere and nobody is going to judge you. One of the first things that I hear when I talk to people about joining a CrossFit gym is “I’m too out of shape for that” or “those workouts are too much for me”. I agree, CrossFit workouts are going to challenge you, and the best thing about the workouts are that they will not only challenge a beginner, but also a veteran. This is because all of our workouts are scalable. Whether this means reducing weights, number of reps, distance, etc., every person in the class will be able to challenge themselves at the same time. If you wait until you “are in better shape” to come try it out, I will probably never see you.
I can’t do all of the movements that everyone else is doing. This is completely understandable and we don’t anticipate that every member is able to jump in and be able to do everything. At our gym, we offer a bootcamp class to go over the movements so that all members have at least seen them before being thrown into a workout. You might not be able to do all of the movements before you leave bootcamp, such as pullups, but you should have a good understanding of ways you can scale each of the movements until you develop the proper strength or movement patterns. If you are looking at a gym and they don’t do an on-boarding of some sort, word of advice, keep looking.
Compete against yourself. One of the biggest mistakes that new members make is to try and compete against the top performers or go too heavy because that is what was prescribed for the workout. This leads to rushed reps and poor form, which leads to injury. The goal, at least for beginners, is to be a fitter, better version of yourself, and not go to the CrossFit games. You have to build a solid base before you can grow.
Listen to your body. CrossFit is tough. You are going to get sore, especially if you have not been working out previously, this is normal and perfectly ok. What is not ok is trying to work through injuries. You should not be in pain when doing a workout or after a workout. If you are starting to feel an injury coming on, get with a coach before it gets to the point where you can’t workout. This is one of the benefits of a CrossFit gym. The coach is there to help you try to avoid injuries and but can also provide stretches or options to help treat the ache or pain before more drastic measures are required.
Don’t be scared. We all started at the beginning. It takes time to build a solid base. Be patient, have fun, and enjoy the journey. Being healthy is a lifelong project and not something that happens overnight.