What’s it like to start out with CrossFit?
Regardless of whether you have found this article by chance, or have made the commitment to take out a CrossFit membership, you are likely to be thinking about your health and fitness as areas of life that you would like to improve. Your motivations (being stronger, faster, better physique etc) will be your own, but one of the many things your CrossFit comrades will have experienced is the initial anxiety that comes with leaping into the unknown.
Whilst it’s always a good idea to know what you are in for before you start something new, sometimes, taking a chance and jumping into the unknown is just as rewarding.
In this article we’ll provide a broad overview of why crossfit is an excellent choice if you are seeking to improve your health and fitness. But we’ll spend the majority of our time focusing on some of the feelings beginners may experience as they commence their CrossFit journey.
So why should I choose Crossfit?
CrossFit is an excellent combination of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and functional movements, that produces a fitness level suited to all athletic pursuits and daily physical tasks.
CrossFit harnesses the four key aspects of physical fitness (cardiovascular, flexibility, muscular, stability and balance) into regimes that optimise your physical performance, endurance, and strength.
By combining elements of Gymnastics, Weightlifting, Sprinting, Combat and Personal training, CrossFit training accentuates your physical fitness with improved:
- Stamina – The ability to maintain physical exertion for sustained periods
- Power – The ability to apply increasing levels of force within a distinct action
- Coordination – Combining several actions into a singular distinct movement
- Speed – the ability to complete a task within a minimal amount of time
- Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement to another
- Accuracy – The ability to control one’s direction and intensity of movement
Ok, sounds interesting…so what should I expect?
Excitement, nervousness, fear…..these are all completely normal emotions to feel when you enter a CrossFit box (CrossFit lingo for the space people train in) for the first time.
Most boxes will be a hive of activity and encouragement with people engaging in their Workout of the Day (WOD – CrossFit training program). Whilst this aspect is a common feature amongst CrossFit boxes, each will have their own distinct layout, setup and atmosphere. These will be the things you pick up on as you form your first impressions of the place.
Take the time to speak to a coach and ask them to explain why they love CrossFit and how they go about their training. Whilst every coach will have their own perspective and insights to offer, one theme that is likely to be consistent is the fact that your training regime will be designed to push you to your limits. Plenty of preparation and instruction will take place to ensure your workout goals are achievable and set up in ways that minimise the risk of injury.
In essence, CrossFit training will teach you that nothing easy is ever worthwhile. This can be a daunting phrase until you look closer and realise that…
…Nothing worthwhile is ever done on your own.
So you’ve made the effort to visit a few CrossFit boxes, speak to a few coaches and have finally decided to take the plunge at the place you felt most comfortablee. This is no small step because in making this decision you have decided to abandon seeking ‘easy’ options…..and this will always leave you feeling a little nervous or anxious.
If this is where your head is at, don’t fight against it but at the same time don’t let it get the better of you either. If you’re comfortable, talking out your anxiety with your coach prior to your session is a great way to bring perspective, insight….and surety. It may also help to think of that nervousness as an energy in need of an outlet. This is where the community aspect of CrossFit comes into its own. Your CrossFit coach will take the time to get to know you and provide you with everything you need to succeed. And with each achievement, no matter how small, comes confidence.
Your classmates will all have been there. They will remember what it was like for them when they first started and they will help you find your place in the class and box. This is a vital ingredient to…
…Experiencing the power of a CrossFit workout.
As you begin your first class, you’ll be taken through each component of your Workout of the Day (WOD). You’ll be asked to pay close attention to the form, method and breathing required of each exercise. It is important you focus here as what you hear will be the difference between completing your set (a number of repetitions of a specific exercise) successfully, or overexerting yourself and possibly developing an injury.
Every CrossFit WOD will be different and as you improve in strength, flexibility, core strength and cardiovascular fitness, the level of difficulty will increase as well. However as a general rule, your class (no matter the level of difficulty) will:
- be designed and tailored to challenge you, working a targeted set of muscles with intensity
- run for 1 hour duration
- be led by coaches expert in matching weight, repetitions, rounds, and distances to your level of ability (otherwise known as scaling)
….And here’s where your coach is your secret weapon.
Every CrossFit workout begins with your coach demonstrating all the movements for the workout with scaled variations to suit your personal level of fitness. The best coaches take great pride in sharing their knowledge, in encouraging effort and success (no matter how small) and in correcting technique issues that can lead to over-exertion, soreness, injury and decreased motivation.
Picking a box with coaches you feel comfortable with will be the difference between CrossFit being a short-lived experience or a much longer and rewarding adventure.
Of CrossFit you can expect community, camaraderie and expert coaching. Of yourself, you’ll need courage, commitment and a can-do attitude. These are the ingredients for success, the benefits of which you’ll see not at some point in the future, but every single day.
If this sounds like you, get out from behind your screen and go visit your local CrossFit box. Your journey towards better health and fitness awaits you.