There have been so many wonderful new members joining Solcana these last few weeks, and so many more reaching out to ask questions about the program that I spent some time thinking about a top 10 list (ok, top 11 I AM NOT SORRY) of thoughts I think would come in handy for someone embarking on a new CrossFit adventure. There are new terms, equipment, skills, and workouts coming at you all the time, and it can feel like a lot to grasp.
Take a deep breath, know you’re worth it, and keep this in mind as you enter into the most welcoming and life changing community I’ve ever been a part of. Oh, and feel free to tweet/facebook me with any questions – I’m happy to answer honestly!
TOP TEN (OK, ELEVEN) THINGS TO CONSIDER AS A NEW CROSSFITTER:
1. Just wear what you’ve got, and what you’re comfortable in.
Regular workout clothes and some athletic shoes are all you need to get started – really anything you’re comfortable in moving in. It took me about 4-5 months to move past yoga pants and a t-shirt to switch into compression tights and a more fitted tank top or t-shirt. The change in gear was more a personal preference as my body was changing (and I was tired of pulling my pants up!) and I realized that I like my workout clothes to be tight enough that they stay in place while I’m training but not so tight that it is obscene and I’m uncomfortable. At your first you might see a blur of knee socks, wrist wraps, weight belts, and specialized shoes. Don’t worry about that. Seriously. Wear whatever you feel like!
As for gear, there really isn’t anything you need to do CrossFit. There is absolutely no special clothing you need to get an awesome workout and start seeing improvements. Solcana, or which ever gym you choose, will have everything you need to complete a workout. As you progress in your journey, it might make sense to consider some of these things…and your coaches are great resources for this. I’ve only added a weight belt, lifting shoes, and Reebok Nanos to my repetoire within the last six months (which means I spent the first six months successfully without them!).
2. Ask questions.
Oh man, there is a plethora of lingo to learn in CrossFit. Don’t let this freak you out – I’m still learning! AMRAP, 1RM, EMOM, T2B, C2B. Fran, Jackie, Diane? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?! Don’t worry about it! CrossFit has weird terminology. Whether it’s deciphering acronyms, understanding what a metcon is, or even just figuring out how to hold a barbell – ask your coach. They are here for this exact reason!
3. Focus on form, then add weight.
It’s super fun to increase your weights on lifts from week to week – there is nothing better than seeing the progress you’ve made. However! It’s not worth rushing to add weights to your lift before you’ve been able to get really comfortable with correct lifting form. It’s so much better to focus on form first, so that your technique is good. Without intial good form, you could start developing less than ideal habits that could be harder to change later on. Even last week, one of my coaches made reference to seeing me slightly butt wink while squatting, and that was something I hadn’t done in months! The reminder was a good one for me as it caused me to think abotu form and focus on my lower back, hips, and pelvis – keeping everything tight – as I reached the bottom of my squat.
4. Be consistent and patient. Results will come.
Keep going. Keep coming. Be patient. I can tell you first hand that results take TIME, and if you’re consistent, they will come. As a beginner, you’ll see results more quickly – lifting heavier weights, running faster/farther, fitting into different clothing. Keep an eye out, you’ll see them.
If you commit to a year of consistent training, it’s amazing what you can achieve. Go back and look through all of my blogs and you can see that evidenced through my updates. When I started, I was coming to Solcana 2-3 times a week – a realistic goal for beginners that allows more recovery between training days and allows your body to get into the groove. A year in, I’m at the gym 4-6 times a week, and that is perfect for me now.
5. Scale as needed and don’t worry about “RX.”
The “RX” used in CrossFit WODs is simply the “prescribed,” or recommend weights or standards for any particular workout. If you’re just starting out, simply use it as a point of reference for choosing your weights. Do what is best for you and what feels right for you, on any given day. You’ll get the most out of the WODs if you can move through them quickly and efficiently with proper form.
Even the more experienced CrossFitters will sometimes scale workouts. Things change day to day and there are a lot of factors than can affect abilities. Eating, sleeping, training for competition, overall mental health. Be confident knowing that you don’t always have to lift the heaviest weights to get a great workout. The Solcana CrossFit coaches are so great – they want you to choose the appropriate weight for you on any given day and will help you determine where you should work if you’re unsure. And do not even worry about pull-ups, push-ups, box jumps – these all have modifications, too. And it’s so normal to do them modified!!! So many of your gym mates will modify too, so there is nothing to be self conscious about at all. It just gives you goals to work towards. I WILL EVENTUALLY GET A HANDSTAND AND A PULLUP IF IT IS THE LAST THING I DO. The most important note is that you should choose what you know will be challenging for you – while remaning realistic and safe.
6. Understand that sometimes it’s really gonna suck.
This is particularly true if you’re newer to working out all together. See my Week 2 post where I tell you all about the difficulties and the scariness and the muscle pain I felt, or check out Week 9 where I lament about running sprints. It’s no joke: sometimes you’re going to get sore. Sometimes, you might look at the WOD (workout of the day) and think UM NO WAY I AM NOT GOING TO DO THAT. But you do. And, it might feel so hard but you start to love that about it and you always feel like you’ve really DONE something when you’ve completed it.
I’ve noticed that my mental toughness has improved leaps and bounds since starting CrossFit. Where I used to give up, I’m more often able to ignore my screaming body and push through when I want to stop. You get stronger, both mentally and physically, you get better at things you used to suck at and you actually start to enjoy it even on the days you know it’s gonna be brutal.
7. No room for egos
Focus on doing your best. Listen to your body and don’t compare yourself to someone that’s been training for years. Instead, let them be your inspiration! I’ve always needed to work on being more vulnerable in life in general, and CrossFit has really helped me be more successful with this. I put it all out there on the mat when I walk into Solcana. It’s scary. But it’s worth it. There are so many people stronger and faster than me, and that is okay! I am stronger and faster than the me I was on June 16, 2014, and THAT is an accomplishment.
8. You willl get out of CrossFit exactly what you put in to CrossFit.
This pretty much goes for anything in life, doesn’t it though? You want something, you work for it. There isn’t really any way around that, but it is possible. You can achieve anything you want at CrossFit, if you work hard, be consistent and put in the work. Work on your weaknesses before and after class and just keep at it. You will get there. This has always been my biggest hurdle and I’m so proud of the fact that I’ve managed to make CrossFit a mainstay in my life. I’ve gotten WAY MORE out of it than I’ve put in (though I’m pretty sure I’ve done 1,000,000,000,000 burpees by now).
If there is one particular area where you want to see improvement, ask a coach! A little extra work will go a long way, which is why I’ve been working on my handstand wall kick ups at home. STILL GONNA LAND THAT HANDSTAND YOU GUYS.
9. Anything new can be intimidating.
If you’ve never done CrossFit, it can be intimidating. You’ve probably watched a bunch of videos and seen some incredibly strong people do amazing things. If you’re new to this type of workout, you might think that you need to “get into better shape” before you even ATTEMPT a CrossFit workout. And what if you don’t know anyone?! OH GOD THE ANXIETY! I totally get it. That was me, exactly. An out of shape, new to CrossFit, didn’t know anyone kind of gal. It can be intense sometimes. However, I realized early on that there were a bunch of people at the same level I was and I got to know them! We became friends! We laughed and cried and lifted and ran and suddenly I was a part of this wonderful community of friends and athletes. And it made me want to keep coming back.
10. Be a part of the community.
Group classes create a sense of community – you’re all going through the experiences together. One thing I realized early on is that everyone is focused on themselves and – gasp – not on me. Fail a lift? Nothing to be ashamed of. You’ve got your classmates as spotters, and are also cheering you on just like you do for them. I’ve talked about this many times before, and can tell you first hand that hearing one of my homies cheer for me is the make-it factor I often need to push through a big lift or an intense metcon. It feels weird at first, and then it’s just second nature. These are your people. These are my people. We’re in this together and it feels good to be part of a crew like this. Embrace it!
11. JUST DO IT!
I’ve talked with so many of you who are interested in trying CrossFit and I get it. It can feel too expensive, scary, outside of your athletic abilities. I’m here to tell you that it’s not. For what it would cost you to work with an individual personal trainer 2x a month (about $150) you can work with a trainer EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU WORK OUT! See the results – no more ‘walking’ at 3.5mph on the treadmill in the back of the big box gym hoping your fitness goals will be met. They won’t. It’s scary at first. Then it’s fun and rewarding. And I’m not sure how many times I can reiterate that there are athletes of all abilities and body types working out right next to you. There is something for everyone at Solcana CrossFit, and if you still don’t believe me…please, honestly, go back and read my weekly blog from the beginning!
And THEN know that very soon I won’t just be a member of Solcana CrossFit…I will also be a coach. A COACH! And everyting I’ve learned as a CrossFit newbie will be in my brain as I work with you to help you reach your fitness goals. I get it. I live the experience. You can, too.