Ready to incorporate a new style of workouts in the new year? Is CrossFit starting to sound like the workout for you?? Here’s my advice to those “CF-curious out there regarding topics I often here as a CrossFit Athlete myself.
“I want to try CrossFit but I’m going to have to start working out first”. I have heard variations of this line SO MANY times from friends and family, people who have walked by the gym and poked their heads in, even strangers I’ve met in airports, grocery stores, you name it. If you’ve never stepped foot into a CrossFit box (gym), your exposure to CrossFit may be limited to catching a glimpse of the CrossFit Games on ESPN where athletes compete for the title of “Fittest on Earth” or seeing (lots of) exercise posts from someone in your social network who you’ve always thought was a little crazy.
The reality is that there are people of all different fitness levels, ages, body types and abilities at any given CrossFit gym. And no matter what level you are at when you start, anyone who spends even just 1 month consistently going to CrossFit will be fitter (i.e. “in better shape”) than 30 days earlier when he or she walked in the door. Come as you are to CrossFit and know that the workout can be tailored to your ability wherever that is.
In fact, since it is not a franchise, each gym is unique to the owner that runs it. You likely might be close enough to several different affiliates to be able to choose the best fit for you. This is especially true if you live in a metropolitan area. So how do you decide on your ideal match? I recommend first checking out the website. The best way to see if the gym will be welcoming to CrossFit newbies is to see if the gym has a beginner’s class or introduction. Look for classes or sessions called on-ramp, fundamentals, elements or something similar. If there is a free trial class- take it! And consider doing that at several different affiliates as you make your decision.
When you go to your first class- take note, does the coach: introduce him/herself?, assess your movement?, give you options for variations of an exercise (for example: a push-up can be modified to a knee, bench or wall push-up)? The more comfortable you feel with the coaching, environment and community, the more likely you will consistently attend classes and start to experience truly positive changes both physically and mentally.
This isn’t like a fitness center where you might be greeted by a front desk person as you swipe your keycard and get a polite head nod from another gym go-er. You will get to know the people you are sweating next to. More than that, you will be cheered on, encouraged by, and maybe even partnered with your fellow members. The community fostered at a CrossFit gym is pretty awesome. You form a common bond with the other members because you are all doing the same workout (scaled to appropriate weights/movements). There is something about shared “suffering” (ok it’s not that bad, but you know what I mean) that unites people together. It is expected that you support each other by introducing yourself, cheering each other on, offering a high five and sometimes partnering up for a warm-up or workout.
Being part of a gym that emphasizes community makes you much more likely to stay committed to going, because you know if you don’t show up- people will wonder where you’ve been! A supportive gym culture can also lead to relationships outside the gym both personal and business because you end up having an actually meaningful exchange with people who you may not have crossed paths with in other contexts. Much like deals and connections that might have gone down on the golf course in years past, a CrossFit gym is the new frontier for professionals of all different trades to connect. I met my veterinarian, hair stylist, massage therapist, accountant, real estate agent, physical therapist AND my husband, all through CrossFit contacts.
So if you’re considering trying out CrossFit in the New Year, I say go for it! You could make a new best friend, forge a new business relationship or find the love of your life…and get really, really ridiculously fit in the process.