- Don’t be judgmental. When I started CrossFit I had never done anything like it in my life. I was terrified. I was overweight, unfit and, if I am totally honest, had been hiding behind a place of judgement my whole life. I am thoroughly ashamed to admit it but I had convinced myself that men and women who were really muscly and fit were shallow, vain and probably quite stupid. I told myself they couldn’t be that smart or funny or interesting…they just looked good. That made sense to me in my smoking, drinking, junk food eating bubble because I was afraid and I was jealous. I have been astounded at how sweet, friendly, intelligent and kind the people I have met through CrossFit are. Even the ones that look like gods are only human!
- Give yourself some credit. I remember really early on puffing and panting my way through a WOD, face like a raspberry about to explode, and noticing that someone was looking at me. Straight away I made the assumption that this big, muscular hulk of a man was judging me as I had judged people like him. I bet he’s thinking look at that fat bitch. Ha ha look at the state of her! I put it out of my mind but I could not have been more surprised when later he came to me and said how impressed he was with how hard I worked, with how much effort I put in. If you are new to CrossFit you have to get used to the fact that people might be looking at you, especially if you are last in the WOD. It is a CrossFit tradition to gather round and cheer on the last person and that is not going to change – what you have to change is the voice in your head telling you what they are thinking because it is probably less like look at that fatty and more like check out that badass, giving it everything they’ve got.
- Be okay with being beaten. Unless you are super fit and healthy already you will have to accept the fact that you are going to get beaten by middle aged women on a regular basis. They will run faster than you, they will lift heavier than you, they will be able to do things you can’t. Just go with it.
- You are going to sweat. Unlike globo-gyms, where perfectly coiffured women complete workouts with full makeup intact, CrossFit is a dirty, messy affair! You are going to sweat so much it feels like even your eyeballs are sweating and in winter you will see steam rising from your sticky carcass as you stretch after a WOD. Try and just view it in a positive light – as evidence of how hard you worked. Take a hand towel and make sure you clean up that trail and wipe down your equipment.
- There will be strange things afoot. This is not like a gym you have ever been to so when there are children and dogs running around, naked people (hopefully not at the same time as the children) and general oddness – embrace it – it’s fun! CrossFit boxes are loud places full of the myriad sounds of grunting, shouting, sometimes crying, and very often laughter.
- Don’t be a stranger. It is really difficult going to a new place where relationships seem so secure and people are very familiar with one another but you have to dive in head first. Introduce yourself, ask questions, speak to people, pair up with someone you’ve never met before. It will enhance your experience and you will probably learn a great deal from them.
- Etiquette. There are definitely a lot of rules of CrossFit that you need to adhere to to ensure that the box is a happy little microcosm of humanity. Read this article…its a good un’.
- Learn the lingo. There is a whole other language that comes with CrossFit and it will help you immensely if you learn it. Ask coaches and fellow box goers by all means but here is a list from CrossFit HQ.
- Be a social butterfly. If there are events and socials make sure you go. You might not want your entire social life to centre around the box but it will make your sessions better if you have chatted to people outside of a class environment.
- Do your research. This one is not a necessity but it will be helpful to you. When we started CrossFit my husband did a lot of research on the origins of the sport of fitness. I found it really inspirational finding out about the CrossFit Games and athletes like Chris Spealler and Annie Sakamoto (I love them because they are small like me). Also when the 2014 Games come around and everyone at the box is talking about it, you will know what the hell they are going on about! Watching the Games is SO much fun. I have never in my life enjoyed watching sports until I started CrossFit and now I love it.
Thanks for reading, I’m now blogging over at joskibyrne.wordpress.com come and join me!