This post was originally published as a guest post on runeatdatesleep.com.
When first entering the world of CrossFit it might seem like you have to learn an entirely new language to fit in. Snatch. Clean. Burpee. WOD. Gretchen. Fran. What?
After two and a half months of sweating, lifting, thrusting and yes, even WODing (that’s Workout of the Day…ing) I have learned a few things along the way that will help any beginner get a handle on what can seem to be a scary, new world.
CrossFit is a constantly varied workout method essentially made up of HIIT, Olympic lifting and body weight movements. The prescribed (Rx) workout is the same for everyone but workouts are easily scaled for gender and ability. Speaking of gender, a lot of the workouts have girls names because the founder once said anything that has you lying on your back and out of breath deserves to be named after a woman. Funny man. Workouts are usually under 30 minutes but you’re going full speed the entire time for either a certain amount of RFT (rounds for time) or AMRAP (as many rounds as possible).
Here are four things to keep in mind on your way to the box (gym).
It helps to go with a friend but even if you can’t know that the community is welcoming of all skill levels, shapes, sizes and genders.
I did my first two months of CrossFit with my friend, Sweta. I’ve since moved from Florida to Tennessee and the first thing I Googled after moving was the closest box. I’ve done drank the Kool-Aid and I’m totally OK with that.
CrossFit is incredibly addicting once you get started but it helps to go with a friend to get over the initial shock factor. When you first walk in (especially if like me you’re used to ellipticals, running and Zumba classes) all the grunting and people throwing weights around is a little overwhelming. Relax and introduce yourself to new people. Everyone started somewhere. What keeps me coming back to CrossFit day in and day out is the likeminded community of healthy living enthusiasts that supports me. At both boxes I’ve been to workouts are completed and equipment is put away when everyone is done and no one gets left to finish alone. I love that.
It’s expensive but so are dinners out, good cheese and weekly nights at the movies.
Because you get specialized attention in the gym with certified coaches who tell you exactly how and when to scale or modify the cost of being a member at a box is two to three times as much of that of a “normal” gym. Surprise! Not all of us have spare piles of money stuffed under the mattress we use to pay our memberships. You may have to cut some things out of your budget to afford CrossFit. One movie instead of four, eating in a little more, one less mani/pedi or in my case good cheese (Why, oh, why does cheese have to be so delicious and fattening?)
It’s a choice you’ll have to make on your own. While there are plenty of other ways to stay fit it’s up to you to decide whether CrossFit is worth the investment in your health. That’s what it is—an investment. Going to an actual box provides a community you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a great group to be a part of, but daily workouts are also posted for free on the official CrossFit website. Most boxes offer an introductory class for free as well so you can try it out and see what all the hype is about.
It really is for everyone. Don’t be afraid to scale.
I’ve seen pure muscled amazingness, three hundred pound men (and women), old men, pregnant women and everything in between at my box. That bulky dude with all of the muscles? He can probably lift more than you but that doesn’t have any bearing on what you’re lifting at this very moment. Everything can be scaled and you’re only competing against yourself so remember that no one else matters. Everyone is on different levels and that’s totally OK. Don’t let pride stand in the way of achieving your personal best because even Big Beefy with the muscles on his muscle started somewhere.
Sweat is your fat cells crying
I’ve always worn makeup to the gym even though I sweat like a beast. I quit that after my first week of CrossFit. After a particularly grueling workout I peeled myself off the ground and left a skin colored puddle of sweat in my wake. Never mind the fact that I looked like a wet raccoon. Makeup puddles are gross, harder to clean and besides, it’s bad for your pores. If you look cute after you’re done you weren’t trying hard enough. Just wait until your palms start cracking from pull ups. Sweat beads flying and a matted ponytail is only the beginning of beast mode.
What have you got to lose? I’m a little biased but I do believe that CrossFit is for everyone. This doesn’t even have to be your primary workout method. I still run, cycle and Zumba it up at the gym and you can too. Sign up for an intro class near you and thank me later (and then we can totally compare our Fran times).
See you at the box,