Dear Beginner CrossFitter,
While I’m new to coaching, I’ve been a relatively avid CrossFitter for about three years. While some might still call their third year the “early stages” (in comparison to some CrossFit veterans who have been at it for 10 years!) I have definitely experienced several phases of growth and numerous attitude and motivational shifts since I began. However, I am not sure any of my phases will compare to beginning CrossFit.
As a CrossFit “beginner” I was filled with fear, dread, excitement, insecurity, impatience, happiness, curiosity, and joy. Every day. Sound familiar? Probably.
I was lucky when I started CrossFit to have a wonderful community wrap around me. They were patient, motivating, supportive, and invigorating. However, I am stubborn. And their wisdom could only extend so far.
I cannot go back in time to shake myself and say “Listen, Sarah!! Physical therapy bills are no joke!” but I do have the opportunity to save you, budding CrossFitters, and make your beginning phase the most safe and effective it can be.
Rule #1: Say BYE To Your Ego!
But for real. Friends-listen to your body and listen to your coaches. Making an unsafe lift is not worth the injury. Do you think anyone that loves you cares if you didn’t make a 5-lb PR? Do they love you any less? Nope.
Does being the strongest person in your box correlate to your worth as a human being? Absolutely not. The gym is here to make you fit and strong so you can take on LIFE-the stuff that really matters.
Do your best and lift heavy, run fast, and get AMRAP, but keep that ego in check. Scale your workout so that it’s right for YOU.
Rule #2: What goes into your body MATTERS.
You can’t cheat this part. If I had a dollar for every time I tried to drink 5 vodka sodas on Friday night then try to perform my best during a Saturday WOD I would have enough money to probably buy 15 more vodka sodas.
But seriously – don’t expect to perform your best if you aren’t inputting high quality food and drink into your body. It’s your machine and it needs fuel. High quality and thoughtful nutrition will get you SO much further than simply working out with a poor diet.
Life gets frustrating when you’re killing it in the gym but starting to plateau because of nutrition choices. Have a little fun, but if you want results follow the 80/20 rule: 80% thoughtful nutrition, 20% fun stuff.
It’s so cliche but life really is about balance. Watch how much stronger and clean you feel when you’re working out-it’s amazing!
If you need a resource for healthy recipes, check out Paleo Scaleo. Jess is all about balance – working hard and playing hard, and enjoying what you eat!
Rule #3: Allow yourself to be a true beginner.
That means being vulnerable. And asking for help. And doing some research. And staying curious. This is a crazy exciting time for you!
CrossFit absolutely changed my life and I have a feeling it will change yours. Try not to get frustrated when you don’t know everything right away. There’s so much to learn and staying curious will help you get the most out of CrossFit – or any experience, for that matter.
I’m three years in and still working on my deadlift form. EVERYONE was once a beginner, and we all remember what it feels like to not know what the heck a Bear Complex is or where everyone is buying their lifting shoes. Just ask!
Remember: Your starting phase is such an exciting time full of personal records (expect to PR a TON in your first year of CrossFit), and new challenges. You’re about to see just how far your body and your mind can go, and it’s further than you think.
Have fun, work to make friends and build your CrossFit community (arguably the best part of any CrossFit box), and figure out what makes you feel your best. This is YOUR journey and no one else’s. Enjoy the ride!