Congratulations on your first step in becoming a CrossFitter; just making the commitment to tackle your first CrossFit class is worth a pat on the back. New experiences can be scary, painful, exciting or even life changing and CrossFit is all of these and more.
I remember my first CrossFit experience–it was a competition at the Arnold Sports Festival in Ohio (here is this year’s event CrossFit Endeavor: Arnold Sports Festival USA). So when I say “learn from my mistakes”, I mean it! I didn’t train for the event so I didn’t know the correct form, terminology or rules. In fact, I had never even heard of a CrossFit “throwdown” before, but it looked like a great workout so I walked right in and signed up. In the end it was the most fun I had ever had in a physical challenge.
Top 10 Tips for Success
1. Start slow and be patient. Start with a beginner series, an “on-ramp” class or spend one-on-one time with a trainer.
2. Be a stickler about learning and using proper form. Proper form will set you up for future success and prevent injury. It is so much easier to learn proper form initially, than to change poor mechanics after they have been learned.
3. Work on foundational strength before focusing on speed. For example, people often want to learn kipping or butterfly pull-ups before gaining the strength to do a strict pull-up because they are quicker. Unfortunately, these advanced skills can lead to injuries of the shoulders, elbows and wrists if you don’t have sufficient joint strength. Because many CrossFit WODs (Workout of the Day) are timed events, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to beat your workout partners; however, you are at the gym to challenge yourself.
4.Focus on mobility. Many injuries occur due to an individual not being able to perform the movement correctly due to stiff joints. Put equal amounts of time and energy into your mobility and flexibility. Daily yoga and stretching are key to longevity in joint health and maintaining its full range of motion.
5. Variety is the spice of life. One thing I love about Midtown is that I can do the strength and conditioning option, the Crossfit option or some other workout option of the day. Get outside and run, swim, bike, hike and incorporate all that this area has to offer. Incorporating variety to your fitness routine will help you to keep having fun. At the end of the day, fitness is supposed to be fun!
6. Be realistic- Don’t expect to be elite overnight. Fitness is a life long journey. Know your limitations and scale accordingly. At the end of the day, the only person you are competing against is yourself. Be proud of your daily accomplishments and cherish the small victories. Small victories over time create huge results.
7. Learn something new daily- This is my favorite thing about Crossfit and working out in general. If you are open to trying new things, you will absolutely learn every single day.
8. Proper nutrition and hydration is important- This is another area to be realistic. Get involved with the nutritional coaching or attend a seminar at the gym. Set achievable and realistic goals in your nutrition plan. At the same time, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t expect to change your habits overnight. This is another area where small consistent changes will make a huge difference in the long run.
9.Use a journal- Documenting your workouts allows you to track progress. Tracking your workouts, weights and anything else that is pertinent to your workout is so important. I find that tracking my workouts truly helps me be more precise with my weight training. It also takes out all the guess work for future training. Journaling also allows you to review your workouts and celebrate the progress you are making.
10. Enjoy the journey-Fitness and the enjoyment of training with your friends can be one of the best parts of your day. Gaining fitness, strength and conditioning, meeting new friends and decreasing stress is a fantastic recipe for reaping satisfying results. Have fun and enjoy the community! Take the time to get to know the staff and students. You will not regret it. You will be amazed at the backgrounds of the people you are working out next to. I am constantly impressed at what I learn about my classmates if I just take the time to get to know someone.