1. Scale and listen to your coach
It’s hard when jumping into your first class.
Watching some of the other members lift heavy weights or perform movements effortlessly.
The urge to do the same or show them you’re capable is always there. Just remember they have been there longer than you and have been through the same process . Your number one focus when starting out is, Mechanics (move well) - Consistency (do it often) - Intensity (add difficulty).
It’s hard to say know your limits because you are yet to test them. This is where your coach will help out… A slower steady approach in the beginning will see you go further over time!
2. Get comfortable being uncomfortable
It’s hard to become something you have never been without doing something you have never done.
In short if you want to have an athletes body or perform well you must train like an athlete.
This means pushing yourself and being uncomfortable at times. Getting used to this is good for so many reasons in life. Subscribing to this while you’re in the gym will take you a long way!
3. Find the right box
There are thousands of affiliates all over the world now so you are spoilt for choice.
Find a place where the people are friendly, supportive and keep you progressing towards your goals. Find coaches who are more interested in your well being and progress towards your goals than their social media accounts and their own training.
A great gym will have a beginners program or way to on-board new members. They will care less about numbers through the door and more about teaching you how to do things properly from the start!
4. Be on time to class and always warm up!
Being from a military background on time for me is 10 minutes early! I have always applied this in the gym too. Getting to class early allows me the time to do extra stretching, practice a movement or mobility work that I find to be a challenge. If you are serious about making progress being 10 minutes early will help a lot!
Warm ups serve probably the most important function during your workout… They get your body moving and raise your heart rate so you are prepared for the strength and conditioning session to follow. It helps reduce injury rates, builds coordination and allows you to practice movement at a light weight so you get better at them!
5. Make decisions based on your goals
This point could be talked about for hours! In short… I have a rule. Yes another rule… Well more of a question to ask yourself. If you are about to eat or drink something and cannot answer yes to the following question should you really be eating it?
Will eating or drinking this food right now, help me reach my goal of (Insert your goal here)?
(Losing 5 kg) (Doing a strict pull up) etc…
If it is a yes then go for it… If it’s a no that's ok too but you need to live with the consequences.
6. Just do CrossFit. Trust the process!
Follow the program and trust the process.
When you’re first starting out it is easy to try and do more. Adding an extra run or two per week or a massive bike ride. It’s easy to get the bug and try to do everything! You feel good and are excited. We get it :-)
Most people can handle the amount of extra training but don’t put enough emphasis on recovery so end up become sick, tired or injured a couple of weeks in.
Follow the program and see how your body reacts after a couple of weeks and then add extra training from there.
7. Listen to your coach (not everyone else)
You will learn very quickly that everyone in the gym wants to give you advice. CrossFitters just want to help out. It's who we are...
As a rule of thumb you should thank them for their advice but instead listen to what your coach says. Your coach sees you more often and will generally have a plan in place for how you should progress. There is often more to it than just a one quick tip.
It’s not to say your fellow athlete is wrong but rather than getting conflicting advice and not being sure what to. Just listen to your coach and they will have your back.
8. Some days are for PR’s. Some are not...
Some days you will hit a PR or PB and some days you won’t. When starting out it is easy and you will probably get used to PR’ing very regularly. The movements are new and you will get better very fast.
As you start to get used to the movements PR’s don’t happen as often. Often called hitting a plateau...
When you hit a plateau it is hard to stay motivated. The highs aren’t experienced as often. What is the best way to get through this stage?
Set new goals, change up your routine or organise a one on one session with a coach. Something must change for you to break through the plateau. Talk to someone about it or make your own plans but the less time you feel sorry for yourself the better.
Keep working hard and the results will come. Be patient!
9. Keep a training log. Seriously!
Keep a log and track your progress. Staying on top of what you can do and knowing your limits is the best way to keep making progress.
This info is important to us because it is measurable. It can be tracked and this holds us accountable to pushing past it.
What gets measured gets managed. A good training log can help you assess your progress and set realistic goals. If you’re not keeping a training log, it’s hard to set goals and really enjoy the improvements you're making.
(I like to use the MyWod app which you can download from itunes or google play for a couple of dollars)
10. Have fun. Don't take it too seriously...
It should be the best hour of your day! We turn the music up, get sweaty and push yourself through new challenges.
Not to mention you can put your phone and emails to the side for the hour and focus on the most important thing in your life.
Your health and fitness!