When I started Crossfit, I was a huge (pun intended) couch potato. I was overweight and out of shape. I had been physically active in my youth, but all the sports I had been involved in were mostly cardio-based: downhill skiing, dance, volleyball. I had done a little bit of weightlifting on my own, but I thought a 80# DL was impressive “for a girl”. Suffice it to say that the day I walked into Crossfit Vic City, I knew nothing about Crossfit. After almost 2 years of being consistent to it, here’s what I now know and wished I knew when I started.
- Take care of your hands: Your hands will take a beating when you do Crossfit from all the lifting, the pull-ups (even assisted ones), ring dips, rowing, rope climbs, etc. Invest in a good callus shaver and use it frequently. I often pumice my calluses on Fridays because I now I have at least two days of rest before heading back into the gym. You have to shave them, polish them and then, make sure to moisturize well too. As a nurse, I know all about keeping my hands moisturized and it will help tremendously in keeping your hands healthy for Crossfit too.
- You will become that girl: You know the one, she shows up, looks like she knows what she’s doing and doesn’t care about her physical appearance because she’s there to throw down, not to impress anybody else. Yeah, that girl. When I first started, I was very self-conscious about what the other members were thinking of me. It’s only recently that I’ve come to the realization that nobody has time to worry about anybody else, we’re all way too busy breathing and trying to finish the WOD. So go ahead, get comfortable and work hard. Take your shirt off if you need to (I DO need to! 😉 ) and get ‘er done!
- If you want to buy something, buy lifting shoes: I was hesitant at buying these and in the end, I found a solution: Get my hubby to give them to me at Christmas! 😉 I have never regretted my decision. I won’t lie, they are expensive, but well worth it to help with reaching depth into your squats, snatches, cleans, presses, etc. Heck, I even wear mine to do now (depending on the rest of the WOD) as I find they help me a tiny bit more (and we all know I need all the help in the world for wallballs!)
- Stretch, rest and roll: Those are all part of your workout too. You will get sore. Make that “I don’t want to go pee because that would imply squatting and my quads are burning” sore. Make sure you get the rest (whether it’s a day away from the Box or enough sleeping hours at night) you need. Recovery is important and begins right after the WOD.
- Be mindful of your pie hole: I find that I perform way better when the fuel I put in my body is clean. If I eat crap, I perform like crap. Same goes for hydration. Make sure you hydrate enough, and not just the day of a WOD, but on your rest days too. I try to limit my coffee consumption to 1-2/day and focus on drinking water the rest of the day. I’m still a work in progress for that one, but I try to be mindful.
- Keep track of your progress: Whether it’s in the gym or about your body. I have logged every single workout, lift and skill I have worked on since about 3 months into my journey. It’s nice to look back and compare. For example, when I started, all my lifts were done with the empty training bar, whereas now, they are all done with a 35# bar with plates on it. I also couldn’t do a proper box jump and had to do them from plates stacked onto others and now, I can do a few from a 24″ box. Also, I have my measurements and pictures from Day 1 of Crossfit and I do a “compare and contrast” once in a while. I don’t focus on the scale so much these days as I know I have put on muscle, even though I still have fat to lose.
- Work on your weaknesses: You know the saying: “You’re only as strong as your weakest member”? Same goes for Crossfit. You are only as strong as your biggest weakness. Work on them until they become more natural. For me, they are running, wallballs and the snatch (for now). I could also add MU, TTB, pull-ups, etc, but I have steadily improved in those whereas the snatch and the wallballs are still a major struggle for me.
- Stop the negative self talk: I can’t really chastise anybody on that one as it took me A LONG TIME to stop doing this. I kept telling myself that I sucked, that the WOD sucked and why was I doing this to myself again? Yet, I kept showing up. I took a long hard look as to why I kept coming for more torture and for me, what made this enjoyable was the slow transformation that was happening physically, but also mentally and the community that surrounded me. Even if you’re new and you don’t know it, you can still inspire people around you. I know of a few people who have picked up Crossfit because I told them about it. Also, people I deem true, genuine
badassesathletes, people I look up to as inspiration have told me that I was THEIR inspiration to keep going. You never know who is in need of a role model and that role model might just be you!
Alright peeps, I think that’s enough for now. I hope this post can help the newbies out there and inspire you to pick up, or focus on any of the above new habits you should develop if you’re somewhat serious about Crossfit!