(These apply to New & Old CrossFitters)
1) Scale- Know our limits. We do not need to get in shape to start CrossFit. Scale and start CrossFit at a level that is right for each of us individually. When do we scale? The question becomes whether we can maintain a high level of intensity and proper form throughout the workout. When people associate CrossFit with injury, it is often times a result of not scaling properly. We need to know our limits and scale accordingly.
2) Take time to recover- What we do outside of the gym is just as important as what we do inside it. Sleep, nutrition, rest, mobility. . . the list goes on. We need to take care of our body. It’s easy to overdo it in the beginning (or whenever), don’t underestimate the importance of rest days. Going too hard too fast can lead to injury and/ or poor performance.
3) Get comfortable with discomfort- It’s hard for us to break plateaus by living in our comfort zone. The more we give in to pain or fear, the stronger the habit that will become. Fortunately, the more you fight through the pain, the stronger that habit will become as well.
4) Find the right box- Find a box that will keep you coming back and best help you reach your goals.
5) Always warm up!- A proper warm up can enhance performance and reduce the chance of injury while mentally preparing you for a workout. A good warm up involves the whole body, functional movements, and is specific to the impending WOD.
6) Eat right- Eat depending on your goals. The nutritional needs of an athlete preparing for competition are different than the needs of someone looking to simply start making healthier food choices. In either case, a post WOD protein shake can help decrease muscle loss while increasing fat loss.
7) Just CrossFit- Constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements. . . that’s CrossFit. As a beginner it’s easy to get sucked into the routine of focusing on just one or two aspects of CrossFit: Oly lifting or gymnastics, for example. However, until we have a basic understanding of all the CrossFit movements, stick to the group classes where we will certainly be practicing new skills daily.
8) Embrace technique over the time on the clock- Poor technique leads to two things: injury and faster fatiguing muscles. Proper form and efficient movement should be the focus of any new and experience CrossFitter.
9) Listen to your coach (not everyone else)- Many of us have advice we want to share. We want to be as helpful as possible. It’s important to focus on the coach of the WOD. Too much information from too many sources can overload any beginner.
10) Some days are PR days, other days we may lift much less- That’s just the way it is. The gains we saw in our first several months of starting CrossFit may take a year, if not more, to match. Some days we may even lift less than usual – a lot less. Chances are we are not doing something wrong. Some days we’re just not going to “have it”. We need to do our best on that given day and look forward to the next day.
11) Keep a training log- A good training log can help us assess our progress and set realistic goals. If we don’t keep a log it’s hard to set goals and really enjoy the improvements we make.
12) Have fun- It’s hard to be consistent at something when we aren’t having fun. Enjoy the time at the gym. Be part of the community, attend social events, and most importantly we can’t be too hard on ourselves if we’re not progressing as fast as we might like. We will get there. We all do.