Back in 2009, CrossFit was kind of like Fight Club. It was like there were rules you had to follow and it was all a huge mysterious style of working out. No one really knew what it was unless you were in the fold. Fast forward a few years, okay more like 15 years, and we’re in a whole different place! CrossFit is on popular TV shows and has become ingrained in our culture, and it’s safe to say that is here to stay. Being a fitness and nutrition expert with over 20 years of experience and an avid CrossFitter, I’m sharing my tidbits of wisdom to help make your journey a little smoother. Here are ten things I wish someone had shared with me before I started CrossFit.
1. CrossFit is For EveryBODY
One of the most pervasive myths about CrossFit is that it’s only for elite athletes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. CrossFit is inclusive, not exclusive, and was designed to be scaled and modified to suit everyone’s abilities. From the college jock to the grandmother next door just starting on her journey, it really is for every BODY. Never let the fear of not being “fit enough” hold you back from starting.
2. Culture is the Heart of CrossFit
CrossFit isn’t just about individual effort; it’s about community. I’ve seen first-hand how friendships forged in the gym carry over into everyday life. Hell, I met my wife in a CrossFit gym! Don’t be surprised when your CrossFit friends become more like family are an integral part of your support system.
3. Consistency Over Intensity
In the beginning, it’s easy to get caught up in the intensity of CrossFit, but consistency is what truly brings about transformation. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your fitness won’t be either. Prioritize showing up, even when you’re not at your best. Making it to a class 3 days a week for a month far outweighs the athlete that comes every day for a week and then takes a week off.
4. Mobility is Sexy
Mobility is an aspect I wish I had prioritized earlier. Flexibility, range of motion, and mobility not only enhance performance but also help prevent injuries. The better you’re able to move through lifts and exercises, the less risk of injury you’ll have. Plus, let’s be real, we all want to be able to tie our shoes when we’re in our 90s. Incorporate daily mobility exercises into your routine to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts and that recovering to your best ability.
5. Nutrition Fuels Performance
Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand. Understanding the significance of nutrition was a game-changer for me. Again, it’s not about perfection, but about consistency here. You need to ensure your body is adequately fueled for your workouts and keep in mind that proper nutrition accelerates recovery.
6. Focus on Form Over Weight
The ego can be a real pain. It can be so tempting to continually push heavier weights and seek new PRs, but it should never come at the expense of form. Poor form can lead to injuries and limit your progress faster than anything else. Prioritize mastering the basic techniques first and the weight will follow.
7. Learn to Love Rest Days
As enthusiastic beginners, we often overlook the importance of rest. We get addicted to being in class, to seeing our friends, and to working out to make progress. Overtraining is a serious issue though, it can lead to burnout or injuries. Making sure you have active recovery days and are getting quality sleep are keys to maintaining your physical and mental well-being. Not to mention, a great active rest day preps you to get back in the gym!
8. Your Journey is YOURS
With everyone working out together, it’s easy to compare your progress with others. However, remember that this is your journey. You are the main character and the hero of this story. We all start somewhere and we don’t progress linearly. Make sure to celebrate your individual accomplishments and don’t let someone else’s pace dictate your progress.
9. Mindset Matters
A lesson I’ve learned the hard way is the power of mindset. Just as physical strength is built over time, so is mental toughness. Embrace the challenges as they appear, for they will strengthen your mental resolve and contribute significantly to your overall growth. Being comfortable getting uncomfortable is something not many are familiar with, it takes practice. Listen to your body and learn to understand when it’s time to push through discomfort and when it’s time to back down a bit and rest.
10. Celebrate Your Wins
Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate your wins, no matter how small they seem. Every PR, every new skill, every time you show up – these are all victories. These celebrations fuel motivation, so don’t shy away from giving yourself a pat on the back. Success breeds motivation, which then breeds more success, and the cycle continues!
CrossFit can truly change your life if you let it. It is filled with growth, challenges, and triumphs. Hopefully, these ten lessons will equip you to progress on your journey just a bit better than I did mine. Embrace the process, stay consistent, and most importantly, enjoy the ride! Remember, the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do.
Ready to get started with us?
If you’re ready to join a group of like-minded individuals who want to see you become the best version of yourself, then come check us out at CrossFit Fringe. Start from wherever you are, and let our expert team of coaches guide you on your journey to a fitter, healthier, and happier you.