So, you’ve heard about this CrossFit thing and you’ve decided to give it a shot. But, maybe you are a little worried because you’ve heard about it from friends who do it. Or you’ve watched a few videos of some of the elite (or insane) athletes doing crazy workouts. You don’t think you are that strong, that fast, or that fit yet.
Don’t worry about it.
Seriously. The nice thing about CrossFit is that everything is scaled appropriately for your capabilities and experience. So, everyone starts out light if they aren’t familiar with weight lifting. Heck, for the Overhead Squat I spent weeks using nothing but a wooden dowel until I became more flexible and skilled.
One of the most important things to focus on when you are just starting out is to take the time to get your form and technique perfected before trying to go heavy. Don’t be shy about scaling the lifts and WODs (i.e., workout of the day) by using less weight or scaling the technique (e.g., doing burpees without the push-up component). A good coach will recommend that when you are new and tell how you to scale, because he or she wants you to get the most out of the program and not get injured. So, focus on learning in the first few months (and it does take months) so that you become really good at the lifts and exercises. Then, once you feel comfortable and you’ve worked through the adaptation (you will be sore a lot), you can start adding more weight. Your coach will help you program that.
You have to leave your ego at the door and only compare yourself against you. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself against the other athletes that have been doing this for a long time. Too many people do that and get discouraged. As long as you can see that you are making progress, that is all that matters. It does take time. For example, I felt foolish and very sore a lot for the first 2-3 months. I scaled the WODs by using less weight on the barbell and using bands for pull-ups. It took months before I could really do full pull-ups for the WODs and now I can rock them. It took about 1 1/2 years before I did every WOD fully as prescribed! Now people look to me to see how heavy they should go. It requires patience and just being happy that you can see yourself getting stronger and faster. Be patient and you will see progress without injury. That is what you want. Just make it part of your lifestyle. It is what you do every day, every week. It isn’t a race to some imaginary finish line.
Here are some useful resources:
- The official CrossFit site has a great list of the exercises and lifts with video examples.
- There are also a ton of CrossFit videos on YouTube. I have captured some of the ones that I like on my Kill Fat Me channel. Warning: There are a lot of bad videos on YouTube that show people doing stupid CrossFit stuff for speed with poor technique. So you do have to separate the wheat from the chaff.
- I also did a pretty detailed write up on the Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program that I use and how it works with CrossFit.