When it first came into the public eye, crossfit was primarily mocked and was considered nothing more than the latest money-making fad that would be long forgotten within the year. Well, how wrong they were, as crossfit is now one of the most popular and effective training principles in the entire world, and it is literally going from strength to strength. When performed correctly, crossfit is absolutely brutal and it is certainly not to be taken lightly. Stepping foot into the crossfit gym for the very first time can be pretty intimidating, especially if you don’t quite know what to expect. Once inside and settled however, you will realize why crossfit is so popular, as the crossfit community is one of the friendliest and most helpful communities you could ever wish to encounter. If you’re a crossfit newbie and are not quite sure what to expect, or what you should be doing, here’s a look a look at a few handy tips to help make your initial transition into crossfit, one of the most enjoyable and productive processes you could ever wish for.
Your only competition is yourself
Many crossfit gyms and training facilities are pretty competitive, there’s no denying that, as many regulars often compete against one another for various reasons, though ego is often one of the biggest reasons. When you first begin crossfit training however, forget all that, as your only competition is yourself. It doesn’t matter how many reps the guy beside you is performing, or how fast the girl beside you is jogging, you only need to worry about yourself and what you are doing. If somebody else is using a heavier weight, or doing more volume, who cares? They will have been a newbie like you in the past, as we all have to start somewhere. Focus on besting your previous workouts and on pushing yourself to your limits, but in terms of everybody else, forget what they’re doing, as they’re simply focussing on themselves, just as you should focus on yourself.
Don’t be afraid to scale down
In crossfit, if a particular WOD (Workout of the day) is especially tough and physically demanding, don’t be afraid to scale down the workout in order to make it easier. You could focus on less volume, you could skip a few exercises, or you could take slightly longer to catch your breath. As long as you are trying your best, that’s all that matters. Know your physical and psychological limitations, and if something is too tough, don’t try it, simply scale down and make it slightly more manageable instead.
Don’t be worried/too proud to ask for help
Crossfit training principles are not like standard training principles you see in gyms up and down the country, as many exercises and movements have to be performed with perfect form in order for them to be deemed as beneficial. With that being said, if there is a certain exercise that you aren’t sure about, don’t be too proud or too embarrassed to ask another member, or a trainer, how to perform it correctly. If you still aren’t sure, ask again, and again, and again, until you are sure how to do it right. We learn by asking, and the more you ask, the more you learn. Eventually you will be in a position in which you would be able to offer help and advice to any new members, so just remember that if you’re too ashamed or proud to ask for help and advice.
Make sure you nail your diet
The foods and supplements that you consume are far more important than how much you can lift, as your daily nutrition has a part to play in virtually every aspect of your day to day life. Your diet influences your health, it influences your strength, it influences your appearance, it influences your energy levels, and it will influence how well you perform when you engage in daily crossfit workouts. For that reason, make sure you are consuming fresh, healthy, wholesome, and natural ingredients, as opposed to processed junk food. Just because you burn off hundreds, maybe even thousands, of calories during a crossfit session, that doesn’t mean you can head home and stuff your face with junk, as that will not only undo your hard work, it can also negatively affect your health. Of course the odd treat now and then is fine, but for the majority of the time, you should ensure that your diet is made up of wholesome ingredients that nourish the body.
Crossfit isn’t about simply pushing yourself until you puke and can barely breathe (though many crossfitters do exactly that), crossfit is about finding an enjoyable and productive form of physical exercise that will benefit you and your life in general, in a variety of different ways. Whilst there are some WODs that will reduce grown men to crying messes in the corner of the room, for the most part, the WODs you engage in will be enjoyable, productive, and testing, without being soul destroying in the process. You will learn Olympic lifts, you will learn gymnastics, you will socialize, you will make new friends, and you will become a part of one of the most positive, and friendly fitness communities in the entire world.
Get enough rest
Rest days are absolutely essential when it comes to crossfit, so it doesn’t matter how much you are enjoying yourself, or how quickly you want to make progress, you should always, always allow yourself enough time to get adequate amounts of rest each week. Each week, you will need at least two full days of rest and recovery, so that means no training whatsoever. Sleep is also vital, so each night aim for 7 – 9 hours, and make sure you go to sleep and get up at a reasonable time. If you don’t get enough rest, your body and your muscles will not recover, and you will lose muscle, you will ache, you will feel tired, and your athletic performance will absolutely suck in the process.