Like a lot of athletes, I came to CrossFit on the back of a lot of competitive sport, for me, it was the previous decade of multi-sport racing that helped me develop a capacity of fitness that enabled me able to complete a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride and a 42.2km run in a competitive time. I assumed as I walked into my first CrossFit session that this capacity would hold me strong, that an 8 minute workout would be a walk in the park.
Wasn’t I served up a generous slice of humble pie….
That workout I had initially assumed would be ‘easy’ had left me lying flat on my back wondering what the hell had happened after I was lapped by others that I may not have expected to be so strong or fast, but who certainly had a greater level of “CrossFit fitness” than I did. And as the years have taught me this never changes – it’s the classic CrossFit catch cry – if you’re doing it right, it never gets easier, you just get faster, stronger and more competitive.
I watch many athletes, young & old, enter the gym with an expectation of their current ability based on their previous experience, and this right here, is where they get unstuck. There are of course benefits to coming from a sporting background, but there are also disadvantages. Endurance athletes will have a greater capacity but may struggle with strength, gymnasts have an obvious advantage with some of the more technical skills but may struggle with longer workouts or heavy lifts, weight lifters will hit the lifts easily but may struggle through a met-con. CrossFit covers the entire range of athletic skills from strength, functional movements, gymnastics, endurance and aerobic fitness and it is for this reason that CrossFit is the ultimate equaliser, and we love it for that very fact.
One thing CrossFit will teach you is your weaknesses, a workout you are amazing at and finish first by a mile will be followed by one you barely finish. All the skills can be learned but you must be patient and willing to learn, and of course never sacrifice form for pride.
The point here is to approach CrossFit without expectations, with patience and with no ego. You will find that all athletes have their strengths and weaknesses, yourself included, and CrossFit is designed to showcase them, be it for better or worse. Some of the gymnastic skills you may have never done before, or at least not since childhood. Showing up and trying to prove how strong you are without the proper skill set will result in injury and no amount of pride is worth that, we would rather you deadlift 30kgs well than 200kgs with poor form.
Our coaching staff is trained to recognise poor form and intervene before injury occurs, our job as your coach may be taking you back to the basics and developing your skill set before letting you ‘lift heavy’. We want you to know that it is not a punishment nor us trying making an example of you, it is a matter of your safety and our desire to see you progress. You’ll find even the greatest of CrossFitters in the world started with a broomstick and scaled WODs. All the skills will come with time, if you dedicate yourself to learning, follow the coaches instructions and do not make assumptions on your skill level based on your past ability.
Starting CrossFit isn’t a continuation of any current training program, it’s the BEGINNING of a new one and with patience, proper training and dedication we’re sure you’ll love it. The other great thing about CrossFit is our community. We cheer everyone whatever their wins. We celebrate a personal best no matter if it one or one-hundred kilos.
If you show up, and put in the effort you will succeed. You will hit that lift, master that skill, and improve your quality of life, but all that that is less important to us than the effort you put in, it is that which we support the most.