A timely reminder for everyone. Everyone finishing On Ramp will get a copy of this but it still applies to those who have been around MaD CrossFit for a while as well. Read and refresh your memory.

10 Tips For Success For The Crossfit Newbie

Stepping into a Crossfit gym for the first time can be overwhelming.

You might see a bunch of strong people doing pull ups, sitting on foam rollers making funny faces, and they all seem to know each other. What’s with all the funny shoes? It looks like they know what they’re doing?? This is not a normal gym.

Fear not, we don’t bite. They’re all pretty friendly and overly supportive once you get to know them. It can be a lot to take in at first glance, especially if you’ve had limited exposure to Crossfit. But don’t worry; we’ve got your back.

The following are 10 things to keep in mind as you begin your Crossfit journey.

1.     You’re Competing Against Yourself, Not Others

When it comes time to throw down in a wod, don’t feel like you have to do everything RX’d or be able to complete 20 rounds of Cindy right off the bat. Go at your own pace. Let the intensity find you. You need a solid foundation of strength and flexibility in order to progress into more demanding workouts.  Start light, get your form down, and don’t worry about the mother of three who is deadlifting 100kg as you struggle with the bar. Chase your own capacity before chasing the person next to you. Which brings me to my next point…

2.     Don’t Be Too Proud To Scale

Tony Budding (of Crossfit HQ) describes scaling as another form of programming. Scaling is such an individualized topic that it’s hard to make sweeping generalized statements. You have to know your own body and its limits. But most importantly, there’s no substitute for common sense.

3.     What You Eat Is More Important Than What You Lift

Nutrition is the key to every aspect of your life. It affects your energy levels, your recovery, and your overall defense against disease. To quote the late Jack Lalanne, “You put junk in, junk comes out. You put good in, good comes out.” When you’re first starting out, the quality of your food is far more important than the quantity. Call it whatever you want: Paleo, Primal, Hunter-Gatherer; just eat clean. If you’re eating as clean as possible, you don’t even need to worry about the quantity.

4.     Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Clarification, Over and Over and Over Again

It’s your time, money, and most importantly, health. If you don’t fully understand something, ask. If you still don’t get it, ask again. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t fully grasp the concept, or you think others in the class will get frustrated with you for taking up too much time. We were all newbies at one point. We’ve all been there. Learning the mechanics of certain movements like the kip, squat, deadlift, or any of the olympic lifts takes lots of practice and critique from a trained eye. If you need help, just ask.

5.     Crossfit Isn’t Everything?

Crossfit is a strength and conditioning program that focuses on building general physical preparedness (GPP). It is quickly evolving into a sport of its own, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be your sport or your lifeblood. I Crossfit so that I can do whatever I want: Go out, play sports, learn new things. Having that GPP allows me to take on new challenges. Crossfit is not my life. I Crossfit so that I can have a life…and be awesome at it.

6.     It Doesn’t Get Easier, It Just Sucks Less

The longer you immerse yourself in the suck, the less it sucks. You get stronger, build a greater aerobic capacity, and become mentally tough.  All of these aspects, combined with experience, allow you to know when to push yourself and when to back off, so that you can attack each workout to the best of your ability.

7.     You Won’t PR Every Day

Don’t mistake intensity for hard work. Even if you’re having a bad day and the intensity just isn’t there, you can still get a lot out of your time in the gym through hard work. Intensity and hard work are not the same thing. Don’t skip a planned session just because you don’t think you’re going to kill it and leave everything out on the table. Not feeling too strong that day? That’s fine; scale the weights and/or rounds or time domain back. Something is better than nothing.

8.     Have Fun

Let’s face it, some of the workouts are not fun. Frankly, some of them just plain suck. But when it’s over, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You shouldn’t be mad that you didn’t get as many reps as the person next to you. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Smile. Laugh. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know. If you’re not having fun, why are you here?  Do you enjoy your overall time spent at the gym? Do you enjoy the people, the community, the knowledge and support that it provides?

The things you’ll learn in a Crossfit gym are fun: gymnastics, olympic lifts, kettlebells, You can’t do this stuff in typical gym. The attitude is different too; no one is going to get in your face and cheer you on as you knock out those last five minutes on the treadmill. And the feeling you’ll have the first time you get an unassisted dead hang pull-up or double under is an amazing sense of accomplishment.

9.   You Are All Firebreathers

The term “Firebreather” comes from Crossfit legend and bad ass Greg Amundson, and he defines it as such:

Firebreather –Fie-r-bre’-th-er: (n) 1. One who faces the triumphs and tribulations of great physical opposition with an indomitable spirit. 2. An optimistic energy associated with the heart of an athlete.

You don’t have to be an “elite” Crossfitter to embody the essence of a true Firebreather. It’s not your Fran time, it’s the spirit you bring to Fran that makes you a Firebreather. Don’t forget that.

10. Respect Rest and Recovery
Too many newbies (and even those of us who have been doing this a while) get caught up in overtraining. Don’t be afraid to schedule in a deload day once per week, or a deload week every 4-6 weeks where you cut the weight, rounds, and intensity in half. You have to think about this from a longevity standpoint. If you’re killing yourself every time you step foot in the gym, week after week, month after month, year after year, you’re going to eventually break down. You need to respect your time outside of the gym. There’s an old weightlifting adage that goes something like: “You don’t get bigger and stronger from lifting weights, you get bigger and stronger from recovering from lifting weights.”

Proper nutrition, hydration and sleep all play their part in recovery, but you also need to listen to your body. If you continuously beat yourself down, you’re going to get hurt, injured or worse. Stay on top of your mobility work. If you haven’t done so yet, pay a daily visit to Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD. The information there is invaluable.

So, what now? You’ve finished your On Ramp sessions. You’re about to start eating like a caveman. And your vocabulary will soon include words like burpee, thruster, and wod. Welcome to MaD Crossfit Strength and Conditioning Gym.

 New T-Shirt Colours.

We have a few new colours to choose from in some sizes of the MaD CF Culture T Shirts.