First 3 to 6 Months into CrossFit? Read This –
Some of you are in your first few months of CrossFit, and you are coming to grips with some harsh realities. This fitness methodology is difficult and demanding. You never really took into account your need to improve your balance and coordination because other activities do not really demand it. I have seen people from all walks of life start at the gym, and it is interesting to see how the stimulus is unique for each of them.
The Bodybuilding Background –
This group of people is initially shell-shocked with the fact that the facility does not have mirrors, easy curl bars, or elliptical machines. They have a belief that they are already “strong,” but they need CrossFit to get some more cardio in their regiment. It is not long before they realize they can’t squat below parallel, they have forward posture from all the bench presses they have done, and their one rep max deadlift is being rep’d out by several other people in class. It is at this point where the fight or flight mentality kicks it, and these individuals are either drawn to the possibility of development or run right back to the “Globo-gym.”
You must have the character to appreciate that you may not be the best at something initially. Evaluate the difficulty of CrossFit and how it exposes the weak points of your fitness. There will be times of celebration and marked improvement, but the majority of the time the sport exposes weaknesses. We learn from our mistakes not our successes. This process requires great patience and mental fortitude. You will have to put in extra time to correct those elements of your posture, balance, and overcompensation (both mentally and physically). But little by little you will get better; your overhead position will feel right, and your movement will cease to feel awkward. Allow the process to happen; it is proven.
“Cardio” or Endurance Background
Some of these individuals have run marathons and treat 5K runs as a warm-up; however, their experience with lifting weights is minimal. They anticipate the days of 20 minute Amraps in which the majority of the workload is running. They love the longer rowing sessions, because their aerobic base is easy to tap into. Then their worst nightmare comes to fruition: They have a 3RM back squat. At this point they still think lifting heavy is not for them. They do not want to put on too much muscle (as if it was that easy) and wish to avoid possessing the same dimensions as a typical CrossFit athlete. They begin “cherry picking” the classes they go to in order to avoid the strength emphasis days because they feel uncomfortable.
Eventually you come to realize that perhaps the reason your knees hurt in your last marathon was because your midline, hamstring, and glutes were not strong enough. You conceptualize the notion that being strong is not necessarily about just having muscles; rather, it pertains to being able to perform functional tasks well. This is practical, baseline strength that will enable you to complete life’s tasks. Your athletic achievement will greatly improve with time. Your results in marathon, 5K, or Spartan Race will be demonstrative of this new found physical awareness and strength.
Couch Potato Background
These particular people are near and dear to my heart because I used to be one. I was 300 plus pounds; I had a bum ankle with screws and plates in it, but I always knew I needed a change. So you start doing CrossFit and realize that you are more out of shape then you thought. Your sense of nostalgia brings you to a time where you were in shape and maybe even athletic. These memories trigger a grand sense of frustration which leads you towards giving up. Your sense of pride is counterproductive for you at this moment. Envision being a better version of yourself, a 2.0 if you will.
Realize that this is going to be the hardest, yet most rewarding experience of your life. Check yourself every time you finish last in a workout, every time a coach scales something for you, and when you begin to plague your mind with negative self talk. Allow the difficulty to fuel you with a relentless attitude. You are on the precipice of your life, and you need to choose to stay and win or jump off into the abyss. Find ways to focus on your small successes because they were not there last week or last month. Ask for help and allow the community to support you.
Yoga or Class style training
CrossFit is amazing for its ability to blend many different types of areas of fitness into one program. If you participated in any other fitness methodology, I am willing to bet that you participated in a program that involved specializing. These areas, like Yoga, focus on one specific area of fitness. If your goal is to be fit in a cardiovascular and aesthetic sense, then one would conclude that your training regiment must be conducive to being well-rounded. The 10 aspects of fitness described in the CF methodology are cardio, flexibility, strength, power, agility, accuracy, stamina, coordination, balance, and speed. CrossFit programming is a harmonizing of these aspects.
Ideally, you will learn to appreciate all aspects and modalities of fitness and realize they all have a place in your life. Most of us need to examine where are deficits are and fix them to ensure long term health. Enjoy all realms of fitness as they each provide another piece of the overall puzzle.
No matter which path brought you here, it speaks volumes to who you are as a person. You are someone who runs towards difficulty and reaps the rewards of hard work. Stay the course, be patient, and never lose sight of who you are and where you wish to go.