The sport of CrossFit has had incredible media success with its annual Olympic-style event, The CrossFit Games, getting prime time coverage on ESPN. While the television coverage has been great for the sport, elite athletes, sponsors, and affiliates, it has also impacted how non CrossFitters view the type of people who participate in the sport.
It’s an easy assumption to make that the women on TV are the same ones at the local gym down the street. It’s easy because for women who have never ventured into the so-called ‘box,’ that image is their only association with the sport.
Truth be revealed: the women on TV represent the top 1% of the sport. In other words, it’s like comparing Cam Newton to my co-ed flag football QB. Do you see where I am going with this? There is no comparison and the women at the local gym/CrossFit box down the street have more in common with you, than you might think.
So, here are 5 things YOU need to know before stepping into a CrossFit gym.
- INTIMIDATION BE GONE
Don’t believe the stereotype. You know the one: CrossFit=chiseled, hard-bodied super athletes who guzzle protein, jump over boxes, do tricks on rings, chest bump, and eat like cavemen and women. I mean, there are a few of those characters out there; however, the average CrossFit member is, in fact, a beginner and very new to the exercises. As for the caveman diet: the number of devout paleo eaters is actually a very small percentage of the gym.
What is a larger percentage of the box, is actually the number of women in the classes. If you think you will be the only woman who takes the 5pm class, think again. There are many times I have walked into class and the majority of members at a particular hour definitely carry the XX chromosomes.
As for the co-ed aspect of the classes, they provide an incredible amount of support. The men in class cheer as loud for the women as they might for their ‘broski.’
- ZERO CROSSFIT EXPERIENCE: APPLY WITHIN
“I need to workout, before I can hit up my first CrossFit class.” WRONG. That is WHY you join a CrossFit class in the first place.
You don’t buy a spin bike and pedal at 100% max effort for two weeks before you hit up a spin gym, do you? If your answer is no, (and I hope it is), then you get the idea. This is a workout like any other boutique gym workout where you go to get stronger, fitter and healthier with no previous experience.
- SCALE & MODIFY ARE THE NAMES OF THE CROSSFIT GAME
There is always a ‘recommended’ workout written on a board in a CrossFit gym. It has a ‘recommended’ amount of reps, exercises, and associated weights. Notice, I have used the word ‘recommended’ twice so far.
The number of people in a given class who do the workout EXACTLY as written is less than you might think.
Many in class will scale or modify parts of a workout. As they inevitably become stronger, they will then do more of the workout as it is written on the board, which provides that tangible evidence of their progress and level of fitness.
- CROSSFIT WILL MAKE ME BULKY
This couldn’t be further from the truth. The only way to get the ‘bulk’ is to work out like the elites. If you do 2-a-days and accumulate 3+ hours of working out a day, then quite possibly you will start to add a muscle mass that is more akin to professional athletes.
If you are just working out 5-6 days a week, then simply prepare yourself for a lean, strong, and sexy physique that will most definitely have you wondering why it took you so long to finally walk into your local box.
- WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN
CrossFit keeps its members coming back for more because it’s measurable. One week you will be using a green band to do pull-ups, and then in a short while, you will be using NO bands. Or, you will do a particular workout and finish it in 12minutes and 30 seconds. Then, you will have another opportunity to do that same workout 3-5 months down the road and you will annihilate your previous time by 4 whole minutes.
If you don’t write these things down, you won’t be able to fully appreciate how much stronger and fitter you have become in such a short time.
So, get a notebook at your local Walgreens, and literally write down all your workouts. It’s a diary of your fitness. And this is a diary, trust me, you will want to share with your girlfriends and re-visit many times over.