We are all on our own CrossFit and life journey. Remembering where we started, how far we have come, and how far we still have to go is important. Along the way we must also empower those who are at different points in their fitness journey. Here’s what Becca P has to say about being new in CrossFit, but also some great refreshers and take aways for veterans. With Murph coming up in just 3 weeks, we are all preparing for an awesome challenge at any level and pushing ourselves, new or vet, to do things we have never done before!
Becca: I think this is how you know you’re an OG (definition: original gangster, (n.) someone who has established experiences and a connection to the past). Lately I’ve been finding myself telling new members “back when I started” which I’m pretty sure is the CrossFit equivalent to “back in my day.” #old
But it has made me stop and reflect on the past 3 years.
So I thought, given the amount of new(ish) members we have, maybe it would be good to share a little perspective from my time spent here.
SPOILER ALERT: I was 100% your average new CrossFit athlete. I didn’t do a college sport and thought Richard Simmons workouts were hard.
- Back when I started, I couldn’t do a strict pull-up.
- Back when I started, I wanted so bad to prove I was strong(ish) I hurt my back the 2nd day of CrossFit.
- Back when I started, I had no idea how to max out and it took me years to figure out what “heavy” and “hard” actual meant and felt like.
- Back when I started, I thought doing CrossFit meant I could eat whatever I wanted.
- Back when I started, Kevin (the old Oly coach) pulled me aside in class and made me use the 15# trainer bar to learn to snatch.
- Back when I started, I wanted to learn to kip just so I could RX workouts with pull-ups.
- Back when I started, I was terrified of doing a handstand. Jared had to show me outside of class that I wouldn’t just fall over.
- Back when I started, I would avoid workouts that didn’t cater to my strengths. If it had pull ups, I would conveniently take a rest day.
- Back when I started, I cared about the leaderboard and wanted to RX or see my name towards the top.
SPOILER ALERT #2: While I am no superstar CrossFit athlete, I have seen some improvements. Here’s the meat/advice of this post….
- Establishing strict movements before learning to kip and do things like muscle ups and HSPU is always ideal. Strict strength is the basis for so much. I didn’t want to hear it either, but it’s the honest truth. Bands, jumping pull-ups, and negatives are great substitutions to build strength for a lot of movements. If you had told whiny Becca 3 years ago who couldn’t get a pull up that she’d be doing BMUs, she would have laughed. But after a year of focused work on my weaknesses, they’ve become my strengths.
- Over time, you will figure out what your rep maxes are. Focus on good form initially and once that is established, learn to push yourself. I used to ask myself “Is this Becca hard or is this Rudy hard?” (Rudy was a Marine who would make the most gawd awful faces while maxing out so you knew he was really trying).
- Don’t let the words RX or the leaderboard convince you to try something or do a weight you’re not ready for. It’s YOU vs YOU. This isn’t the Games. Class is your time to get better. Just because we program 5-5-5-5-5 deadlift doesn’t mean you have to find your absolute 5 rep max with some ugly ass form just to beat someone by 5lbs. Be smart. Use the programming to get better and listen to the Coach for suggestions.
- If a Coach pulls you aside to work on something or to take the weight down, it’s fine. I did it. You’ll do it too. Have a good attitude and know that one day you absolutely will get the hang of it. It took me 2.5 years to get the hang of a snatch (and I still have a lot of room for improvement).
- Nutrition is the basis of the CrossFit pyramid (if you don’t know what I’m talking about please Google it). It does matter and CrossFit is not a license to eat anything you want. If you want to hear me rant about my experience with nutrition from day one to today, let me know. That’s a whole separate blog post in itself.
Newbies, keep the faith. Work hard and address your weaknesses head-on. Don’t make excuses. Show up to class to get better, not to beat someone or because the workout is something you’re good at. If you do these things, I promise you will see a difference and will be physically and mentally on point.