1. Have fun – Whether it be in CrossFit or your favorite sport or shopping with grandma, make sure you try and have fun. Honestly, you can do CrossFit just about anywhere with anyone or by yourself. You choose to start CrossFit for a reason. You work hard all day, make the time at CrossFit be the one hour a day where you can be yourself and let loose.
2. Show up on time – Actually show up early and leave late. Foam roll, stretch and get rid of all that junk in your lower back and shoulders. Showing up late will only cheat you out of a sufficient warm-up. Without a good warm-up, your chance of injury increases exponentially. If you show up early you have two options, cheer on the class that is finishing or start warming up.
3. Don’t whine – It’s okay to cry, just make sure that we can’t see or hear you and remember to clean up your tears when you’re done. Maybe the song that comes on isn’t your favorite, in the immortal words of Josh Everett “If you need music to motivate you, go find something else to do”. Be careful of asking me to change the song, I might just put on Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USAon repeat. I’m your coach, not Mix Master Mike. You have a task to accomplish, so do it. Yes I know that every workout is hard and I know that you hate running and I know that the bar hurts your delicate hands, but there comes a time when we have to nut up or shut up…or both. CrossFit is constantly varied, so the odds are that you will see some workouts you hate. That’s why it’s CrossFit and not alltheshityoulikeFit. When you come to CrossFit, be ready to work. Come prepared to face all those pains and things you hate head on. Accept the suck.
4. Give it all – More than strength, speed, flexibility or endurance, effort is what matters most. It doesn’t matter if you’re Joe Thruster with a sub 3 minute Fran, if you half-ass a workout, you’re not reaching your full potential. Grandma doing jumping pull-ups and thrusters with a PVC kicked your ass because she gave everything she had just short of a stroke. Times and weights matter, but they fail in comparison to effort. Keep pushing yourself to your most extreme limits. It doesn’t matter if you have a 500 lbs or 50 lbs deadlift as long as you put forth the effort and don’t sandbag. (edit: don’t get this confused with cycling your intensity on your workouts.)
5. Listen to your coach – CrossFit coaches here to help you get more fit and accomplish your goals. When they say things like “you’re lifting with your back, use more hips” don’t act surprised when your lower back is sore. When they tell you that the foam roll and lacrosse ball works, they aren’t just being sadistic. We tell you to rest because you need rest, just as we tell you to get in the gym more because you need to be in the gym more. If you want to get better at something, you have to practice it. Plain and simple. Yes there are some of you who are naturally good at some things, but why not get better? Why not be the best? Our goal is for you to accomplish your goals.
6. Fail sometimes – The unique thing about CrossFit is that the only way to achieve excellence is through failure. The strength portion of our workouts are designed to where you may fail at a set. If you don’t fail you aren’t trying hard enough (see #4). CrossFit is an environment where no one will laugh at you or put a permanent letter in your file for dumping an overhead squat. Don’t be afraid to fail, there’s always next time. Pushing yourself to fail is more of a mental thing than it is a physical thing. We have conditioned ourselves to think that failing is bad and therefore don’t push ourselves in fear of failure. Take that fear away and see what you can accomplish.
7. Eat good food – The short answer is eat Paleo (more to come on Paleo in later Nu Era postings). If you don’t want to eat Paleo, just eat meat, some fruit, vegetables, little startch, no sugar, no grains no dairy. If you’re low on energy, then you’re not eating enough. I remember a lot of people starting off on Paleo complain of low energy then proceed to tell me that they didn’t eat anything all day because they didn’t know what to eat. Is it that hard to eat meat and vegetables these days?
8. Count it – Tracking your workouts matters. That’s why there are logbooks and online tracking. When you don’t count the reps on your workout, you lose valuable information that will keep you accountable for your progress. Make sure to record as much information as you can. Write down what you ate for the day. Everyone has those days where they ate like crap and had a crappy workout. Those are the hardest days to write down, but those will provide you with the best motivation to get better.
9. Be nice – CrossFitters are notorious for making fun of people who go to globo gyms. People achieve their personal fitness goals in their own ways. Some may like the pace of a spin or pilates class and some may like the intensity of CrossFit. Try to kindly introduce them to CrossFit, you’ll get a better reaction and won’t come off like a jerk.
10. Get involved – CrossFit is more than just an hour of working out. We are a family and you can get as involved as you like. Just like anything else, you get out what you put in. Many CrossFit gyms hold monthly social events and do quarterly charitable events. Other events like team competitions and CrossFit affiliate team competitions will compete regularly. There are many opportunities for you to get involved!