If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times… “Oh yeah I’d LOVE to come try CrossFit, I just want to get in shape first!”
Once I’ve suppressed my internal rage reaction of “NOPE NAH NO NO NO STOP THAT,” I have to step back and remind myself: I’ve been there. I was once that out-of-shape girl, watching CrossFit videos on YouTube at my desk during my lunch break, going to the globogym after work and plodding out 12-minute miles on the dreadmill, waiting in joyful hope for the day that I’d feel fit enough to set foot in an actual CrossFit gym and join the hordes of shirtless, shredded, barbell-slamming gods and goddesses I’d seen online.
Here’s the thing though: you can’t get there from here, and more importantly, you don’t need to. CrossFit produces the stunning results it does for a reason: because it brings together a unique combination of factors that are almost impossible to replicate outside the walls of a CrossFit box!
Here’s the top 4 reasons you SHOULDN’T try to “get in shape” before trying CrossFit -
- “Ur doin it wrong”: most of what you do to try and “get in shape” for CrossFit will have very little to do with the actual demands of CrossFit. Take me, for example: a lifelong runner who’d gained the “Dubai stone,” I assumed that running would help me lose it. Truth be told, I had gotten so out-of-shape and overweight that I was unable to run with an intensity level that was actually going to burn fat and build fitness, so I just plodded along, slow mile after slow mile, results never coming. The same could be said about anything else that lies within in your own personal fitness comfort zone, be it Body Pump, circuits, spinning, yoga, power walking… if those things were going to “get you in shape” enough to do CrossFit, guess what - you’d already be in shape! Doing what you’ve always done will get you the results you’ve always had. Stop that.
- You need the coaching… : CrossFit produces extraordinary results because it teaches people how to do hard things. Unfortunately for you, alone in your building gym at 9 PM on a Tuesday night trying to get fit enough to join your local box, coaching is the one thing you don’t have. I can tell you for a fact that doing simple bodyweight movements like push-ups, air squats, and walking lunges can make you fit as hell. I can also tell you (yes, YOU!) for a fact that if you’ve never had instruction on how to perform these movements properly, with correct form, technique, and range of motion, you are receiving only a fraction of the benefits. Now imagine some of the more complicated movements we use to build fitness - the snatch, the clean & jerk, the muscle-up - and the compounding need for coaching as the skill level gets higher. This is not to scare you: show up, and I can teach you how to do almost anything over time. But you can’t get there on your own, Mr. Tuesday Night Cheaty-Pushup Guy.
- … and the community: I know, I know. The word “community” makes me throw up in my mouth a little, too. But in the wise words of CrossFit’s founder, Greg Glassman, “The magic is in the movement, the art is in the programming, the science is in the explanation, and the fun is in the community.” And he’s not exactly a “let’s hold hands and sing songs around the campfire” kinda guy. Whether the idea of working out with a group of people who encourage you on and hold you accountable sounds awesome or sends you running for the hills screaming “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DON’T LET THEM CHEER FOR ME!!!”, people work harder when they are pushed by others, and harder work equals better results. You can’t replicate community through the sweet tunes pumping in your headphones as you try to get in shape to become a CrossFitter.
- No one’s gonna laugh at you: this is so important, guys - WE LOVE BEGINNERS. I promise you, seeing an unfit person walk into the door on their first day does NOT make me think, “Man, what a chump, he should have put a little more effort into getting into shape before he rocked up.” On the contrary, my reaction when someone who is extremely out of shape comes in for their first session is “Oh my gosh, I am SO glad this person had the courage to start, we are going to help them so much.” However unfit you feel, I promise you, we’ve seen the same or worse, and we’d much rather have you in the gym with us working to achieve results than flailing about on your own.
At the end of the day, nothing in the world is going to prepare you for the horror that is your first 7:00 AMRAP of burpees… so what are you waiting for, get in the door!
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