You’re Competing Against Yourself, Not Others. Go at your own pace. Let the intensity find you. You need a solid foundation of strength and flexibility in order to progress into more demanding workouts. Start light, get your form down, and don’t worry about the mother of three who is deadlifting 250 as you struggle with the bar. Chase your own capacity before chasing the person next to you. Which brings me to my next point…
Don’t Be Too Proud To Scale. Scaling is such an individualized topic that it’s hard to make sweeping generalized statements. You have to know your own body and its limits. But most importantly, there’s no substitute for common sense.
Check your ego at the door. Somewhere a high school kid is warming up with your PR. Effort earns respect. Work hard. Don’t drag people down with a bad attitude and a big ego. Be optimistic, have fun and push yourself and those around you to do better.
What You Eat Is More Important Than What You Lift. Proper nutrition accounts for 80% of your figure and 100% of how you feel. You can’t replace horrible nutrition with one hour in the gym. Food is fuel and without providing yourself with the best possible fuel, you will most likely run into problems. Research Paleo diet and implement it. You will thanks us after a month.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Clarification, Over and Over and Over. It’s your time, money, and most importantly, health. If you don’t fully understand something, ask. If you still don’t get it, ask again. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t fully grasp the concept, or you think others in the class will get frustrated with you for taking up too much time. We were all newbies at one point. We’ve all been there. Learning the mechanics of certain movements like the kip, squat, deadlift, or any of the olympic lifts takes lots of practice and critique from a trained eye. If you need help, just ask.
Crossfit Isn’t Everything. Crossfit is a strength and conditioning program that focuses on building general physical preparedness (GPP). It is quickly evolving into a sport of its own, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be your sport or your lifeblood. I Crossfit so that I can do whatever I want: Go out, play sports, learn new things. Having that GPP allows me to take on new challenges. Crossfit is not my life. I Crossfit so that I can have a life.
Set Clear Goals. Tell yourself you want a double bodyweight deadlift, or plan to do a workout as RX’ed. Maybe you want to be able to do a pull-up, or string 30 together. Smart goals are measurable, obtainable and give you something to work towards. And the feeling you’ll have the first time you get an unassisted dead hang pull-up or full squat snatch is an amazing sense of power and accomplishment. Ask us about setting reasonable goals.
You Won’t PR Every Day. Finishing workouts with 100% of our maximum ability is eventually what we want to do everytime you are in the gym. Programming is important, but not nearly as important as you having the will to push yourself. Too many people decide to take it easy to avoid pushing themselves. They don’t maximize results and it’s a pity. That said…. if you’re having a bad day and the intensity just isn’t there, you can still get a lot out of your time in the gym through skill work. Don’t skip a planned session just because you don’t think you’re going to kill it and leave everything out on the table. Not feeling too strong that day? That’s fine; scale the weights and/or rounds or time domain back and focus on form.
Have Fun! Don’t take yourself too seriously. Smile. Laugh. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know. If you’re not having fun, why are you here? Do you enjoy your overall time spent at the gym? Do you enjoy the people, the community, the knowledge and support that it provides? If so, then don’t be too concerned with your competitive nature until you have a strong grasp on the movements.
Respect Rest and Recovery. You need to respect your time outside of the gym. There’s an old weightlifting adage that goes something like: “You don’t get bigger and stronger from lifting weights, you get bigger and stronger from recovering from lifting weights.”
Proper nutrition, hydration and sleep all play their part in recovery, but you also need to listen to your body. If you continuously beat yourself down, you’re going to get hurt, injured or worse. Stay on top of your mobility work. If you haven’t done so yet, pay a daily visit to Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD. The information there is invaluable.
What you give is what you get! Period. In the end, it comes down to being supportive of each other and realizing there are no shortcuts. We have to do the best we can individually, every day, both in and out of the gym if we really care about making progress. Go the extra mile to work on your form, practice a few pullups or ask about how you can do X better. Constant improvement doesn’t come from doing what’s asked, but from challenging ourselves and devoting that extra time to skillwork, stretching, recovery and practicing movements. There is no such thing as I can’t! There is only I am to weak mentally to suck it up and do it. When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Push your limits.
Tell the Coaches if you are injured prior to class. Waiting until after isn’t impressive or honorable, it’s stupid.
Respect the coaches and listen while the coach is giving instruction. I.e. do not talk when the coach is talking. This interferes with the safety of each member of the class.
Only perform the WOD within the time limit. Time limits will keep you from over-training. 90% of WODs will have time limits. There’s a science behind the programming, so don’t try to mess with it.
Respect our equipment. Dropping weight is a last resort. Put things down gently. Dropping weight should be a necessity, not a convenience. Bumpers are designed for emergency dropping, not dropping every rep. ALWAYS keep your weight under control. NEVER drop an empty barbell….don’t drop a kettlebell either. Our equipment was expensive, and the more we have to replace it, the more we have to charge you.
CLEAN UP! Put away any toys you used. Clean off any bars which may contain your sweat and/or your blood. Pick up your used tape, pens, notebooks, scrap papers, chalk, band-aids, water bottles and sweaty clothes. Pack it in, pack it out, as they say. Put away all the equipment you used back where it belongs. Stack the boxes neatly, put the bars in the racks, stack the plates in order, hang up your jump ropes.
Bring things to our attention. If you notice that equipment is broken, lights are out, there’s no toilet paper, bring it to our attention so we can do something about it.
Don’t cheat. No one cares what your score was. Everyone cares if you cheated. Be honest with everyone else, and be honest with yourself. You know what full range of motion is, so there’s no excuse for shoddy reps. If someone calls you out for doing something wrong, listen to them. The person standing around watching you work out has a much better perspective on what you’re doing than you do. They’re breathing gently and probably experiencing a restful glow and a sub-60 heart rate. You’re halfway through Fran. You’re biased, trust us.
Learn how to count. If you lose count, the next number is always 1. If you know you have trouble keeping count, ask someone to count for you.
Come to class. For newbies, make sure you’re staying consistent. For old hands, don’t start thinking that it’s okay to just do your own thing whenever you want to. There’s a myriad of reasons we have class. For starters, you’re less likely to bias yourself towards the things you’re good at; you’ll get some competition; and no matter how experienced you are, you still need coaching and you can still stand to work on the basics. If you have extra things you’re working on, there are special times right before or after class to work on them. The gym is not open except during the times posted on the schedule.
Take ownership. Be responsible and respectful and take pride in your gym. Don’t let others get away with things that are bad for them or bad for the gym. Remind people to take their clothes with them and pick up their water bottles. If you see someone doing something that you’re pretty sure will hurt them, tell them to cut it out. We don’t care who it is. If Jack or Jill is deadlifting with a rounded back, you can call them out! Safety first!