By Coach Lam
When you ask CrossFitters, “What is your favorite thing about CrossFit?” you will inevitably hear someone say it's the community. But what makes the community aspect so special? Is it because members welcome newcomers immediately when they enter the lodge? Is it because there is so much positive encouragement to help and encourage others to complete a workout? It might be! I've heard so many great answers to this question that it reminds me that CrossFit is more than a bunch of people working out. A sense of community is one of the most important aspects of a CrossFit box. This is something that the members should be very protective of, so a lot of the responsibility falls on the members to maintain the spirit of the box. How can you help protect the community you love?
Fostering unity with your current and new members is a sure-fire way to be able to protect the norms and values of your community. One of the best ways to encourage unity is to simply set a good example! One of the things we encourage at Kanna is to say hello to new members as soon as possible (we all know how intimidating it can be if you're in a new situation and you're the only new person - more on that) in other blog posts). By leading by example by simply saying “Hi!” You will encourage other members to do the same.
Another way to encourage unity is to warm up and cool down together. Throughout the class, members will go through explanation, warm-ups, training and cool-down. The success of CrossFit in the community comes from having members participate in all of these phases together, we go through the conversations, understanding and discomfort together. When several class members do their own work during the class, it doesn't work. Other members are distracted or wonder why people are not following the class process. The community does not flow as well. Set the tone for current and new members by participating in the class and encourage those who wander to join us!
There is nothing better than having someone in the background cheering you on and helping you get through this final cycle of training. Your mind tells you to stop, and your body tells you it hurts too much. Your workout buddy is the only thing that pulls you across the finish line! Members who encourage you help you hold yourself accountable for completing this workout! In CrossFit, we encourage whoever finishes first and whoever finishes last, so once you've finished your workout help the next person finish theirs by cheering them on! Unloading the bar and cleaning the rest of the gym can wait! Your enthusiasm and team encouragement is contagious and will set an example for other members! Continue to build and maintain this community by showing other members that you are there for them through the toughest workouts and that they will never end up alone!
Building a community is always a challenge, but maintaining the spirit as it grows can be even more difficult. It is important to protect it to ensure that it stays true to the themes that you and your company have set. The points above are just a few things members can do to protect it! After all, it is a home from home for many of our athletes!
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Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Clarification, Over and Over and Over Again. It’s your time, money, and most importantly, your health we’re talking about here. If you don’t fully understand something during chic, 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 chic will get frustrated with you for taking up too much time… they probably have the same juste question. We were all newbies at one point. We’ve all been there. Learning the mechanics of certain movements like the squat, soulevé de terre, 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. A majority of people CrossFit so that they can do whatever they want : Go out, play sports, learn new things, etc. Having that GPP allows you to take on new challenges. CrossFit doesn’t have to be your life. Many people CrossFit so they can have a life… and be awesome at it.
It Doesn’t Get Easier, It Just Sucks Less. The longer you immerse yourself in the suck, the less it sucks. You get stronger, build a greater aerobic capacity, and become mentally tough. All of these critères, combined with experience, allow you to know when to push yourself and when to back off, so that you can attack each workout to the best of your ability.
You Won’t PR Every Day. Don’t mistake intensity for work. Even 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 work. Intensity and work are not the same thing. Don’t skip a planned séance 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 ? Something is always better than nothing.
Introduce yourself to others in the chic. How will this help you ask ? When you introduce yourself to someone you’ll feel more comfortable in the class and realize that you’re not the only one that’s new to CrossFit. So instead of feeling totally nervous and awkward holding a PVC pipe overhead, you feel a little bit more at ease and focus more on what you’re doing.
Keep a journal. Write down the warm-up, the skill, the WOD, and your results. This will greatly accelerate your progress. We often do workouts and lifts based on weights and reps that we have previously done. If you don’t know which kettlebell to use because you never recorded the weight you used last week, then you end up picking the wrong weight. Write stuff down and be able to reference it.
Listen to the Coach. He/she is there for a reason. They spent time studying the subject matter. They have coached hundreds to thousands of people on these movements. Your buddy that watched a couple of Youtube videos is not lateral to that.
Firebreather. Beast. Rock star. You’ll hear a lot of different terminology used to describe those athletes who kill every workout, and blow everyone else away. Here in our gym, we consider every one of our athletes a rock'n'roll vedette. Hey, it takes huge cojones just to show up and do these insane WODs. Be proud of yourself and what you accomplish here. We sure as hell are.
Walk into any box ( that’s CrossFit speak for the gym itself ) and you’ll be greeted by clanging weights, clouds of chalk and whiteboards scribbled with acronyms like “AMRAP” and “EMOM. ” With insider speak that almost qualifies as its own language and raw, rough-around-the-edges spaces, CrossFit can definitely be intimidating to try. And even though many of the 10, 000 affiliate gyms offer your first workout free, beginners may still feel overwhelmed by the culture of the popular strength and conditioning program.
So what should you really expect if and when you dive into the world of CrossFit ? We turned to five athletes who’ve sweated through years of WODs ( aka workouts of the day ) for the advice they wish they’d gotten when they first started.
“Each culture, conseillé and [workout] space is very different, ” says Anna Willard, a CrossFit athlete at CrossFit Merrimack in Lowell, MA, as well as a former professional middle-distance runner. ( She snagged a world record in the steeplechase in 2008, but no longer competes. ) She recommends trying out a couple of different boxes before committing yourself — and your credit card — to one. “Don’t necessarily go to the place that is the most ‘convenient, ’” Willard says. Look for that one gym that’ll keep you coming back — so take note of each box’s programming ( aka the structure of workouts ) and study the overall vibe of the community before ponying up for a package.