Advice for a New CrossFitter…

I remember my first day at Crossfit like it was yesterday. I wasn’t really nervous, just interested to find out more. After the Coach went through the “WOD” which involved a horrendous amount of “cleans”, I was thinking, a) what is a WOD? b) what is a clean? and c) it doesn’t sound all that bad….  

All of these awesome and intimidating guys and girls headed over to grab a bar and so did I. I struggled to get it off the rack and a lovely lady helped me. I couldn’t believe how heavy the bar was on its own and I was in awe of the women ADDING weight to the bar! After some practice, I was advised by the coach to try med ball cleans instead. The bar was too hard and awkward for me to handle at this stage.

Pictured: Chelsea Oldham (CrossFit Westgate member)

Pictured: Chelsea Oldham (CrossFit Westgate member)

When we finished the workout, coach said I had done a great job. I left, got in the car and thought, “what the hell just happened”? What was this weird language everyone was speaking? ”WOD, AMRAP, Cleans”? I suddenly got very nervous and those nerves would pop up every time I drove to the Box for the next 3 months. I knew I liked Crossfit, but I was scared to go back. However, I was also inspired…

The following is my advice to New Crossfitters:

Just turn up.

It’s that simple. Everyone is busy. If you really want to do it, there are no excuses. Do yourself a favour and decide you are going to spend a small part of the day or week, putting yourself first. YOU deserve it. I found the best way was to wake up and put my workout gear on so I had no excuse. I started coming once a week, then built from there.

We started where you’re starting.

Try not to be intimidated by others. Every single person you see at Crossfit started where you’re starting. You feel awkward, you don’t understand things that are being said, even though it has been explained to you 4 times already! It does get easier. You will understand.

No one is judging you.

Whether you finish a WOD first, or last. It doesn’t matter. It’s all about effort. I have fallen over, made mistakes, come last and dropped equipment countless times. We are all there for different reasons. Some people want to lose weight. Some want to get stronger. Some come in to socialise. Everyone is on a different path. We’re on your side. We all want you to reach YOUR goals.

Everyone is different.

Try not to compare yourself to others. You will definitely find your strengths and weaknesses. You will probably surprise yourself doing so. I am able to do things now, I never thought possible. Some people are naturally strong, others are good at gymnastics or bodyweight movements. You will learn not to underestimate anyone. Everyone in the box has something valuable to offer. Whether it’s advice, humour, encouragement, distraction or fun. You can learn from anyone. We will also learn from you.

It’s as easy or as hard as you want to make it.

Sometimes you can put in 100%, other days, not so much. Just turn up. Every time Snatches came up, I would do almost anything to avoid it. Now they are my most favourite lift, because I learnt my most valuable lessons from doing something I ‘hated’ and ‘wasn’t good’ at. Every time I was told to use a hook grip, it was so awkward and my thumbs would hurt. Now I feel strange picking up a bar without it.  

Trust your Coaches.

I’ll say it again. Trust your coaches. They do know what is best for you. They have the knowledge. They are able to advise, encourage and support you. They want you to become the best version of you. Your coach will be able to analyse your strengths and most importantly your weaknesses better than you can. You can only improve by taking on the advice and learning from it.

Pictured: Damien Hennigan (Head Coach & Owner) and Michael Nemeth (CrossFit Westgate member)

Pictured: Damien Hennigan (Head Coach & Owner) and Michael Nemeth (CrossFit Westgate member)

Sometimes you need to look back.

We are constantly looking forward. What can I do next? I have pull ups, now I have to learn the muscle up. I am guilty of looking forward all the time and thinking about the things I can’t do. But sometimes it’s good to take a look back and remember all the things you have achieved. You’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come!

Final Thoughts

I love Crossfit because you just don’t walk in and out. You come away with knowledge. You trust. You learn. You evolve. You will be surprised at what you are capable of with the smallest amount of guidance and effort. You are stronger than you think.

Written by Chelsea Oldham (Member at Crossfit Westgate from 2013 to present)