10 Things You Should Know Before Joining a Crossfit Box

I have to start out by saying that Crossfit changed my life. I didn’t start Crossfit because I needed to lose weight or because I wasn’t active enough. I joined Crossfit because I loved the idea of having a community that would always be there to encourage me and cheer me on. Unfortunately, I am now at place in my life where it is just not an option for me to pursue Crossfit. I hope that one day in the future I will find myself back in a box doing what I enjoy.

Now on to our list:

  1. If you walked into your local Crossfit affiliate and you did not feel welcome or a sense of community among the other members, LEAVE. That is not the box for you. The main thing that brought me to Crossfit was the sense of belonging. You should always feel like you are part of a family at your box.
  2. If you do not benefit from people constantly encouraging you to get out of your comfort zone and push beyond your limits, Crossfit might not be the place for you. This is something that comes from the community you surround yourself with at a box. These will be people that see you fail time and time again but want you to succeed just as much as you do. If you want to just put your headphones in and have a bro sesh at your local gym slinging weights around by yourself, that’s completely cool and totally understandable. Some people would rather lift that way. However, that is not what you get at a Crossfit box. Some people will claim that Crossfit is the end all be all workout regimen. They will tell you that if you’re not doing Crossfit, then you’re wasting your time. Do not let those people influence you. Do what is best for you.
  3. You do not need to be an elite athlete to join a Crossfit box. What you see on TV during the Crossfit Games is a rarity among the Crossfit community. Do not think that because you have never stepped foot in a gym, you can’t be a crossfitter. I promise, you will meet some of the most diverse people at a Crossfit box, from high school track runners who just want to work on muscle gain to grandparents who want to ensure they see their grandkids grow up.
  4. To build on number 3, you do not have to compete at all. Many people do not join Crossfit to compete. If you simply want to do a WOD (workout of the day) and head home, you will be a part of the majority.
  5. You do not need the latest Crossfit gear to be good at Crossfit. I feel like this really includes all types of athletic activities. You can have the BEST lifters and the most expensive weight belt, but if you don’t know how to use them properly, it’s a waste of time. If you have a comfortable, stable pair of tennis shoes, some running shorts and a t-shirt, you have all you need to be a crossfitter.
  6. If you cannot dedicate 4+ days per week to Crossfit, you probably want to look into other options. Crossfit is fairly pricey, and you don’t want to be wasting your money if you aren’t getting the results. Just like any workout regimen, it needs consistent dedication.
  7. Be prepared to be made fun of when people find out you do Crossfit. People see all the videos online of “crossfitters” with crazy poor form while lifting or “cheating” while doing gymnastic movements. They will talk about the “Crossfit Kool-aid” and how you must be crazy for doing something like this. Unfortunately, people that have not stepped foot in a box or watched a competition do not know how beneficial a real coach can be. As with any gym, if you have a poor coach that is not teaching good form, then you will have clients with bad form. It is the same with Crossfit gyms. Good coaches= safe members
  8. If you have any questions and you do not feel comfortable talking to your coach, this box is not the box for you. Coaches should be able to talk to you in “normal people” terms. If they are talking over your head, their ego will not allow them to be the best coach for you. When I started actually facing my depression, my coach pulled me to the side and had a long talk with me about mental health. He encouraged me to seek help and never made me feel discouraged because of it. Your coach should have your best interests at heart.
  9. When doing a workout, you can adjust your weight and reps as you need. Please do not be intimidated by the WOD you see. If you have any kind of reservations about your ability, respect your body and check your ego at the door. Scale as needed. This is my favorite part about Crossfit. I have never had a workout where someone else there could not participate at all. There is always a modification or scaled option. Do not be embarrassed if you have to modify the workout. There is not a single person at the box that hasn’t had to modify a workout for one reason or another.
  10. Your body will be pushed beyond its limits. You will be sore. Your body will hurt, but you will be amazed at what your body can really do. If you are looking for an easy routine to just say you go to the gym, do not join a Crossfit box, but if you want something different and a group of people to cheer you through every milestone, try Crossfit. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Photo C/O Doug Elser

I hope this helped someone make a decision!