5 Things to Know in your First Three Months of Crossfit

by ~jenniferlynn on June 9, 2014

in CrossFit

While I have been doing Crossfit for over a year, I see so many new people coming in that takes me back to my first three months of Crossfit, things I have learned, and things I wish I knew. I’ve put together a few things that I think anyone starting Crossfit should keep in mind as they start their journey!

5 Tips for Your First Three Months of Crossfit - by @winetoweights at www.winetoweightlifting.com . Check the blog out for more information on Crossfit, women's strength training, paleo, and more!

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It’s okay to not be “in the know”

Completely lost on the terms in Crossfit? Start here.. then come back. 😉

It is so easy to get wrapped up in “looking the part” when you start Crossfit. The basic uniform for Crossfit appears to be booty shorts, knee-high socks, and tanks for the girls, and tight-fitted tees and board shorts for the dudes, with Nanos to complete each outfit. Additionally, the more experienced Crossfitters will have their own jump rope, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, any Oly lifters (though if you are interested, I usually have some discounts I can get you..).

While the latter items may help improve performance once you become more proficient in the movements, the former ones are all about personal preference and comfort. Wear what you feel most comfortable in and take the time focusing on what you are doing versus how you look doing it.

You may also hear people name-dropping, talking about Froning or Foucher, rattling off their benchmark WOD times, discussing the latest episode of Barbell Shrugged, or what was posted on MobilityWOD. While this is all great information to know and you should definitely check out the resources, your focus should be on building a solid foundation and a relationship between you and the sport. All the extra fun stuff will fall into place after!

Check your ego at the door

I do not care if you were quarterback of your high school’s football team, or an elite gymnast, or have been doing deadlifts and squats for years in the globo gym. When you walk in through the doors at a Crossfit box, be humbled and take everything in as if you were learning it for the first time.

First and foremost, listen to your coaches. Crossfit boxes typically do not have mirrors but they have coaches who are educated in proper movement standards. If something feels off or if your mobility is lacking, drop the weight. Focus on proper form on all of the movements before you start to increase weight, otherwise you are putting yourself at risk for injury. There is zero shame in scaling a movement until you are able to perfect it. This may mean you are working with a PVC pipe, a training bar, or a “girl bar.”

The first time you can put “RX” next to your name is a feeling unlike any other, but be smart about your choice to RX a workout. Just because you are physically capable of doing the prescribed weights for a WOD doesn’t always mean that you should. Be patient with the process. Starting from the bottom will allow you to advance more quickly than someone who is executing improper muscle memory.

Mastery is Impossible

No one walks into a box knowing all of the movements.

There will be so many skills that you will learn in your first few months, many of which you may never have done before. Kipping, box jumps, Olympic lifting, powerlifting, kettlebell swings, burpees, wall balls, double-unders, toes-to-bar, pistols, handstand pushups, rope climbs. While you may learn how to do the skill in the first three months, and possibly properly perform any of them, there is no mastery within these first three months. And that is okay. Focus on building strength and learning proper techniques for each movement.

Today's death by @theoutlawway brought to you by box-over burpees and heavy kb swings! After working on cleans from the blocks (first time) and smoking my shoulders with strict handstand pushups (one abmat with a 15# plate underneath), #theoutlawway gods thought this wod was appropriate: 100' walk on hands (I scaled to 10 HSPU) Then, 5 rounds of: 15 box over burpees 15 kb swings (53# for women) 100' hs walk (scaled to HSPU). Brutal wod where you just have to keep moving. Finished in 20:06. Getting more comfortable with the green kb but those #burpees felt like an eternity.. Week three of #outlawway is still going strong and hoping to continue to make some great gains! #crossfit #wod #kettlebells #scaleup #progressnotperfection #ffcheckin #fitfluential #trapzinprogress #outlawfollower

A post shared by Jennifer Hudy (@winetoweights) on

Know that there are people who have been crossfitting for six months, a year, and more that still cannot do pistols or muscle-ups! Some still have mobility issues when squatting, cannot efficiently snatch, or have a horrible front-rack position. Even when you think you have become efficient in a skill, there will always be more to learn, no matter what level you are at. There will constantly be room to grow, so do not rush the process.

Do not fall into a comparison trap. It is so easy to look at someone else who may have started around the same time as you or is the same size of you, but remember that every single person has a different background. Remember where you are at today and use that as your measure of progress for the future, not measure against anyone else.

You get what you give

There are so many levels of commitment to Crossfit and in these early months, you will go from being young and impressionable to being overwhelmed and wanting it all! Some people are there for a good workout; others are there to train, and it takes time to figure out which one of those people you are. Those who want a good workout can show up, do the work, get a good sweat, and go home. Others want to be more competitive and put in extra effort to become good at the sport.

In the first few months, focus on showing up and doing the work. Learn the movements and ask a million questions. Check out the different programs available, from standard WOD classes to Endurance or MetCon classes, to Oly classes. Absorb every bit of information presented to you in this early phase which will help guide you in your next phase.

Start good habits early

Crossfit is an excellent catalyst to make other life changes, partially because your body will be screaming for you to do it. Too tired to workout? Make sure that you are getting adequate sleep. Not enough energy? Analyze your diet to see where you may be lacking. Sore all of the time or unable to perform a full range of motion on a movement? Stay well-hydrated and stretch and mobilize every single day.

Keep a journal of everything that you do. Refer back to this when you feel you aren’t making any progress or if you are having any issues; it is amazing to see how far you will go in just three months. Record your lifts, and record how you feel. Track your body fat over scale weight and understand that your weight may go up.

Become well-rounded in your exercise, nutrition, sleep, and mental health. Without a balance between all of these, you will not be successful in the sport as a whole.

I truly believe it takes about three months to develop a foundation with Crossfit and to form good habits which will help you further your progress. Keep showing up, do the work, and most importantly, be patient with the process!

If you liked this post, you may love:

5 Reasons You Still Suck at Crossfit

My intro to lifting.. and weightlifting tips for women

Gaining weight with Crossfit and why it doesn’t matter

Crossfit and Body Image: Embrace who you are becoming

Crossfit dangerous because of You

~

Your turn..
What do you know now that you wish you knew in your first three months of Crossfit?
What is one movement that you consider yourself good at, but could do better?
How long have you been doing Crossfit and what movement do you feel you will never master?


Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links and I may receive a few pennies if you purchase any item using my link to help support my blogging efforts. I encourage you to do so! 😉

Elyse @ The Benefits of Balance June 9, 2014 at 4:39 pm

I REALLY wish that it had been drilled into my head not to compare myself to others. I was great at lifting out of the gate but really struggled with my cardio capabilities. Instead of realizing that I was “yin” and other people were “yang” I thought that I was just slow and out of shape. RFT WOD’s gave me anxiety! Then I saw something on Pinterest that said “Don’t compare your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 20” and it all made sense! Be patient, recognize that you will have strenghts and weaknesses, and award your accomplishments. Great post as always!

Tina Muir June 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Cool! interesting to learn about, but kinda makes me even more confident I would struggle. Firstly my weedy arms wouldnt handle it, and I HATE not being good at something when I first do it. I am too damn competitive! I will stick to running for now, but very interesting read 🙂
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Sandy Shepard June 9, 2014 at 6:06 pm

just added a link to this to my post 🙂 🙂 🙂 Funny what Tina said, above – thank goodness I’m not horribly competitive.
http://www.beabondgrrl.com/blog/2014/06/08/crossfit101/
Sandy Shepard recently posted..My Crossfit Journey: An “Old Lady’s” Guide To Crossfit & 5 Things You’ll Want To KnowMy Profile

Danielle @ It's a Harleyyy Life
Twitter: itsaharleyylife
June 9, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Great tips! I would tell people to not compare yourself next to people that have been doing it for months or years. I have people come up to me and are like “you make that look so easy”… you’ll get there! It just takes some time!
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Amy @ The Little Honey Bee June 9, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Great, great post! I definitely wish I knew all of these things 🙂 I really need to start working on my double unders. I know I can get it because I am a pretty good skipper but need to put in the work.
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Chris @ ifailedfran June 9, 2014 at 9:04 pm

So yeah, all good stuff. I especially applaud the leave your ego at the door. For sure. And the not doing Rx just because you can. A lot of times I am at the border of it taking too long Rx but I can do it. Like Fran today. It took longer than I wanted to, but I felt I still got quite a good workout. Some like say 3 minute AMRAP of cleans, going Rx would net me only a few reps when that isn’t the point of the WOD. A good coach should be able to help with that, but also understanding your own body goes a long way. Thanks for sharing!
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Terra June 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm

I wish I kept going for three months straight. I started, stopped, and slacked and now I feel like butt about it =
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~jenniferlynn June 10, 2014 at 2:44 pm

No saying you can’t go back.. 😉

Jennifer Charles June 12, 2014 at 4:19 pm

I often want to tell newbies that no one is watching them (except the coach). We’re all too busy trying to live through the WOD! We’ve all been there, so we all know how it can be a bit confusing and intimidating. But sooner than you realize, the box is your second home. And sometimes you need to try a few boxes before you find it. They each have a different atmosphere and support system.

And, speaking from experience, I completely agree that mastery is impossible! I got so frustrated trying to learn the snatch in my second week. I wish someone would have mentioned that I wouldn’t figure it out in a day.
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Renee @ Bendiful Blog June 13, 2014 at 11:31 am

I don’t even crossfit and I like your tips! These are great for people getting started in any form of group exercise. Great tips my friend.
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Katie @ Talk Less, Say More June 13, 2014 at 11:33 am

Such a great post! I just started CrossFit which I did to improve my fitness but also change up my workouts since I found myself just going through the motions on my lifting days and feeling like I needed some MORE. I stepped outside my comfort zone and continue to do so everyday that i walk into my box BUT I LOVE IT! Yesterday I shared how i’m scaling CrossFit for me – which I think especially goes right in line with your first tip! 🙂
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Kristin J June 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm

These are awesome tips and so important to keep in my your first few months in Crossfit! For me I had to become okay with knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to do all the moves perfect the first time. I wouldn’t be able to lift as much weight as more experienced Crossfitters in my class and that’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed to have to use PVC during a WOD because you’re still getting the move down. Crossfit is very humbling that’s for sure!

Heather June 28, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Hello, I just finished my first month of crossfit, and loved it at first, but then had some set backs. Since December I’ve been struggling with an injury from distance running, and I am likely to never really rid myself of this injury. However, I find it really difficult to find a balance between this mentally of “push yourself beyond your limits” and “scale so you can manage on the easy side.” As hard as it it’s to push yourself through a tough workout it may just be more difficult, to let yourself be happy with scaling. Coming into cross fit, I’d certainly like to hear more advice and stories of maintaining fitness while recovering.

~jenniferlynn June 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm

16 months into Crossfit and I admit I still struggle with that mentality!

Like where is the line between pushing yourself past your comfort zone to get stronger and faster vs taking it scaled or lighter vs being a baby about it 😉

I think that’s where good coaching plays a big part. Having a coach tell you to add or remove weight can be an indicator of if you are cutting yourself short or going too heavy.

Are your coaches aware of your injury? They should be able to tell you how to scale or movements to do to eliminate the pain when you are doing your wods. We have a lot of people that consistently modify things due to chronic issues like foot or knee or shoulder pain.

Also.. Love the idea of seeing a functional movement specialist or physical therapist if you have that option to help keep your injury mobilized properly and make sure that you aren’t doing anything to jeopardize its healing.

Hope that gives a little more help!

Michelle Rogers July 8, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Great post. I haven’t tried Crossfit yet (so far I’m completely intimidated) but maybe one of these days I’ll get up the nerve to! 🙂
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~jenniferlynn July 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Thanks, Michelle!

I’ll have to do a post to convince you on why you should…! 🙂

Michaela Goldsmith September 22, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Hi there,

Great post – and just what I needed to hear right now as I start CrossFit next week. A mix of terrified and excited as I am sure you can imagine! 😉

This post and the comments that followed have encouraged me to be mindful of my body, to put form first, to listen and to healthily push myself. No-one likes to be injured after all and it’s good to recognise that everyone has their own strengths. Really looking forward to getting started! 🙂 xxx

~jenniferlynn September 23, 2014 at 7:22 am

Very exciting, Michaela!! Hope you love it and let me know if you have any questions! You can follow my social media accounts up under my picture on the right side of the page.

Michaela Goldsmith September 23, 2014 at 8:26 am

Consider yourself followed! 🙂 Will absolutely let you know how I get on. Trying to be a good student and to prepare before my first session and your blog has been invaluable so thank you. 🙂 Deep breath………..and lets do this! x

Paul Ulett UK November 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Crossfit is changing my life, training & dietary habits. I’m 6 weeks in and living every session. The trainers in my box “Crossfit Pendle” ate too notch, guiding and encouraging me so I can continue to perform better.
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~jenniferlynn November 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Hey Paul! Curious how you stumbled across this post today!

Walt Hester November 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm

All of these suggestions are great! I’ve been a CrossFitter for years and still have to remember to put form ahead of ego (weights) and not to compare. I’m crazy and will compare my times and weights, at 47, to the elite 20-somethings competing at the Games. Thanks for the reminder.

Crystal Vergin January 25, 2015 at 3:25 pm

It would be nice if you didn’t use Crossfit vernacular “standard WOD classes to Endurance or MetCon classes, to Oly classes”. Or at least gave links to explain these terms for those of us who are new to the sport.
Thank for the post!

~jenniferlynn January 25, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Great point! I did have a link somewhere in there with some CF definitions.. this may help! 🙂 http://www.winetoweightlifting.com/2013/02/01/what-is-a-wod-and-other-crossfit-abbreviations/

~jenniferlynn April 7, 2016 at 10:56 am

Thanks so much for sharing! 😀

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