You think it’s a warehouse full of muscled out crazies eating protein powder by the fistfuls. It’s really a dedicated group of athletes with a respect for everyone trying to make their bodies (and themselves) better. But when you’re new, there are a few first impressions you’ll have to get over.
1. “OMG everyone is watching me.”
Calm down, it’s just the spotlight effect. Unless you’re that competitive CrossFitter hauling mad weight above your head like it ain’t no thang, no one cares what you’re doing. They’re too focused on their form, their workout, and their lungs burning to ash inside their chests to worry about what you’re doing in your corner.
2. “I’ll never be able to do that.”
Whatever that is — a new lift, muscle ups, or just showing up regularly — you will nail it eventually if you want to. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is an athletic body, so meeting any new fitness goals will take time and plenty of work. Use it as an incentive to keep putting in work, and take notes when you see other people doing it successfully.
3. “Why is everyone grunting and throwing weights?”
Planet Fitness likes to market itself as a no judgment zone, but they make a point to hang signs prohibiting any 1) noise, 2) weight throwing, and 3) “lunks,” or people in muscle tees who carry big jugs of water. CrossFitters encourage whatever it takes to finish up, so if letting out a full-fledged harpy screech (or your preferred noise, as long as it’s visceral) helps you do that, go right ahead. We’re also talking about serious physical exertion in a warehouse sans AC, so sleeves and modest water bottles aren’t recommended.
4. “These people are too intense.”
While yelling and throwing weights is fine, it’s definitely intimidating to newcomers. CrossFitters are dedicated to pushing themselves, and as intense as they can be in the gym, that’s a valuable mentality to take out into the world. They’re cultivating mental discipline. The more time you spend around them, and the more times they encourage you when you’re struggling to squeeze out a few more front squats, you’ll realize what they’re all about. And eventually you get used to the clatter of dropped bars.
5. “Everyone is going to beat me.”
This one is probably true, at least for a while. Many CrossFit WODs are timed, and of course, you want to finish as quickly as possible. Unless you’re a super saiyan, chances are you’re not going to top the list while you’re the new guy. The kicker here is this — stop paying attention to everyone else. Beating anyone isn’t why you started. Just do your best, and you’ll start to realize your best is getting better. Focus on topping your own best times and if you start keeping up with the veterans, that’s just icing on the cake.
6. “It’s only for people who are already in shape.”
People say this about CrossFit all the time, and when you roll up to the gym on your first day, everyone inside is going to look more than just in shape. But the beauty of these workouts is that they’re scalable and every move can be changed to meet varying fitness levels. CrossFit is for people who are already in shape and for people who want to get there. Just go in already, would you?