Written by Amy Baird
Many think that I do CrossFit because of my proximity to Melissa. That is true to a degree. She definitely helped me get started when I could barely do a squat. I had absolutely no mobility in my hip flexors where my squat was more like a good morning. I was utterly mortified of coming to class where the majority of people were extremely fit.
But the truth is I kept doing CrossFit because of the people in my gym. When I finally got up the courage to go to class, I was grateful to find more veteran crossfitters that were willing to take me under their wing. (A shout out here to Lauren T., Angie & Nathan H.) They offered to share weights, bars, etc. with me. They invited me to work out with them… Told me when they attended class.. And text me when I didn’t show up to call me a “slacker”. All of this made me feel welcome, wanted, and part of the group… even though I was extremely pathetic and nowhere near their caliber of fitness.
Two years later, I can squat! In fact, I’m excited to say that I get complimented regarding my mobility for front and back squats. Although everyone can improve with squats… And I am definitely NOT the poster child of perfect squats… My point is that I can do them confidently and without help. Quite a difference from two years ago when I could barely bend anything.
My plea is with the veteran Crossfitters in every gym across the country: Take the time to put a newbie under your wing.
I realize it may slow down your workout. And you might not get everything that is programmed done. But the benefit is this: you could literally change their lives by encouraging fitness. Two years later and three sizes smaller, my life is infinitely better. In addition, I have new friendships for life with people that helped me battle my way to fitness and continue the journey.
In the end, it’s about developing healthy, fit bodies that can function well. Functional fitness is about living life to the fullest possible level. NOW because of CrossFit I can keep up with my nieces and nephews, I can stand up from a chair without using my arms, I can go skiing and not take as many breaks, I have more muscles to protect my bones from falls, I handle stress better, and I have a higher probability for life expectancy. My ability to “do life” is dramatically better than five years ago.
CHECKING THE EGO:
I can only speak from my experience here. But I’ve been fortunate to be around crossfitters that have a noticeable lack of ego. There will always be those that have to beat you and will drop their weight so they can. But in its essence it’s about you beating you. There’s nothing like dramatically improving one of “the girls” workouts from six months ago. And for those people who get that, CrossFit is addictive.
A CHALLENGE TO THE VETERANS:
So if your workouts have gotten stale. Or you just need something new in your workouts. Might I suggest, looking outside of yourself to encourage another person.
Things to consider when you have newbies in your class.
1) TIPS – Most people that are new to CrossFit feel intimidated to say the least. They likely feel like an idiot and out of place. So be careful about sharing “your tips”. They could have the opposite effect of actually making someone feel more ignorant. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t share information. I’m saying be careful of “how” you do it.
2) There’s a reason there’s an instructor in every class. If you feel like someone needs a little extra help than you can provide, bring it to the instructors attention discreetly. Likely the instructor will want to know, and will work to pair that person with the right individual in future classes.
3) Just say hi! I’m always amazed when people that come regularly don’t talk to you and leave and still haven’t said a word. It means a lot to me when people learn my name and greet me with it when I see them again. Names can be hard to remember but the majority of people will not be offended if you ask for their name again. It’s better to be known than ignored.
4) Say good job! It makes me feel good when someone comes up to me after my workout says something positive. That somebody noticed that I was working hard.
5) Notice when people make gains. There were many times in the last two years that I felt like I was clawing my way through each workout. So it means the world to me when somebody after class mentions to me that they noticed how far of come. And even if I felt like I did horrible that day, it makes me want to fight on.
In the end, I just want to challenge those people that have been doing CrossFit a little while to intentionally look outside of themselves to the new folks. The onus is on you and me to continue to build the strong community CrossFit has become.