Entering a CrossFit gym, or a “box” can be quite intimidating at first. Most members know how to do the movements and even though some are breathing hard, everyone is in shape. We might be wondering then, if we needed to get ourselves into a globo gym prior to considering starting CrossFit, or if those people are former athletes and sports specialists. The answer is no! In CrossFit, the magic world used all the time by professionals, coaches, and event organisers is SCALING. It is the process which brings a beginner athlete to the level he/she wants to attain without having to take a special on the side class, or working on specifics on his own.
Because no one is born with the words “thrusters”, “clean”, and “wall balls” in their vocabulary, introductory classes need to be taken to familiarise ourselves with the terms but also with skills and technique.
These classes, also called “on ramp” are the bridge to the actual workouts. They explain what is CrossFit, the lifestyle that usually goes with it in terms of nutrition and sleep, and they consist of small workouts which introduce each of the basic movements (squats, cleans, thrusters, ring rows, box jumps…).
The number of classes vary depending on the gym, and the head coaches. It is during those classes that we usually begin to get hooked. We cannot wait to be done with the intro classes and finally go play with everything CrossFit has to offer in the wods.
There’s absolutely no reason to worry about our current fitness level when attending our first classes. We will learn eventually that CrossFit is one of the rare sports which want to promote elite athletes but also want their followings to participate. Therefore, all the workouts can be done by competitors or beginners, we do so by scaling the workout.
For any movement, there is a scaled version. Which means that any workout can be performed by anyone who has acquired the basic skills. Double-unders will be done as single-unders or broken down into two singles and one double. And if we’ve never skipped a rope before then we will do it first time in class with everyone else! That’s the other thing with CrossFit, you don’t need to be advanced or know everything, but we must be willing to try.
You against you
With the experience of being in a class, left by ourselves, no one caring, just the coach yelling instructions and not correcting us, a CrossFit class will probably come as a shock. The coach is attentive, his goal is for his members to progress and the athletes in the class count on the positive vibe and energy of the group to perform well and have a good time.
At the beginning of the workout, all the options are written down on the white board and we must assess our level and pick the weights and the scaled version of the movements accordingly. No one is going to care how much we scale, therefore there is no need to be worried and self-conscious. Many people have to scale because they are injured or coming back from an injury. Others might not be confident in the movements yet. The bottom line is no one is there to judge and that’s why it’s so easy to be ourselves in CrossFit.
CrossFit is not a destination, it’s a journey
No one ever became professional by starting as a professional. Even athletes who have sports background might find some of the workouts challenging. That is the whole point of CrossFit, constantly varied series of exercises which no one can get used to.
The body is always evolving, building muscle mass, getting sore, recovering during resting days and learning new motions. Once a movement is understood and executed correctly then it’s time to perfect it and reach for ever more quality. There is no end in CrossFit, that is why anyone can jump in and get started. If we have the desire to work hard, get fit and have a good time, the best thing would be to look for the nearest gym and meet the coaches, get a feel of the space, and sign up for our first intro class.