Having coached CrossFit for a few years, I’ve instructed many people taking their first ever CrossFit classes. The most common statements I hear are along the lines of, “Today’s my first day, and I’m really nervous/intimidated/afraid.” Sometimes people even start apologizing “in advance” for potentially asking a lot of questions during class, requiring a lot of instruction, or their current fitness levels. Please don’t apologize! We all had our first day of CrossFit once and remember feeling the exact same way. You’ll certainly receive some extra love and attention on your first day to ensure you have safe and fun experience, so keep that in mind.
Honestly, there’s not much in the way of preparation. On countless occasions people have told me that they want to “get in shape” before coming to class. I asked some of our athletes, and the general consensus was “just do it!” and not to wait until you’re “in shape” to start! Most people regret not starting sooner. In my opinion, there’s no better way to get in shape than to do CrossFit. You literally just have to start! Most boxes (term used for a CrossFit gym) offer a free trial, which usually entails signing up on the website and filling out your standard CrossFit box waiver. Do this ahead of time to save time, so you’re not rushing to fill it out before class starts. Arrive to the gym ten minutes early, so the coach can give you a brief tour of the facilities. Do tell them that it’s your first day, so they can give you that extra love (if you want it, of course) and plan accordingly. Also, inform them if you have any injuries that may impact your ability to perform certain movements.
What you can expect:
CrossFit Classes are akin to small group personal training. First, the instructor will bring everyone to the board to start the class and discuss the workout of the day! At Outbreak, we like to start with the “Question of the Day,” which is a great way to learn people’s names and usually provides a good laugh. It’s a cool way to learn something about the other people in class and create that community vibe. The instructor will then lead you through today’s warm up, which is typically dynamic. That just means you’ll be doing some active stretching, moving around, and getting ready for the day’s strength component or metcon (metabolic conditioning aka the day’s workout) with movements specifically designed to prep you for the workout to come. After that, she or he will continue to lead you through the strength and workout, demonstrating the movements and their standards as well as scaling options. In CrossFit, everything we do is scalable. For example, we can scale the weight to be more or less, scale a movement i.e a pull up to a ring row. As the class winds down, expect a cool down, which may consist of some light movement to ease the heart rate back down.
Odds are, you won’t be the only new person in class! New people are joining all the time, and more than likely you’ll have a buddy in class that has recently started CrossFit and can totally relate to where you are. It can be overwhelming to take a class where it seems like everyone already knows what to do, and how to do it. Don’t worry, we understand and are prepared to make your transition as smooth as possible. Lastly, expect to have fun! Good instructors will ensure quality of movement and safety of individuals, but even better instructors will do so while maintaining a fun, positive environment.
By the way, there’s going to be a lot of new lingo to learn. EMOM (every minute on the minute), Metcon (metabolic conditioning), WOD (workout of the day), and AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible), RFT (rounds for time) are just a handful of the terms CrossFit has created to describe their high intensity workouts. You’ll get the lingo eventually, until then, ask away!
A final note:
If you’ve never done a high intensity workout like CrossFit before, expect to feel absolutely shocked that a ten minute workout of push ups, pull ups, and squats can leave you on your back, gasping for air. Pace yourself on your first day, dial it back a little, and operate at 60% (think a 6/10, 10 being 100% effort). You’ll see why I make this suggestion after you finish the workout! You might be sore the next day, and that’s normal. Don’t hesitate to ask our coaches any questions. We love them.
Best of luck for your first CrossFit class! Oh, and check out our website to see the Workout of the Day if you want to see what fun is in store for you!