Rule #1: Be Nice: One of CrossFit’s most enticing selling points is the sense of community and camaraderie inherent in the type of work being done in your local box. By fostering competition, cooperation and a network of support within a gym, CrossFit adherents believe they’ve found a recipe for improving athletes beyond typical means. They’ve also created an incredibly fun place to work out.
Of course, no gym — CrossFit or otherwise — is completely free of idiots, muscleheads or giant egos, but by following a simple set of rules we’ve culled from affiliates across the country, you’ll ensure you won’t be one of them:
Keep it clean: CrossFit gyms are often big, open, Spartan areas, but they’re also very clean. Help keep them that way. Sweat, blood, gear and chalk may fly around the gym during a given WOD. If it’s coming from you, be sure to clean up after yourself and return equipment you were using to the racks. Bumper plates (rubber weights put on barbells) are admittedly fun to drop, but don’t make a habit of it because they won’t last forever and drops can still damage the expensive barbell.
Check your ego at the door: No matter what kind of shape you’re in, with its high intensity, complex movements and heavy loads, CrossFit will be difficult. Don’t get angry if the soccer mom or 16-year-old in your class posts a better time or heavier weight because the competition is also against yourself. Remember what you did and then smile while congratulating others on their spectacular performance. You might “win” next time.
Push yourself: You can only get stronger, faster and healthier if you continually add weight to your lifts and speed to your movements. Don’t compromise safety, but if you can perform a lift correctly, you can make that lift heavier. This can inspire others to push themselves, as well. Listen to your coaches, who will watch the form on your lifts and make corrections where necessary. If you’ve missed a rep because of bad form, repeat it.
Show support: Group classes create competition, but they shouldn’t create rivalries. Those in your class are struggling against the same weights and movements you are, so they’ll need as much help as you to get through the WOD. If you finish before someone, cheer him or her on or run a final leg with that person. Gather around if someone is going for a heavy personal record because the extra cheer can be the difference between making a lift or dropping the weight.