Mistake #1: Quitting
You must commit. Don’t commit to becoming an elite all-star, achieving a perfect physique or lifting a million pounds. The only thing CrossFit asks of you daily is that you finish. Bad day or good day, modified or not, unless an injury or condition comes into play, most athletes have the ability to finish every workout in one way or another. It’s imperative that athletes exercise their habit of not giving up to make strides in their fitness and fortitude. And when that habit is established, most will find it crosses over into everyday life in the most amazing ways. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself quit.
Mistake #2: Too Much Too Fast
Many people imagine themselves to be fit and strong walking into CrossFit. Perhaps you ran a marathon or like to lift weights. That’s fantastic and I commend you. But when it comes to CrossFit, there’s something to be said for easing into it.
Lifting too much weight too fast can hinder your experience in a number a ways. First, if you’re unable to put focus on technique, your movements and progress will suffer greatly. Second, if your body isn’t prepared for the high intensity paired with weight, you’re asking for injury. Any good gym will work you through some fundamentals and assist you in establishing a starting point, but it’s up to you to take that to heart and put your effort into skill work before you worry about tons of weight.
Mistake #3: Guessing
There is a ton of information thrown your way in the beginning stages of CrossFit. Although making it comprehensive is the responsibility of your gym and its On Ramp program, some movements aren’t repeated for weeks. If you aren’t certain about something, it’s important that you ask. And don’t ask the guy standing next to you. Ask your coach; that’s what they are there for. Everybody has a moment of question in CrossFit, so voice your confusion and get help rather than guess.
Mistake #4: Not Enough Rest
Many people find the CrossFit community experience so positive that they have a hard time stepping away. But in the early stages of your CrossFit experience, it’s really important to let your body acclimate to your workout regimen. The intensity can overwhelm your muscles if you don’t give them some time to recover. If you’re having a hard time sitting still, make it an active rest day with a walk or swim. And be sure to spend some time on those sore muscles with a roller or some stretching.
Mistake #5: Exercising With an Ego
Walking in the door, you won’t be the best. Period. I don’t know what background you came from. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and your performance in comparison to others will vary day to day. One of the cool things about CrossFit is that there isn’t time or energy for exercising with an ego. If you walk in with an ego ready to defend, you will likely be broken like a wild horse, so go in focused on giving it all you have and walk away knowing that’s always enough.
Mistake #6: Refusal to Break Bad Habits
If you’re a smoker, quit. If you eat mostly processed crap, stop. If you’re inconsistent, change. Most people begin CrossFit with a vision of change in their lives. But CrossFit doesn’t offer that without asking for something in return. The demands on your body seem basic, but poor health choices or lack of accountability will hinder your hopes for a better future. So don’t depend on bad habits to magically go away; own your ability to consciously make good choices, and do it.
Like anything, CrossFit has a learning curve and a person has every right to make mistakes along the way. Having said that, there are some that beginners should avoid for safety, sanity and a super kick-ass experience. Exercise your instinct to ease into the experience and you’ll make the most of what might just be a life-changing journey.