1 Don’t Underestimate or Overestimate yourself
While this may not be everyone’s experience, a lot of people who come to crossfit haven’t done much heavy weight lifting. This leads them to underestimating how much they’re capable of lifting. the great thing about crossfit is that your trainers and teammates will encourage you to up your weights so you can find your max. You’ll surprise yourself when you realize you can squat a lot more than 60 pounds when just a week ago, you could barely do 2 body weight squats. At the same time you also have to take care not to overestimate yourself or risk getting injured. Don’t try to compare yourself to anybody else because crossfit is much more a competition with yourself and your own fears. And that right there, is the beauty of the sport for me. Finding the balance between empowerment and humility.
2) You Will Gain Weight
If you’re one of those people whose mood is often dictated by the numbers on the scale, the first few weeks of crossfit will leave you feeling defeated because you might gain weight instead of losing. But that weight is your muscles increasing in mass so their can work harder to help you lift heavier weights. You gave your everything on that deadlift, don’t let yourself be frustrated because the scale is not accurately illustrating that effort. So I encourage you to drop all expectations of weight loss, and concentrate instead on marveling at the power that is your body. I mean it’s truly incredible.
3) You Will Sustain Injuries, Most of Them Not Even from Crossfit
Yeah, certainly you will experience some injuries while exercising, like calluses or scratched skin during a box jump, but that’s not what I’m talking about. The think about crossfit is that after the workout, you will be riding on a high that makes you feel like a superhero. So you might start to believe that crossfit gives you carte blanche to go jump off buildings from one rooftop to the other. I’m gonna need you to bring it down a notch. Calm down Spiderman.
4) Half of the Workout is Carrying the Weights Back and Forth
I’ve made the mistake of looking at a workout and assuming it’s going to be a breeze because you really need to just do one rep of each exercise, at your maximum weight on the bar. I was fooled my friends! Fooled I tell you. What I didn’t realize is that you need to figure out what your maximum weight is, and that involves a lot of carrying the weights from the rack to your bar, lifting, realizing you can do more and running back to get heavier weights. That got me more exhausted than the actual 1 rep I underestimated. That’s not counting having to carrying all those weights back to their proper place after your laid your entire life on that bar. Whyyyy!!!!! I’m not crying. I’m ok. I’m ok.
5) You Will Have Your Own Cheerleading Squad.
Ok so maybe you don’t get your own crew of professional cheerleaders chanting your name on the sidelines with badass choreographies. What you do get is teammates who are rooting for you as if you were about to win Gold at the Olympics. It is incredibly empowering when you’re struggling to rise from a heavy squat, and everybody stops their reps to scream your name like you’re a celebrity. I know how Beyoncé feels now (I think).
6) Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover
An important point that body image advocates constantly stress is that we have to let go of the myth that someone’s appearance is an accurate indicator of their athletic prowess. Anybody who has the habit of judging people by the way they look (so… all of us) and assuming that heavier people are lazy, just needs to spend a day in a crossfit gym. You will see people display incredible feats of athleticism, but whose body types wouldn’t land them in a fitness magazine. That goes for all body types. I am willing to bet my last nutella jar on the fact that you wouldn’t be able to rank someone’s athleticism with only their body type or gender as a point of reference. If you needed one more reason to be compassionate and respectful of people’s bodies and your own, crossfit is that reason.
If you’ve been hesitant about trying out crossfit because you’ve heard stories of people who throw up in buckets, those stories are probably true. They’re true but much less frequent than you’d imagine. I’ve yet to see anybody throw up so don’t you worry. Drop all fears of the sport and come drop it like it’s hot (in a squat).
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.