Don’t be Scared (An Open Letter to CrossFit Newbies)

Dear CrossFit Newbie,

Are you scared to try CrossFit?

Wait! Come back!

Listen, I get it. I was scared, too. The intimidation factor of walking into a CrossFit gym for the first time is off the charts. All these crazy-strong, super-fit people jumping rope or swinging from bars and you think, “No way I belong here.”

And the lingo is weird. I mean, what the hell does “arr ex’d” even mean? And what is an “ankle dorsiflexion”? How do I even read the white board?

The vast emptiness of the space might befuddle you. Why does it look like all the equipment has been stowed away waiting to collect laundry? Shouldn’t it be out?

The gym might look like a place where you’d learn gymnastics and (you tell yourself) you’re no gymnast.

Here’s the thing: You don’t need to be.

Good reasons to start.

CrossFit is a focus on functional fitness. Ladies, do you want the quad strength to never again let the back of your thighs touch a public toilet seat? This is where you want to be.

Guys, want to carry a couple of 40-pound bags of salt out to your pool without taking multiple trips? Come on in.

Everyone, do you want more endurance in (ahem) every aspect of your life? And look better while doing it?

*gestures to door*

But what if I can’t keep up?

CrossFit can be adapted to anyone in any shape, any size and any level of physical fitness.

(Legal disclaimer: of course, defer to your doctor. CrossFit can help with many things, but decision-making skills are not among them.)

It looks hardcore because it is hardcore. But CrossFit is also the most accepting and encouraging environment I’ve ever experienced in a gym setting. All workouts are scaleable (aka. can be modified) based on your skill level. For example, if the workout calls for jump rope “double unders,” but you can only do “singles,” then do singles. That’s totally okay.

Or, say you’re injured and you can’t do squats that day. The coach can help you figure out how to substitute a movement so you can work around the injury.

It’s okay to ask your coach questions. Don’t know what a word means or how to scale a movement? Flag them down. They want you to ask.

What if I’m new to weight training?

Duuuude, this is the perfect place for you!

Until I started CrossFit, I was convinced I was just unable to do squats. My knees hurt every time, so I thought my body just … couldn’t. All it took was the right coach watching me and giving me feedback for the way my own body functioned and I was able to correct my squat form. Now I love squats and do them without any knee pain.

When you’re new to weight training, you don’t have any bad habits to unlearn like I did. The lifts might be completely new to you, but you’ll learn how to do them in a supportive and nonjudgmental environment.

It’s more than a gym. It’s a community.

CrossFit is not a cult.

*holds up hands* I know, I know. That’s exactly what a cult member would say. Shhh… Here’s a FitAid. Drink it and listen.

At Eximo, Erica has created an environment that shows me that I am more than a membership payment – I’m an athlete in need of support. Also, getting to know the coaches and the other members has given me a community. Yeah, CrossFit is (long pause while search for right word) masochistic. But only in the very best way.

If you’re someone who…

  • is curious and willing to learn
  • wants to find your limits
  • revels in friendly competition
  • can celebrate the wins of others

…then you belong here.

*sips FitAid*

Happy sweating!



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