It is often heard that the first class causes almost panicky reactions among the people who have signed up for a basic course. Often these people have heard horror stories about the sport in which only the strongest and the toughest will survive. Moreover, the community around the sport is so tight that it might seem almost closed and the enthusiasm of the people is above your understanding. However, those who have been brave enough to begin are likely to prove the general conceptions wrong. The community is actually very warm and welcoming and the people are so enthusiastic not because they are mentally unbalanced but simply because is such an addictive sport. So let go of your fear, reserve a spot on the next on-ramp course at your location and keep the following tips in mind.
- Choosing the box
The location is undoubtedly a major factor for the most of us when we are choosing a place to workout in the middle of a hectic everyday life. However, it is recommendable that you would value some other factors in the choosing process as well.
Boxes (gyms) differ from regular gyms in several ways, even though the primary purpose of both types of facilities is lifting heavy weights with your muscles. At Boxes, most of the workouts are done together under a surveillance of a trainer. Good entrepreneur invests in the professional abilities and education of the coaches. Usually, the best trainers have other certifications or even an educational background in sport and health sciences. They are self-driven and they have internal motivation to develop their expertise consistently.
The level of coaching is the first thing you want to know but as there is a high chance that you will spend a significant amount of time in the future at the box you choose, you want to make sure that you feel comfortable in the environment. Do some research, for instance, in social media and try to find a box that seems to have a great spirit. Most of them do.
You can also ask for box recommendations from people who are already doing WOD. Some boxes are even arranging “Friend” or “Open door” days when everyone is welcomed to try out this workout.
- Adjusting the attitude
Many beginners have a background in other sports or gym exercising. But we have to remember that there are also those who are not as experienced as athletes. In the box, everyone is on the same level and the coach is the boss. By going solo, you will not only make a clown of yourself but also ruin the workout of others.
If you decide to join a box, remember that you are joining a community. Leave your ego at home but bring the excitement and open-minded attitude. Even if you happen to be an advanced athlete, you probably have some weaknesses that the coaches can help you with.
Remember that every individual have their own starting level and no one is expected to do something they are not capable of. You shouldn’t be ashamed if you cannot perform some of the movements, most of us need to scale down movements during the first months. Besides, didn’t you start to get in better condition and learn new skills?
- Building technique
The technique is the key. A big part consists of weightlifting movements that can be very challenging for beginners for multiple reasons. Before you start adding weights especially in the most difficult movements, like snatches or squats, make sure that your technique is on a level you can perform the movements correctly.
In several occasions, the right technique requires a certain level of joint mobility, which needs to be developed simultaneously with the technique. Have the patience to polish your technique because it will save you from a lot of harm in the future. If you are not quite sure what you are doing, do not hesitate to ask for advice from the coaches or more experienced athletes. The pace of progress will surprise you, and before you notice, you are moving loads you have only dreamed of.
- Listening to your body
Difficult to get up from bed after an intensive workout last night? Muscles so sore that it feels like you had been hit by a truck? Yes, we have all been there. It's a very intensive sport and even experienced athletes are likely to become exhausted after completing a WOD (Workout Of the Day). Muscle aches are guaranteed the day after working out, there is no need to get worried about the normal aches, but overtraining is often overlooked and might have very serious consequences. The importance of rest and recovery cannot be highlighted enough. Remember to give yourself time to get familiar with the new workout system, eat sufficient amount of healthy food and get enough sleep. Do not forget pre- and post-workouts either (more in section 7).
- Gearing up
Even though many athletes seem to wear branded and specialized clothing for Cross training & fitnesst, it is not about the gear. Technically a pair of sneakers and shorts will get you started. Yet, if you get excited about training and especially when you are getting strong enough to move heavier weights, it might be a good idea to invest in a pair of weightlifting shoes. The reason is that basic sneakers tend to have too much cushioning for weightlifting, preventing you to have an optimal support and power generation.
Shoes that are designed for weightlifting have flat and hard sole, raised heel, rigid structure and tightening straps. Even though the weights are moving upwards the actual power is generated when you push your feet towards the ground. With shoes that have a hard sole, the power doesn’t disappear into the soft cushioning. Second, you wouldn’t squat on a bumpy surface, right? Well, squatting with shoes that have irregular sole creates a similar effect as you would squat on an uneven surface. The tightening straps prevent your feet from moving inside the shoe while performing different movements making your position and movement more balanced. It might take a while to get familiar with weightlifting shoes, but once you learn to utilize them, your lifting will certainly improve. Do not expect the shoes you wear would make you any stronger, though.
This is not a shortcut to get fit. “Nothing comes for free”. Becoming the athlete you have always wanted to require hours of hard work, sweat, blood, and tears, and even this might not be enough. You have to ask yourself several times, why am I doing this? What drives you forward and gives you the motivation to step over the threshold of your box time after time?
This is not for you if you are hoping to get lean in five weeks. Of course, there will be a lot of progress already in five weeks, but you have to have a longer perspective. In the best scenario, This workout will become a habit for you. The person in the mirror will change eventually if you are motivated and ready to commit. Be realistic about your goals and work hard to achieve them.
- Pre-workout and post workout
Do not neglect the warm-up or post workout mobility work and stretching. In long-term, these activities have a major effect on your overall performance. Warm-ups are often done together in a group before the actual WOD but if you feel like the warm-up done together at the class is not enough for you, do not hesitate to do some extra running or rowing for instance. Many muscular or ligament injuries could be prevented with a proper warm-up.
Post workout muscle maintenance is often forgotten or just neglected by many of us. Do not forget or especially ignore this part of the exercise. Post workout muscle maintenance does not only have an important role in injury prevention but also in the pace of recovery and development of joint mobility. Stretching and foam rolling can even be done at home during you watch a movie. Every once in a while it is recommendable to seek a treatment of a massage therapist. To complete your recovery process, eat a nutritious and protein-rich meal and have a good night sleep. You will notice the difference!