Intimidated by CrossFit? I don’t blame you.
Playschool was intimidating. Primary, secondary, the military, walking onto the landings with 150 men doing life with not much to lose, was intimidating. We all face times in our lives where our anxiety is a little higher but as with all things that are uncomfortable, growth and strength comes from it. Progression truly begins at the end of our comfort zone. Only by constantly seeking that which puts me out of my comfort zone have I been able to develop correctly. By facing what I fear I have learnt what is on the other side of that fear.
The fear of being judged
The overriding number one concern I hear is from people worrying about what others think of them. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it and it’s a very real concern to the individual but that’s where it stays. I often say to people, within a few weeks you’ll realise that absolutely no one judges you, no one is looking at you thinking you look silly, slow or out of shape. They are too busy worrying about their own workout and technique to worry about yours. And if anyone does finish a workout before you, not one of them will put their kit away, because their workout is not done until the last person is done. That is the way it is at WCCF, purely supportive, progressive and constructive and they will come and help you. They will help you because they started once too. They used to find it hard to walk through the door. They needed that early moment of community support and it changed them. Even one of my coaches said to me today that he got so nervous he used to sit outside the box for a good 20 mins. You are not alone in what you think, it is natural to think it but just because it’s natural, doesn’t make it right. CrossFit to me, is all about acceptance.
It’s you against you.
I remember very early on in my fitness career competing in Cross Training competitions (which were the sort of precursor to CrossFit in the UK for a time) deciding that the only person I could ever compete against was me. I did most of my training on my own at the time. No one else was really into it around me. A couple of lads in the prison used to like to train with me but at the time I was much fitter than them. If I was competitive with them then I wouldn’t have driven so hard in my training with them. I would have ‘beaten them’ and took my foot off the gas. I realised that if I got to the top of Cross Training, then I would only have myself to compete against. So logically I thought I should start that way.
You can look at the leader board if you like, feel disappointed or pleased with your performance if you like but is it a true reflection of the effort that you gave when you were training? Effort is the only thing you should judge. Walk away knowing you had nothing left to give.
When coaching at all levels of competition I often find myself shouting to the athlete, ‘Stop looking around, race your race! Looking around won’t help unless its close but you should rely on the words of your coach to help you with that. At any level, look in the mirror, there is your biggest challenge and critique.
‘Hardest thing is walking through the door. Once that’s done, the rest is done for you’
‘Walk your path, not someone else’s.
If you are always concerned with what others think of you to the point that it affects your behaviour or stops you going after your goals, you are literally living your life for other people’s expectations of what they think you should be. You are not living your life. The hardest path to choose often leads to the most beautiful things. Lose the concern of others opinions and live your life. We often find that those that care the most for us are the ones that want to hold us back the most, to be safe and not go out of your comfort zone but if you’re like me, the most motivational speeches I have ever heard have been from those that say I couldn’t or shouldn’t do something. It is not where you are right now on your path that matters, but where you go from here.
But everyone in there is so fit!
Not so, in fact you will find every level of fitness in there! My longest serving and very first member was in a wheelchair for three years whilst battling cystic fibrosis and now has two new lungs thanks to her young donor. She will be the first to tell you that she will forever struggle with her mobility, recovery and positions. Does that stop her? No fucking way. She will come and battle her path every single time and she climbs mountains every single fucking day. We also have the very very fit there too, battling their path with competitions in Europe and maybe beyond.
Am I going to have to compete?
Absolutely not!! You really have two types of CrossFitter (with a million different reasons for doing it). Those that CrossFit for the love of competitions at weekends, and those that CrossFit for health. Think of it as your recreational swimmers wishing to stay active and those that go off and compete every weekend. The beauty and unique thing about CrossFit is that it doesn’t matter about your reason or drive, we can all train next to each other and do the right workout for us.
We manage to train alongside each other, doing the same workout but by changing some of the variables. There are so many ways to achieve this and some of them could be: Reducing the weight
Reducing the repetitions
Reducing the complexity of the movement
Reducing the time of the workout.
You must also realise that this works both ways too. We may also give you a confidence nudge that you can do a few more repetitions, you can increase the complexity of what you are doing or increase the weight. Your coach will guide you safely on all of this. You don’t need to be able to do a pullup or a push up, we will show you your path.
It’s really not a cult!
After a few months of starting CrossFit you’ll start to realise you won’t shut up about it! Crossfitters love it so much that they shout their passion!! They have found something that they truly love, can see and feel their progress and are around a group of like-minded people that bring you in and bring you up. It’s now becoming more and more mainstream with some of the national globo gym chains attempting to adopt some of the equipment into their spaces. It’s not a cult, it’s a lifestyle, a lifestyle that prioritises your health.
We now have a number of WCCF ambassadors who role it is to welcome new people in and start introducing them to others. They represent WCCF really well and live its core values of Integrity, family first, positivity, simplicity, delivering excellence and honesty. They can be found normally wearing grey tshirts with an orange AMBASSADOR written across the back. They also help organise some social events and invite new people to train with them. They volunteer their help and are a cornerstone of the WCCF community. The next blog will be all about them
Vicky Corny Young