Starting a new fitness regimen can be daunting for anyone from the fresh faced gym rat to the seasoned athlete. Crossfit, especially, is a formidable beast that many shy away from attacking. However, those who do go in for the assault, learn that the sport can quickly be tamed.
I had the opportunity to sit down with a newbie Crossfitter right after his first class (which I may have dragged him to in the first place). To protect the identity of my virign post pop, we’ll refer to him as John Sawyer. Here is an overview of how our interview played out:
Prior to your first Crossfit class, what was your opinion of the sport?
Mr. Sawyer pictured Crossfit as an outlet for the underdogs to feel tough. The kids that didn’t quite make the varsity football team or who weren’t drafted for the Marines. He believed Crossfitters were good enough to march in the half time show, but skirted the sidelines for the big game.
While John’s opinion may seem as a harsh criticism, he is actually spot on. Crossfit is for the kid on the sidelines, but it is also for the big man on the field. Crossfit found its origins with a trained gymnast, grew in numbers amongst servicemen, and sustains itself through middle-aged dads looking to get a workout in before taking his children to school. The allure of Crossfit is that it can be scaled for nearly anyone of any age or fitness level.
What previous exposure did you have to Crossfit?
“Nothing but memes.”
What emotions did you experience as you arrived at your first class?
Here’s a bit of context to frame John’s answer: The class was Gorilla’s free and open to the public Saturday class at 9 AM. As a Med student, John may get up bright and early to squeeze in some studying or head to class, but certainly not complete a rigorous workout; so, he describes his emotional state that morning as drained. He really just wanted to get in, get it over with, and hopefully impress me in the process (yeah, I might have a little something going with our Mr. Sawyer.) However, he was not overly anxious for the workout, because he believes he has endured much worse. This studious man comes from an athletic background of college baseball. Training during the season included long endurance workouts tacked on to a seven hour practice. He was also a stud in high school, shying just 50 lbs below the 1,000 lb club.
Here is the workout that was awaiting him on the board:
20 Min Partner AMRAP
10 bumper plate thrusters 45/25
10 bumper plate burpees
10 alternating lunges with plate over head
*While partner A completes the workout, partner B rows 200 meters. Partners switch following each 200 m.
Could you describe your feelings during the workout?
“I started out strong, I was like a rocket out of the gate, but I quickly realized I couldn’t keep up with you, especially in the rowing.”
John learned the hard way that pace and endurance are big aspects of a Crossfit workout, but we can’t expect a newb to keep up with a veteran, such as myself. While I was a bit quicker on the rowing machine, John did mention he enjoyed using this machine, which he had never before encountered during training.
How would you rate your level of pain following the workout?
“I felt pretty good. I think I could have gone harder.”
There was a bit of confusion for John in the length of the workout. Crossfitters are notorious for communicating with a personal dictionary, so we sometimes forget that terms like “AMRAP” aren’t immediately comprehensible to an outsider.
How has experiencing Crossfit first hand changed your opinion of the sport?
“I really liked it. I really like the gym. The gym reminded me of the old school gyms I used to train in for baseball; the racks and inspirational quotes lining the walls. It’s not just a bunch of cardio machines and people standing around. I also liked the integration of cardio and lifting, it’s a full body workout. . . I’ve got time for that.”
Finally, what advice would you give others who are embarking on their first Crossfit class?
John’s advice to other first timers did not include pacing oneself or the need to be in any prior shape. No, John emphasized the need to look fresh when you step in the gym.
“Look good; lift good.”
I would like to thank “John” for allowing me to drag him into the cage to tag team the beast that is Crossfit. Look, he even lived to tell the story.
If you have any stories from your first time with Crossfit or questions before heading in, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment, below.