Disclaimer: Everything is going to depend on the box you go to. Some Crossfit gyms have great coaches and great programming. Some have morons and bad programming. It just depends. If, during your Elements session, you feel like the coach can't answer your questions well, find a different box. Most boxes will post their WODs on their website; check these out for a week and see if the programming is sound (i.e., not too heavy in any one area, mindful of rest, etc.). If they've programmed heavy back squats on Tuesday and Karen (150 wall balls for time) on Wednesday, find a different box. The quality of the coaches and programming is going to make or break your experience, and will be the difference between loving it and seeing improvement, or feeling like shit all the time.
1. You will be sore and tired like a motherf*$%er your first week. This should go away after 7-10 days as your body adjusts, and if it doesn't, talk to your coaches about scaling down. Eat 200-300 extra calories a day that first week, and don't skimp on carbs. (Unpopular opinion, I know. But I was VLC when I started and the simple addition of a sweet potato post-workout fixed me right up.)What should I expect?
2. Camaraderie, encouragement, and people screaming at you to "pick it the f*%& back up" or "don't you dare put it down!" If you don't like group coaching and shared pain/effort, you will not like Crossfit.
3. The coaches should recognize that you're new and take you through each move thoroughly before you attempt weight. If they don't, find another box. If you go in on your first day and they throw you into Grace with no instruction, find another box.
4. The warmup will initially feel like a whole workout in and of itself. Don't worry, it'll get easier.
5. You'll probably come in dead last for the first couple weeks. Don't worry, everyone has been there and no one is judging you.
1. Get your eating figured out before you launch into it. It took me months to figure out if I wanted to eat before, go in fasted, go in fasted with BCAAs, etc. (I eventually settled on fasted with BCAAs.) While I was figuring this out, I often had to white-knuckle it to not barf.Any tips or tricks or advice for a newbie?
2. Ask questions. If you don't understand a move, ask until you do understand. This is probably the most important thing.
3. When doing longer sets (like anything above 15 reps), it helps me to mentally break it into smaller sets and count by them--so like, instead of counting individual reps, I count "one-two-three, two-two-three, three-two-three" etc. This helps it go by faster for me. It's also helpful to plan rest into the WOD, like, "I'll take two deep breaths at the top of each tenth air squat". And then go right back into it. The biggest mistake I made as a newbie, and that I see newbies doing now, is taking too much rest. It's much harder to get back into it if you stop and suck wind until you feel better--because you WON'T feel better, you're just wasting time. Plan your quick breaks, take your quick breaks, and get right back on it.
4. Scale. For the love of god, scale. Scale a full 10lb lower than you think you can do.
I wasn't exactly coming in as a newbie, having done the WODs from the main site and my local box's site for more than a year before deciding I should quit fucking around and pay for the programming. So I was already in pretty good shape when I started. I definitely expected to be better at it than I was, though. I expected to go Rx, like, within a week. This didn't happen. Only now, five months later, am I consistently doing the WODs at Rx. Crossfit will humble you and then build you back up. I also didn't immediately expect to find it so valuable, either; I'm usually skeptical of things that are so expensive. But I knew after the first day that I would sleep in a box on the street if it meant I could afford to go. The coaching is just so invaluable to me.What was your own experience as a newbie? (Esp. if you, like me, are going in not already in great shape)
As a total newbie in only moderate shape, see #1 of "What should I expect?" above. It's going to hurt, you're going to be sore and bone tired, you're going to be sucking wind the whole WOD and collapse at the end. Just make peace with this and know that it will get better very quickly.
Tabatas. Especially if you're like me, and conditioning is your weak point. Get yourself used to all-out effort, and try to raise your lactic threshold as much as possible, so you're not having to stop and collapse every 2 seconds in the WODs. Also, you'll probably do pushups, squats, and some form of pullup every day; start building your form and strength for these moves early. Start at five pushups today and add two every day. Try to build up how many you can do. The daily warmup at my box consists of 1min high knees, 1min jumping jacks, repeat both, then 2x10 of squats and pushups... and that's just the beginning, because then we do a dynamic warmup of sprints, bear crawls, squat jumps, stuff like that. My first day, I was totally gassed at the end, and we still had the whole class to do. Save yourself some pain and get used to pushups, squats, and plyometrics early.What, if anything, can I do at home over the next couple weeks to best prepare for getting started in a box?
I also found it really helpful (and still find it helpful) to watch youtube videos of the WODs and of olympic lifting, so you have at least some grasp of all the moves and proper form before you go in. It sucks to not know what you're doing AND have no idea what this gibberish coming out of your coach's mouth means. Get the vocab down, watch people do some benchmark WODs, watch some Crossfit Games videos, etc. Search for Helen, Fran, Cindy, Jackie, Amanda, Isabel, Diane, Grace, Fight Gone Bad, Karen. There are videos of all of these on youtube and they cover a good range of movements.
The biggest thing is to just enjoy yourself. Don't stress if you can't go as fast as the guy/girl next to you, or if you're lifting 50lb less than everyone else. They're there to encourage you, and everyone starts somewhere. Have fun, utilize the resource that is your coach to the fullest, and get ready to suffer... but be happy about it.
Oh. And if they push supplements on you, ignore them. My box is pretty good about not doing this, but some of the other people in my class are Avocare reps and keep telling me I need like ten different supplements for every hour of the day. Ignore. Eat primal and up your carbs, the end.