Your First 100 Days of CrossFit

Your First 100 Days of CrossFit

In a recent interview I did on Girls Gone WOD Podcast, one of the hosts described the night before she started going to a new gym. She had plans to go to an early morning workout and reported having not slept at all the night before. She was anxious and nervous to the point of being unable sleep.

But, this wasn’t even her first day. In fact she was a seasoned CrossFit athlete, extremely proficient in all movements, and had even coached CrossFit.

So why the nerves?

Our brains have a very important reaction to new situations. The thought of new experiences and environments will elevate your heart rate, increase cognition, provoke anxiety, and boost adrenaline. This chemical reaction has served our species very well by protecting us against new and potential threats. It’s the same thing that makes you nervous on a first date, a job interview, or traveling on a busy superhighway in a new city. It’s also the same reason people fall in love with travel – heightened senses and nervousness accompanying new experience.  

When it comes to movement and exercise, however, this completely normal nervousness feels foreign. When you’ve been on a few first dates or job interviews, you grow to expect the nerves and know they will pass. Instead, when it comes to beginning an exercise routine, this normal nervousness turns into “I’m too old”. “I’m too out of shape”. “I’m too in shape”. “I’ll be the slowest one there”. “I’ll be the fattest one there”. Basically, it turns into my situation is entirely unique and no one understands.

The unfortunate reality is that these thoughts keep most folks on the sidelines, never realizing that a community of health is full of people that absolutely understand. As a roadmap, I’d like to give you your first 100 days of CrossFit and what you can expect.

Night Before

You’re freaking out. Everyone will be staring at you. Your coach is going to force you to do things you’re not comfortable with. You feel like you’ll fail.

This is totally normal. Everyone I’ve trained – professional athletes to grandmas – have reported these same feelings.

Days 1-30

Hopefully you go through some type of introductory program with a coach. You’ll learn basic terminology, how to load a barbell, and how to safely perform all of the movements in a CrossFit class. During this time, you’ll learn “Progressions” or “Scaling Options” – this is the secret sauce of CrossFit; this is how grandmas work out next to elite athletes. Everyone working at the same intensity using a toolbox of modifications.

Day 31

Day 31 is an arbitrary number. Depending upon how long your gym’s introductory sessions last, “Day 31” represents the time where you begin to integrate into classes. You’ll be experiencing similar feelings of nervousness that you had the night before your first class. It may feel scary to jump into the “regular classes” and you may feel like everyone in them has been at it for years. The truth is, a fair bit of folks in “regular classes” were sitting where you are just a few weeks ago and would love to meet you.

Days 31-90

You’re feeling more comfortable in classes. You understand how to load a barbell and where everything in the gym is located. You may also begin to track your workout progress. You’re building calluses on your hands. You may notice a couple new muscles begin to pop out and that your jeans are fitting a little less snug. You may have learned a new skill – which is very motivating. You’ve probably starting reading a blog or two and asking your coaches some more in-depth questions. You’re learning to enjoy the process.

Days 91-100

Again, this one is pretty arbitrary. But, what this period represents is goal pursuit. You probably train 4-5 days per week and have made a regular habit out of going to the gym. It’s during the subsequent periods in your fitness journey that you begin to set and achieve goals. Your day 1 goal of “Lose some weight” has turned into “do 5 unbroken pull-ups”. You’re committed to the long, steady process of improving your health. You’ve come to the conclusion that there is no magic bullet; no pill or diet that does the work for you. While it’s a long road ahead, you’re comfortable knowing that you’ll enjoy the process with a community of folks that support you.