I once messaged a runner friend of mine to ask for advice on how to become a runner. She simply wrote, “Just start by putting one foot in front of the other. There is no secret. Just get up and run.” I don’t know what I was expecting her to say, but I remember being so disappointed at her response. I guess I was hoping for a miraculous tip that would just make something suddenly “click” and give me all the motivation in the world to start running. Well, when that didn’t happen I simply never started running and continued to make excuses. Spoiler alert: I still don’t like running.
Now, I am the one getting questions about what changed to make me go from doing NOTHING, as far as exercise, to loving CrossFit and regularly practicing it three to five times a week. So I’d like to elaborate my answer a bit more than my runner friend did and share my advice on how you can go from being an extreme couch potato to a happy CrossFit pal.
1- Research: Ask yourself what is a priority for you when it comes to working out and research a box/gym that meets your criteria. When I first started I wanted a gym with good references, near my house and not crazy expensive. So I went to Facebook to ask my friends for box suggestions around my area. They referred me to my current gym saying the coaches there were great, the crowd was friendly and the location was near my house. Score! Now I just had to act on it.
2- Make the call: The first step is to pull the trigger and set up your first trial class. Most boxes have a free first class policy, so if you end up hating it (which I highly doubt you will) you can at least live with the fact that your wallet suffered no losses.
3- Sign up: One free class is great, but it’s really not enough to show you all the aspects of CrossFit that may make you fall in love with it. If your chosen box doesn’t offer a starter’s deal, perhaps that’s not the box for you. My box for example was offering $50 off your first two months and that really helped me make peace with the decision to sign up. CrossFit is more expensive than a regular gym because it offers personal coaching, so I knew I wanted to give it a try for a longer period of time before judging if I liked it or not. But I also didn’t want to fork up a bunch of money if I happened to hate it two weeks after signing up. So I would suggest talking to the owner and explaining that you would like to try it if they are willing to offer a first month discount.
4- Be social: For me, CrossFit is more about the camaraderie and mutual support than it is exercising. You can exercise ANYWHERE. But joining a box means joining a community of people that are crazy enough to show up every day and sweat their asses off alongside you. So, make a point to become a true member at your box by getting to know your fellow CrossFitters. Arrive a few minutes early and start conversation with the members that are already there warming up, offer encouraging words to others during the WOD and respond to people’s encouragement by working harder!
5- Pick a class: When I first started I kind of tried to go to a bunch of class times to see which one I liked better. If you have a set work schedule you will probably have less options, but even then you will probably have a couple of classes to choose from. I liked being able to test out the classes a bit to see which ones I liked better. I ended up picking 7 p.m. as my “ride or die” class because it wasn’t as hot as afternoon classes, I clicked with a bunch of the “7 o’clock regulars” and my body responded better to stretching and weight training at that time. Picking a time allows you to incorporate that class into your routine and making it a habit. And habit is exactly what you are trying to create. Plus, you will get to know your class folks better and build long-lasting friendships that will help even further to keep you accountable.
6- Commit: CrossFit can be a bit intimidating in the beginning, so one of the things that kept me coming to class the first month was the fact that I had already committed and paid the membership fee. So, every day that I woke up too sore, too tired, too lazy… I told myself that if I didn’t go to class, that would be like throwing $12 in the trash. And $12 can buy me a new mascara, a lipstick or a sushi dinner. So I got up and went to the gym.
Of course my advice is dispensed based on my experience as a CrossFitter, but these tips can easily be applied to any exercise routine if CrossFit is not your cup of tea. The “just do it” attitude is all you need to start a fitness journey! One of my favorite quotes is, “The expert in anything was once a beginner,” because it’s so true. So get up and let’s make things happen! If you have any other tips on how to get motivated, please share them with us in the comments section! Thanks for reading!