New Athletes: These First 60 Days are Crucial

We all know that CrossFit’s not for everyone. But, if you survived the intro class and got through basics, chances are that you’ve been bitten by the bug. You’re liking that euphoric endorphin high that follows a metcon. And, compared to CrossFit’s constantly varied, high intensity WODs, your standard gym offering is starting to look a little…standard.

But take note: these first 60 days are crucial. According to a recent study conducted by John Gilson of the AF Project, most people who quit the gym do so within the first 60 days of joining. Gilson concluded that, while there will always be extenuating circumstances like injuries and financial emergencies, most new athletes fall off the bandwagon because they are experiencing the negative effects of training fairly immediately, while the positive effects are likely months away.

And we get it. If you’re just starting out, you will feel soreness and fatigue. Some of the more technical Olympic lifts will feel awkward. And if you don’t have much of a gymnastics background, it may seem like you’ll never nail pull-ups, ring dips or handstand pushups. Human nature is going to tell you to order take-out and spend the night on the couch.

Don’t. Come back and commit to signing up for at least 3 classes a week. It’s even more important to do this now than a year from now because you’re starting to develop a habit. Just like bad habits, good ones don’t just materialize overnight.

Your 718 coaches and teammates are here to help, but you’ve got to put in the work. Here are some things to keep in mind while you work through these next couple months:

–        Don’t “cherry pick.” It’s tempting to check the WOD the night before and opt out because you’re not a great runner or don’t like a particular lift. Any coach will tell you these are the exact WODs you should be doing. The only way you’ll improve at certain aspects of CrossFit is if you work at them.

–        Manage your expectations – both long and short-term. Some WODs are brutal. Accept that it’s going to be tough; embrace the suck and talk to your coach about form, strategy and the best way to recover (stretching, mobility exercises, and self-myofascial release can go a long way). Regarding long-term expectations, it may be months before you see results like improved strength and endurance, muscle definition, and weight loss. Be patient and consistent – your work will eventually pay off.

–        Set goals and track your workouts. WOD tracking and recording your PRs will allow you to see the progress you’re making over time. You can use a simple notebook, one of the dozens of available apps, or CrossFit718’s whiteboard. Setting S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goals is also incredibly important. Working towards a specific goal will keep you invested and give your workouts more focus. Create a special section in your WOD book for goals or use a worksheet like this one.

So, what if you’re reading this and you’re not a beginner? If you’re a veteran of CrossFit718, you already get the communal and social aspects of CrossFit. You’re probably already doing what you can to support new members (we have the best box in town, after all), but just in case you need a reminder:

–        Introduce yourself to new members and do your best to learn their names.

–        Share info and tips that you found helpful as a beginner.

–        Notice and recognize hard work, progress and PRs. (You can’t go wrong with a high five.)

And if you’ve made it past the 60 day mark, congrats! It’s all super easy from here…just kidding! No matter how long you’ve been doing CrossFit, there’s always a brutal WOD, a GOAT, or PR you just can’t seem to crack. And, if you haven’t figured it out yet, you’ll soon learn that this is actually the best thing about CrossFit.

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