On Ramp to Open Part 4: My First Week of CrossFit
“I think my coworkers are trying to kill me—CrossFit is f*ing hard.” An actual text I sent to a friend of mine at the end of my first full week of CrossFit.
As you may recall from my last post, I was chomping at the bit to make my way into the regular, post-On Ramp CrossFit classes. Clearly, I did not know what I was in for.
I was a little nervous walking into the box for that first real class, but a few of my fellow On Ramp-ers and I made an agreement to all go together, lessening the intimidation factor a bit. At least if I was suffering, there would be others suffering right alongside me (because that makes it better, right?).
Right away the coach acknowledged that we were brand new and everyone greeted us warmly, sharing nostalgic memories of their first WOD and helpful insights about how to make the most of ours. I had heard legends of this welcoming-with-open-arms CrossFit community, but I’ll admit that I didn’t buy in to the hype, passing it off as endorphin-fueled chatter that applied to only one or two tight-knit boxes. But already—just five minutes into my first class—I was feeling it first-hand.
My first week of CrossFit consisted of 3 workouts—Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. All of which were extremely tough, even though I was scaling (performing easier versions) most, if not all, of the exercises. Accustomed to often being one of the more capable athletes in the room, this was a huge wake-up call for me.
To be honest, at times, it felt a little discouraging. I could lift heavy, I could do pullups, I could run fast, but the combinations of movements and the intensity in the WODs was unlike anything else I’d ever experienced. I felt like I’d never done some of these movements before, even though I’d been practicing them for years.
I took a step back, though, remembering Coach Denise Thomas’ words from my first day of On Ramp: “Some workouts, you’ll fly, and you’ll feel great, and others will put you on your ass.” I was obviously experiencing the latter phenomenon.
I’ve tried countless types of workouts over the years, but so far in my experience, I’ve found that CrossFit is the great equalizer. Sure, you can go in with a confident-bordering-on-cocky attitude thinking you can handle business, but odds are the workout will crush you. Why? Because the key to CrossFit isn’t bravado, it’s humility. Humility, when it comes to fitness, is a fine balance between getting after it and acting responsibility. It allows you to push yourself to the limit—a limit you never thought you’d reach—without going overboard or spending four hours in the gym. Believe me, a fifteen minute AMRAP is all you need.
Humility is knowing that you can do a pull-up, but choosing a scaled option because the workout calls for a lot of fast reps and it’s more important to keep pace and get a high-intensity workout in than spend all day at the pull-up bar just to prove a point.
Even though my muscles ached and I was covered head to toe in sweat by the end of that Friday workout, the challenge in this first week was definitely more mental than physical.
But here’s the thing: you can’t grow without challenging yourself. Being a big fish in a small pond can only get you so far, and even though I felt like a tiny guppy dog-paddling her way through the Pacific Ocean, I cherished the idea that this experience was making me better, stronger, and tougher. So I did my best to let go of my ego and my expectations of what I should and shouldn’t be able to do, and I allowed myself to be coached.
To sign up for the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games Open, click here.