I freaking LOVE CrossFit. It’s the only form of cardio that I’ve ever looked forward to in my life, and CrossFit has made me stronger than I’ve ever dreamed I could be. CrossFit combines Olympic Weightlifting with Powerlifting, Gymnastics skills, HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training), and even strongman work, sometimes swimming (depending on where you train), and the occasional bodybuilding accessory work. It’s like the best of everything wrapped into one gym where you never have to come up with your own programming!
CrossFit is more than trendy–it’s a community, a family, and a way of life for those who’ve drunk the kool-aid. Seriously, it is. But for as many people who are addicted to the WODs, there are just as many who are curious and want to try it…but are scared. And I’m here to tell you that CrossFit isn’t scary. It’s a community of people who are looking to grow. CrossFitters LOVE new members. It’s kind of like when someone in the family has a baby–woohoo!! A new person to teach the ways of life, food, health, and fitness!
Just freaking try it!!
Try CrossFit. Just get on Google or Yelp and find all the local boxes in your area and sign up for a free trial at all of them. You will find one that fits your personality and goals, and when you do, you’ll know you’ve found your family.
But before you go, what should you look for in a good CrossFit facility?
CrossFit is unlike any other program and yes, it can be scary and challenging. But any GOOD CrossFit gym will remove the scary and replace it with friendly. The coaches will take the challenges and turn them into achievable outcomes for YOU. And there’s one specific thing you need to look for to ensure you’re in the right hands:
A GREAT trainer.
To understand what qualifies as communication, we should examine a good coach. The first name that jumps to mind is Dan John. He can watch someone with God-awful squat form, and while most coaches would shutter and not know where to begin on fixing this surgery-waiting-to-happen, Dan John will make two simple statements–probably hilarious–and the squat is fixed. He has a way of using analogies and humor to make those physical adjustments stick in our mind. This doesn’t mean your coach has to be a stand up comedian but he or she should be able to communicate in an effective way that the athlete understands. Communication–like any good relationship–is key.
You have to learn your form before you start doing the daily WODs. A good coach should be able to look at your body in any lift and tell you immediately what is good and what needs to be fixed. A pop of the hips, a deeper squat, a lock of the elbows–no matter what you’re lacking, a good coach will spot the tiniest imperfection and that will make all the difference for you.
Most CrossFit coaches will have multiple athletes. And all athletes are different. One may have tight hamstrings and short legs; whereas, another may have a long torso and tight quads. These two athletes will have completely different issues when it comes to the Olympic lifts. A good coach will keep records of all athletes and know the various issues to help them excel.
A good coach should always assess his or her athletes. If the form is good then the athlete needs to hear that. If the the form is awful they need to stop and fix it. One element of CrossFit that may come off as frustrating is when a coach tells a member that the form isn’t good enough and he or she needs to fix movement. If a member is completing wall balls and the squat isn’t to full depth, the coach needs to figure out how to help the athlete reach that full depth. Does the member have a flexibility issue? A strength issue? A knee issue? A good coach will help the member discover why the exercise isn’t being completed at 100% and won’t stop until the issues have been fixed–even if that means assigning extra homework to the athlete! This frustrates some people, but what the athlete–YOU–must understand is that this is the marking of a GREAT coach, and this will make YOU a better athlete.
Of course your coach will not likely have the experience of a “Dan John,” but your coach should be reading and studying the Dan Johns. Teaching an athlete how to properly snatch is not an easy task. Teaching how to become mobile and flexible is hard work when you only have 60 minutes a day with each member. Every member is unique the more members a gym has, the more complicated coaching can be. But a good coach will stay up to date on research, will continue to learn and attend seminars and clinics, and learn how to help each and every person who walks through the door. A knowledgeable coach will have strategies to help ALL athletes.