CrossFit For The First Time: What You Should Know Before You Step Foot In A Box

Latoya Taitt, Founder of Be Fit Be Fly, is a fitness fanatic but has been too intimidated to try CrossFit–until now. She shares her first-time experience with CrossFit at CrossFit For The People in Albany, NY, and tips to help other newbies mentally prepare before stepping foot in a box.

“Limits, like fear, is often an illusion.” – Michael Jordan

I first learned of CrossFit in early 2008 from a coworker. He described it as a lifestyle that focused on both exercise and nutrition, and his passion and commitment were compelling to me. Despite being intrigued by CrossFit, I was too intimidated to visit a CrossFit gym (a.k.a. box) because I worried that I was in not in good enough shape to even show up.

I’m not sure I can keep up with the workout. What if I don’t understand the jargon? I don’t think I can lift very heavy. What if everyone else is in way better shape than me? Do I really have to jump up on boxes? What if I hurt myself?

These were the questions that kept swirling in my head. They are also myths that prevented me from experiencing CrossFit– until now.

Enter if you dare (to have some fun!) – CrossFit For The People, Albany, NY [Photo: Latoya Taitt]

CrossFit For The First Time

I had the opportunity to visit CrossFit for The People (“CFTP”) and I knew it was time to finally to push past the self-imposed limit. With anything new, there is a level of nervousness, and maybe even a feeling of overwhelming, and many of the same questions from 2008 returned.

As I drove up Central Avenue to attend the 8AM class on a Tuesday morning, I had knots in my stomach while imagining an overly crowded gym of superhuman athletes sweating profusely, grunting and growing as they threw around tons of weight, doing crazy moves and lifting double their own weight in dumbbells. When I arrived, unsure of what to expect for the next hour, I could almost hear my internal theme music of high energy, fast paced, heart beating sounds.

But as soon as I entered the door, my nervousness immediately decreased when I was greeted by two very friendly smiling faces. One was Kayla Tote, our coach who would guide us through the workout of the day (also known as the WOD).

Kayla quickly made me feel at ease as she showed me around, introduced me to other members in the class, and reassured me that I was in the right place for an introduction to CrossFit.

Why You Should Try CrossFit

Community: When you join CrossFit, you join a community. CrossFit boxes offer classes at various time that will accommodate your schedule. If you don’t show up, someone will notice.

Varied workouts: Every workout is different. Varying your workouts challenge your body. At CrossFit, you work hard, get out of the comfort zone, push past complacency, and results are inevitable.

Inside the CFTP Box – CrossFit For The People, Albany, NY [Photo: Latoya Taitt]

Focus on functional movement: Many of the exercises are movements that we do in everyday life such as being able to keep up with my kids, pushing a grocery cart full of groceries across a parking lot, or running through the airport to catch my plane on time.

High-intensity workouts: Performing an exercise at a pace that you can maintain for 2 minutes demands for you to give all you have–and maybe a little bit more.

Simple Format and Adjustable: The class is structured so that it is easy to follow and the workout can be adjusted based on your fitness needs and level.

CFTP = Community + Camaraderie

CFTP welcomes everyone and anyone to join the community where each individual works on their own fitness goals as they work to continually improve.

“Our mission is to provide a space that welcomes, encourages, and inspires anyone and everyone to show up, work hard, and live a happier, healthier life. Together, we strive to be bigger, better versions of ourselves. Our individual goals may be different, but as a community we will break down barriers, blow past our boundaries, and pursue excellence in doing the common things in our every day lives, uncommonly well.” – CrossFit For The People

I arrived early which allowed me a few minutes before class to speak with Kayla, one on one. She was very attentive and asked if I had injuries. I did not, but knowing if I did would have helped Kayla help me find modifications for performing some of the exercises.

Toys galore! – CrossFit For The People, Albany, NY [Photo: Latoya Taitt]

Before class, Kayla offered a few tips to keep in mind during class. She said:

  • Listen to your body.

  • Start with very light weights and then increase as needed.

  • Go slow.

  • Get comfortable with a move first increasing speed.

During class, we concentrated on the proper form for each exercise move. Kayla introduced each exercise and then coached us through it without adding extreme weight or increasing speed.

Kayla was very encouraging throughout the workout and even offered helpful suggestions for correction. Because of the small class size, I was able to focus on Kayla’s prompts and work at my own level and pace, while growing in confidence to push myself a little bit more.

At CFTP, it is all about community and camaraderie. Even though it was my very first time experiencing CrossFit, everyone welcomed me and made me feel at home. The group fitness class was definitely challenging, but extremely doable for anyone of any age, shape, and physical fitness level. It is indeed a great place for someone new to CrossFit to get started.

Tips For First-Time CrossFitters

Overall, it was a really great experience. I learned so much about CrossFit– and even myself. Physical fitness and exercise are so much more than just moving your body; it involves the whole person. I can not believe that I waited so long to give it a try.

Newfound fitness friends – CrossFit For The People, Albany, NY [Photo: Latoya Taitt]

I highly encourage you to get out and challenge yourself by trying a new way to move your body. If you are like me and have a lot of questions and concerns about trying CrossFit, here are a few tips to keep in mind before you set foot in a CrossFit box:

  • Just try it! It’s best to experience CrossFit for yourself. It’s the only way to determine if it’s right for you or not. Many CrossFit boxes will allow you to try a class for free before you decide to join.

  • Be open-minded. Be teachable and just go all in for the experience.

  • Call the box before you attend a class. They may recommend that you attend a specific class at a less busy time. It will allow for a bit more focused attention from the coach.

  • Arrive early. Meet the coach and even some members before class. You will also get a good overview of what to expect during the class.

  • Dress in layers. Depending on the weather, the box may be cold, but as the workout progresses, you will want to shed a layer or two. Be prepared to sweat.

  • Be prepared to pant loudly between rounds.

  • It is YOUR workout. You are your own competition. Take it easy and go slow at first.

  • Attend only 3 workouts a week when you first start with CrossFit.

  • Be prepared to join a community. You will feel so at home and amongst friends.

Ready to give CrossFit a shot? Check out www.CrossFitforthePeople.com to learn more, check out their schedule, and sign up for your first class. Tell Kayla Girlnetic sent ya!

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