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From Anxiety to Addiction

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I was lucky enough to begin CrossFit training at a fairly new facility where I received one-on-one attention before their classes started to grow in numbers. By this time, I was fairly confident of the movements and I felt comfortable in my training space.

Starting off CrossFit can be daunting to others especially in a well-established facility with a high member base. There’s a new language to learn, movements to remember, coaches and athletes you ideally want to call by name and barbells and equipment you’ve never seen before.

One person who understands this feeling best is Lisa Horowitz:

Lisa suffers from social anxiety, she fears being in unfamiliar environments and around new people. It was tough for Lisa to make the decision to start Crossfit and commit to the ‘unknown.’ Once inside the box her misconceptions of Crossfit became clear, there were no egos, no one ‘strutting’ their stuff and for the first time in a group fitness setting, Lisa didn’t feel like she was left at the back of the room with no-idea what she was doing. Instead it was completely the opposite:

“The coaches made me feel welcome right off the bat, they made me feel at ease and understood that I needed to feel at ‘home’ to make the move. Within minutes of standing in WDCF I had people come up to me and show me the way around. Within a week I knew enough friendly faces to not feel so lost when I turned up for training”. 

It’s important to feel welcome within a CrossFit community, not only are you in a new environment but you’re learning something totally foreign to you. CrossFit can be like a whole new language, with acronyms like AMRAP, T2B or even S2O then trying to remember all the names for each different weight lifting movement. It’s hard enough to remember what a Thruster is let alone remembering to keep your “elbows up,” a cue Lisa say she would hear ALL the time.

As a coach, I have heard too many times: “Don’t you have to be fit to do CrossFit?” or “I think I’ll get fit first before I join.” I’ll let you in on a little secret; you DON’T have to be fit to start CrossFit!

According to Lisa, “…one of the best things about CrossFit is it’s scalability to suit any fitness level. Before I started CrossFit I believed that it was purely for the insanely fit and I certainly didn’t think I’d stick with it. After I had survived the numerous burpee sessions, I started to realise this was something that I could do!”

When starting CrossFit, I feel that there is a certain amount of time you should ‘trial’ it for before deciding if it’s for you. As an owner of a CrossFit box I have seen many people start off at CrossFit unsure of it adaptability to their lifestyle. I believe you should give yourself 90 days to become ‘addicted’ to our type of training. By then you’ll start to see PB’s in weightlifting and benchmark WOD’s improve. You will have developed a competitive nature within yourself- striving to better your own performance.

Within a week of starting CrossFit Lisa knew that CrossFit was working for her but she still wasn’t totally sold. She kept at it and by the end of the eighth week she began feeling agitated if she missed a training session: “I needed my CrossFit fix and I was stressed if I had to miss a training session. By week 8 I realised I hadn’t just drunk the CrossFit Coolaid but I had dived in headfirst and wasn’t ready to climb back out of the pool.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Lisa and I’m not going to tell you that your first 90 days will be a breeze; you’ll push yourself to the limit, reach new boundaries and possibly ‘feel physically sick.’ There were sessions that challenged Lisa’s comfort zone but by the time she got home Lisa said that: ‘’the endorphins had kicked in and I was proud of what I had achieved, no way in my right mind would I have ever thought of doing that many burpees, a pride I hadn’t felt since childhood.’

Lisa describes CrossFit in her own words: “CrossFit will test your limits, you’ll learn more than you thought possible. Every time you learn something new there is more to learn or to refine, as your fitness increases the challenges will match, no matter how ‘fit’ you are. You get to lift others up and cheer others on to reach their goals. It’s the sport where you must leave your ego at the door, ego has no place in a box, everyone is equal, everyone is there to work their butt off, and everyone finishes flat out. If you happen to sneak your ego through the door prepare to have it chewed up and spat out.”

CrossFit could change your life, like it did for Lisa.

Challenge yourself, give yourself 60-90 days to trial CrossFit, see how it pushes your limits, how it changes you and how it can fit into your lifestyle.