7 Lessons I Wish I’d Known Before I Started CrossFit

"I've been CrossFit training now for 3 years and love the journey, but these 7 lessons would have hugely improved my progress had I known them at the start."

I’ll never forget the time when Agneta joined my former box in the Netherlands. Agneta was going to Globo gyms and wanted to try CrossFit. She was a really strong woman – one of those people who grow muscles just from carrying grocery bags.

So I thought: “Yeah, she might have a high deadlift and just do well when it’s all about raw strength, but the real deal lies in the technical stuff and she’ll struggle with that.” But then she snatched more than my 1RM for reps in her very first session.

So I assumed she would suck in gymnastics, but then she performed all the movements in strict and perfect-looking kipping versions and mastered double-unders within 2 weeks.

Agneta also runs long distances way below a 5min/km pace, and is as flexible as a ballet dancer. Needless to say, she also comes with a mindset that makes her go unbroken even through the hardest workouts with an incredible pace.

female athlete foam rolling during crossfit trainingSource: RX'd Photography
Good habits can really speed up progress

I’m sure there is an Agneta in your box as well. Those blessed one-in-a million people who show us our own weaknesses. It is not negativity nor an excuse to say that talent is an important factor for the way to outstanding performance.

I know that I could (and should) be on a much higher level after almost 3 years of CrossFit, if only I had discovered a lot of things earlier. So if I had to send a letter to my past self, I can think about a few points I’d like to tell that 20-something from those early days.

1. Do more than just classes

For saying this, I apologize to Greg Glassman. His idea of turning every training session into a small competition and let people push each other in a small group-setting has and always will be the heart of CrossFit. I also apologize to all the coaches out there who put so much effort into programming and teaching classes.

However, by only leaving it to a hour-long weekly training, you will build an above-average fitness level, but you won’t become a competitive athlete, even if you are outstandingly gifted.

Butterflies or muscle-ups don’t come from practicing every other month in the 20-minute skill session. Impressive numbers in the lifts require specific plans weightlifting and so on.

male athlete crossfit training on rowing machineSource: RX'd Photography
keep pushing

After months and months of showing up in the box, I still couldn’t do any workouts RX. The jumps in my performance only came with putting in the extra work – staying a while after the class practicing my HSPUs, showing up early, and making use of every open gym-hour that’s available.

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