What it's like to workout at CrossFit Kitchener
Before I ever stepped into a CrossFit gym I was a regular at the local Fit4Less. And if you’ve been to the typical big box gym and know a thing or two about fitness or bodybuilding the experience probably looks like this.
You have some sense of what you want to workout that day. Today it’s a push day and you want to hit squats, chest and triceps, in that order. With the best intentions in mind you get your stuff ready and set off to the gym.
Once you’re there you notice it’s a little crowded and the squat rack is occupied, so much for starting with legs. No matter, you swap it with a hack squat machine instead.
Two sets in and someone asks you, “Hey bro, how many do you have left?”
Without trying to be a nuisance you say “Just one more,” knowing full well that you had planned on two more sets.
But all is not lost, you got some reps in for your legs, the squat rack is still occupied so you try the leg press.
With the leg portion of the workout done, some adaptations made, the gym is getting a lot busier and the bench press is occupied too. You trade the bench press for a seated press machine, crank out some reps, give up on the triceps and leave.
I get it, it’s not always like this. There are some days when you can actually get access to all the machines you wanted. But it is always busy at the times you can go, there are always wait times for machines and equipment, there is always someone doing something that makes you question their life choices, and there is always you not being sure if the movements you are doing are effective at achieving your goals.
And speaking of goals, what were they in the first place? Was it weight loss, getting jacked, weight gain, building muscle, or was it simply to get through the front doors of the gym so you could say you went?
Now the above scenario is just my experience, but I’ve heard of plenty of other experiences that are very similar for people that knew what they were doing, but it gets so much worse for folks that are just getting started into fitness. For them, the countless machines, the anonymity, the lack of a plan or a means to achieve a goal is more than one can handle.
I’ve painted a not so rosy picture, but as a person who’s been to the big box gym for a decade before trying crossfit, this was my normal, and quite frankly it sucked.
So what’s the CrossFit Kitchener experience like, for someone that has little to no fitness experience?
It’s like this.
You’ll start with an evaluation by a coach, not just any coach, the head coach and co-owner Tracey. She’ll figure out what your goals are and the kind of training you’re comfortable with. We recommend all newcomers to join our On Ramp Bootcamp, it’s a series of six small group classes to get you all the basics of CrossFit and the multi-modal disciplines we use to deliver the results you’re after.
Once you’re past the On Ramp, most folks start in group CrossFit classes. And this is the game changer from what you might be used to.
You’ll casually walk into the gym, and someone will say hi, and probably introduce themselves. They might even invite you to workout next to them since it’s your first group class. When the class starts you’ll be introduced to everyone by the coach running that class and you’ll likely learn a little about everyone too. You’ll be presented with the workout, and you might even think “Ahh hell no, I can’t do that”, but the coach will assure you that you can, and they will scale the workout so it fits your ability.
Before the workout you’ll do a general warm up with the group, then the coach will prepare any specific warm ups for movements that appear in the workout. You might not know how to do them, but you’ll be coached to perform the movement at your level and pace.
The 10 second countdown will go, the music gets cranked and the workout begins. You’ll do your best, and the coach will keep a watchful eye on you and the rest of the class the entire time. You’ll finish when you finish and you’ll probably be pretty tired, and so will everyone else.
And then, one by one, you’ll get a fist bump and good-job from everyone in the class. And they will all be genuinely proud of what you just accomplished, because like you, they were once in your shoes from the fittest person in the class to the person who started only a week before you.
What you won’t feel through this entire experience is the uncertainty of figuring out what muscles you should be working on and with what equipment, the anxiety of taking up space in a gym of experienced gym goers, the feeling of anonymity from not knowing anyone or the feeling of self-doubt when you don’t know what you’re doing with those dumbbells.
And that’s just your first day.
Once days turn to weeks, you’ll be encouraged to push yourself a little harder each time. You’ll slowly learn new skills with practice on your own, through repetition in a group class or during personal training sessions. Through it all, you’ll get stronger, increase your stamina and develop new skills. You’ll definitely make a bunch of new gym buddies and before you know it, you’ll be the person who welcomes that new person into the gym just like the day you started.