Fear and CrossFit

Posted: July 29, 2012 by Todd Katz in Uncategorized

Is CrossFit scary? Are people in general afraid of walking into a box because of some fear? Were you afraid the first time you walked in? Unsure? Felt like people might be judging or you would embarrass yourself? I know at least two dozen people who have shared that feeling with me. All of you have since told me that was a baseless fear. I’m not sure why this fear exists but I do get it and I never want to just brush it off. Maybe it’s what I call the You Tube Community of CrossFit. Out on the internet if you search for CrossFit videos you are going to get a healthy dose of Regional and even National competition among the best CrossFiters in the world who are doing things many of even the most seasoned athlete at Hammer Down would struggle with.

I’m curious to know and would appreciate your comments in this blog post. If anyone who had initial fears about coming in because of any reason, please share your experiences in the comments. This can help me have the right conversation with people who are generally afraid to try something based on a misplaced fear.

Thank you!

  1. Larry says:

    I was definitely among the ones that found CrossFit scary.  In my initial research, I was concerned that it was too difficult.  Too much to learn.  Too many people that were far better than me.  To many people far younger than me.  Too much money.  Even too far away from my home and the Gold’s globo gym two miles from my house.  

    But nevertheless, I was still curious. I was bored at my gym and not getting the results I hoped.  So I visited a CrossFit location in Reston.  I observed a class and became even more intimidated by what I saw.  The complex moves . The strange named workouts.  The heavy weights.  The booming sound of thumping barbells.  This is not for me.  

    But I still was curious.  So I took an intro CrossFit class in Arlington. I was immediately welcomed into this strange place by a warm, friendly, and comforting coach.  I did their intro WOD.  I loved it. I wanted more.  But Arlington was too far.

    So I googled CrossFit and stumbled on HammerDown.  I read several positive reviews and emailed Todd.  He replied right away.  That impressed me.  He invited me to join in a WOD the next day.  I was still a bit apprehensive, but I had a good feeling.  My first WOD at HammerDown was an AMRAP 20 of OHS and double unders.  I couldn’t do either (and still can’t today!). But for some reason I didn’t quite know, I loved it.  I was not judged, I was welcomed.  I was not embarrassed,  I was determined.  I was not afraid, I was inspired.  

    It is the welcoming community and camaraderie of CrossFit that did so much to help me overcome my fears and try things I never thought I could do.  My journey is still beginning and I have a long way to go.  But I learn from my fellow HammerDowners every day.  And as coach Todd says, patience and consistency. 

  2. When you eat Paleo, you will eventually stumble upon Crossfit. They are deemed one big cult. Bloggers, Websites, and You Tube Videos are everywhere; either extolling the virtues of drinking the bacon-flavored kool aid that is Crossfit/Paleo, or trashing it as the next “fad”. I watched “killing the fat man: gary roberts” on Crossfit.com and felt a connection. I was intrigued. I wanted to try Crossfit. I was referred to the one in merrifield, by a fellow Paleo. I contacted them, but their beginner class was full for a month (intimidating!). I didn’t want to wait a month, so decided to join a mommy boot camp at another gym instead.

    On one of my runs during the boot camp, I saw the sign for Hammer Down. I emailed Todd and he encouraged me to come try a class. I was so nervous! I had been working out for a little while, but I was never consistent. I would go for a few weeks, then quit. So, needless to say, I wasn’t in great shape. I almost chickened out. But Todd had been so nice in answering my questions, I didn’t want to flake out on him. I arrived early and felt very self conscious. I have had very scary experiences in a co-ed gym, and I was intimidated.

    Everyone was so welcoming when I arrived. I don’t even remember my first WOD, but I do remember each person in my group introducing themselves to me and helping me and the other new girl (the lovely Tina). It took me two weeks to have this familiarity at the mommy boot camp! This co-ed class was supportive and respectful! I found what I had been missing in the mommy boot camp. A challenging workout, a dynamic workout…no more strolling through the weight machines spending more time writing what you’ve done than actually DOING IT! And I found a group of women and men who were supportive and focused on the same goal. I immediately felt like I belonged.

    You must be doing something right, because I’ve never NEVER been to the gym this consistently! And now I’ve gotten my husband hooked, and in the 20 years I’ve known him, I’ve NEVER seen him in a gym (except when he was watching me at cheer practice in high school!).

  3. monroemiller says:

    Trying anything new that you don’t know much about is a scary process. Going in to try out a workout for the first time is scary (especially if your not in shape) because what most people see and hear about crossfit is the elitist aspect of it. Also i think that walking in and expecting to see a “normal” gym and instead there are no mirrors no AC and people yelling and doing handstands and muscle ups…I can see how anyone would be intimidated by that. I was on my first workout, but I think that is part of what keeps me coming back.

  4. Jean says:

    When my company moved me to the Chantilly office I was so upset to loose my gym membership at Gold’s. My office was connected to the gym and I didn’t know how I was going to cope without my kangoo jump class and spin class!
    So I began my search of a new gym around chantilly, after interviewing at the women’s gym and almost being swayed by their beautiful spa, shiny equipment and serene atmosphere, I asked at the end of the meeting ” Where’ s the crossfit gym?” The sponsor reluctantly said “its across the road…”
    I drove across and met Todd, he asked me to stay and participate in the class, I said no, but agreed to the Saturday tryout class. I showed up saturday and heard Todd say ” If your bleeding the first aid kit is up front”, I almost ran out of the box right then, but I had already been spotted and couldn’t run now. My first workout was deadlifts and rope climb. I was sure that I couldn’t climb a rope, it didn’t have any knots! By the end of the workout I was hooked. I was able to do things that I never thought I could do, and I loved it. I had also never met people that were so welcoming and supportive at a gym, everyone had the same goal, to be their best everytime and to encourage others to be their best that day.
    Since joining in December, I can’t imagine going back to a regular globo gym. I have never seen results with any other program like I have with crossfit. I feel like I have finally found “my thing”, that I enjoy and look forward to going to everyday. So thanks to everyone and to the coaches, this has been a great experience.

  5. ilsa says:

    Yes, I was very intimidated at first as well. I was fearful that I was too old or out of shape to even attempt something like this. I first saw the Crossfit Games on TV while at a gym (that shall remain nameless) and I was in awe.
    The day I came to try a class it was noisy (barbells being dropped) and there were a ton of in shape people; however, I also noticed people that were like me (older and in less perfect shape). That first class I thought I would be the only one getting instruction- how wrong I was, everyone was getting the same and I felt much better. I also quickly realized that there was nothing to be intimidated about because no one is keeping track of your workout– they are too busy with their own. There was no fear or intimidation from then on, the workouts, for me anyway, were about improving myself and not about whether I can do what others can do. Yes, we post our workouts and I’m sure there is some friendly competition but it’s not pretentious. There is only encouragement from others.
    It was also intimidating because it is so different, like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s the best workout I’ve experienced.
    I normally don’t like to post but if I can assist you in getting others to feel strong and more in control of their health through Crossfit- which only seems scary- then I am willing. I am hooked and feel great, you couldn’t keep me away.

  6. melissa katz says:

    One of the myths of Crossfit that should be immediately debunked is that you have to be in shape to do it. The whole point of Crossfit is to get into the best shape of your life and this sport of fitness allows anyone to start from scratch. Crossfit is about community and truly embraces all ages, shapes, and sizes. While the community works out together, each individual tries to attain his or her personal best during each WOD. I tried Crossfit not on my own initiative but because of my husband’s utter passion and enthusiasm for this sport which surpassed his prior devotion to running marathons and qualifying for Boston. I actually didn’t like it the first time I tried it but that was because I didn’t understand that the first rule in Crossfit is to leave your ego at the door. I thought that I was somewhat in shape but doing a thruster for the first time was very humbling. I wasn’t very good, I couldn’t lift much weight, and I didn’t like the feeling of not being able to conquer the work out! However, I didn’t give up. My husband’s continuous passion for the sport and encouragement led me back for more. Very soon thereafter, I found myself looking forward to seeing my fellow crossfitters and to the next WOD! I enjoy crossfit for many reasons — the community and the mental and physical accomplishment of the workouts. You can actually track your performance and accomplishiments. You actually meet the people you work out with and form new friendships. I never thought I would be able to do a pullup, climb a rope, do a handstand pushup, or do Olympic weightlifting. However, through “patience and consistency” I have been able to do these crossfit moves. While my technique is still rough on some of these moves, the ability to even be able to attempt the move and to accomplish the move (even one) is very empowering! I had also hit a plateau at my global gym and wanted something more challenging — crossfit definitely gives you that and more! I don’t think anyone can ever complain about hitting a plateau doing crossfit!

  7. I too, like many, was tired of not getting results from my workout. I had been running for over a year and, while not gaining weight, I wasn’t losing or getting in better shape either. I had recently switched job and my new work started offering a free, once a week, crossfit class at my office that was run by another place out of Reston. I had no idea what to expect from the class. I was a bit nervous too. Once I tried the class I was hooked. So much so that once a week was just not enough. So I went on a quest to find a crossfit gym. The more I checked in to other places and looked at videos online the more I felt that I needed to be in better shape just to join one of these gyms. I settled on 3 places that I wanted to check out and quickly ruled out two of them as their location was too far to try to workout during lunch time. I decided to check out Hammer Down. I came in for my trial class and was really nervous. Everyone seemed so much more in shape than me, guys and girls. What I experienced that day and have for the last 2 months is that the people, at least at Hammer Down, are some of the nicest and people. Everyone helps to encourage each other. Also, after two months of doing crossfit, I have gotten more results than I did in the 1.5 years of running. As Monroe said, it’s scary for those of us that are not in shape to try a new work out, especially in a group setting, but it is so worth it.

  8. Dylan says:

    I was definitely apprehensive on my first workout. Like a lot of others have said it had been a while since I had done any kind of intense workouts and am definitely not in the shape I want to be. I had talked to Kevin Thomas quite a bit before hand which helped some, but still doing something new for the first time is just an intimidating thing. That first session was absolutely brutal, but in a good way!! I had never picked up an Atlas stone before and loved it. I love the variety that CrossFit offers and the group at Hammer Down have been great. From the instructors to the other members and Todd are always positive and want to make sure the experience every time is great. I have enjoyed it and look forward to the WOD’s.

  9. fnotarangelo says:

    It’s a bit like cliff diving. It may take a few internal “1-2-3’s” before you jump, but once you hit the water you are ready for another.

    My daughter was a Crossfitter before myself. Her descriptions of the WODs were intimidating. I was unsure of the committment level. Did you have to be fast/strong/fit enough to even get through the first few workouts?

    Todd, you do a great job putting people at ease and letting folks find their own pace.

    I find it most inspiring to see the “non-athletic” looking crossfitters consistently come to the box and turn their bodies into rock.

    Thanks Todd.

  10. My first shoulder dislocation happened my senior year in high school at flag football practice. I had 3 more dislocations in college, 2 while doing squat press and another during the long jump. Sprinkle in a few more dislocations since college (skiing, stretching after a nap and finally on the lazy river falling out of an inner tube) and you have someone who is afraid to lift their arms let alone crossfit. After I finally broke down and had shoulder surgery I went a year without doing any exercise. After I ballooned to a voluptuous size 12 I started to think hey maybe it’s time to get back in the gym. As someone who has been running track since 3rd grade I work best in a structured environment where I am told what to do and then made to do it. Typical gyms just didn’t work for me. I quickly became bored and would fall into the same exercises. My friend at work kept pushing me to try Crossfit but my biggest fear was returning to exercises that could compromise my shoulder.

    What I have learned since joining Crossfit is that you have a group of trained professionals who will scale any exercise in the wod to meet your needs. I appreciate that they put my safety first yet push me past my fears and encourage me to get stronger. The people at Hammer Down have built a family like culture that makes you feel like everyone is supporting you and welcome you no matter what your skill level. Whenever I talk to people who are considering Crossfit these are the main points I always try to communicate. Don’t be intimated by all the six packs because believe it or not if you stick with it you can look like that. Also, no matter what the wod says they will find a way to modify the exercises to meet your needs and make sure you are building strength.

  11. Morgan says:

    Where do I begin?! I had numerous fears going through my head when Crossfit was first brought up to me. Fear of being judged, fear of failure, and probably most of all and the excuse I would constantly use to avoid trying Crossfit at first being fear of injury. A few years ago I had massive shoulder surgery on my right shoulder due to many years of abuse playing softball. I had to have my bicep reattached, clavicle shaved down in the joint, and my rotator cuff repaired. It was incredibly painful, and would not wish this surgery on my worst enemy. After about 6 months of physical therapy I was finally able to pick up a gallon of milk. During all of this I wanted to make sure I was still staying active, so I turned to running. After a while, the running was not cutting it and had become repetitive for my body. That is when Crossfit was first brought up to me, but because of all these fears I had I gave the excuse that I don’t want to re-injure my shoulder and that was that.

    Then we moved to Virginia. Tim being Air Force and no longer being at a place that had group PT knew that he would have to be responsible for his own physical fitness, so he was already set on wanting to go to Hammer Down. I however, didn’t want anything to do with Crossfit and figured the fitness center where we lived would be sufficient. I was so wrong, and that began the oh so constant badgering, nagging, and convincing from Tim to just give one class at Hammer Down a try. I could see how passionate Tim had become about Crossfit and the physical and mental changes that were happening to him. 2 months later I finally gave in and said I would give it a try.

    My first couple of wods were scaled back quite a bit, and honestly I was at first embarrassed by this, but then looking around before the first wod I realized there were so many people surrounding me at different skill levels that scaling a wod is nothing to be embarrassed about because when that clock starts no one else matters. You are truly competing against yourself. I was instantly hooked after my first wod and could not wait to come back. Since then I have accomplished things that I would have never thought my body was capable of. I have cut time off my runs thanks to crossfit, and seriously the day I lifted 100lbs over my head I had to call my parents and share my excitement.

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