Q: I'm thinking of trying a Crossfit intro class but I'm nervous about being the only out of shape person there. Will everyone be staring at me as I do my girl push-ups? Or am I psyching myself out for no reason?
Bethany: Yah. That’s real. And it may be true. There are plenty of articles, Pinterest boards and blogs that address getting over that mental hump. And I hope you do. Each Crossfit workout will affect folks differently - some will end up playing to your strengths, others won’t - but it’s the same for everyone. Aside from a very select group of folks, no one is great or even good at every aspect. Rich Froning, the Fittest Man Alive, had to stop and walk during the run portion of the first event in the 2014 Crossfit Games - and Crossfit is his JOB.
So let’s assume you decide to take the Intro classes. You mentioned being nervous about being the only out of shape person there so I’m going to explain why 99% of the folks you encounter won’t care or won’t notice. And for the 1% that do, they’re focused on the wrong shit.
The groups you’ll encounter:
1. The Coaches. They’re going to explain the philosophy of Crossfit. They’ll introduce a subset of core movements each session to ease you into things. They’re going to watch you to determine your strengths and weaknesses and assess how to best coach you on technique. They’re there to help not judge. Caveat: if you don’t try and/or don’t take their coaching seriously, then you’ll get judged but not for level of fitness.
2. Other Intro participants: Most will be just as nervous as you - fear of being judged for whatever reason. But as you go through the sessions, some of them will become "your people" at the gym.
3. Box athletes: Maybe they’ve been going for 3 years or 2 months post-Intro sessions - regardless, these folks will exhibit what I’ll coin the “Crossfit stare.” The Crossfit stare isn’t a judgmental one. It basically has three driving factors: 1. Huh. Someone I don’t know. Cool.; 2. I’m looking through you because I’m trying to muster the will to get this next rep; and 3. Holy shit, I want to be able to do that.
4. You: You will also exhibit the Crossfit stare. Initially, it will mostly be #3. After a few months, you’ll add the other 2 because some folks will be looking at you like #3.
So, just go. And log your workouts and track your progress. Good luck and let Athletish know how it goes!
Erin: Put your mind at ease by doing some digital sleuthing. Visit the gym's Facebook page or Instagram and try to scope members from the candid photos. You'll get a more realistic—and hopefully reassuring—look than what you find on a gym's homepage— they're selling a fitness product, which explains why sometimes the best bods are front and center.