Top Tips For Your First Two Years of CrossFit

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Think back to all the mistakes you made when starting CrossFit, and all the things you know now but wish you knew back then. Here are some of the best tips from the top coaches no matter what level of CrossFitter you are; we’d like to hear your tips in the comments as well.

Tips for Every CrossFitter

These ones are from Jon Matzner, a coach at Potomac CrossFit – his 11 tips for CrossFit athletes from his Barbells and Bacon blog:

If you aren’t a total idiot with what you eat, you should set a PR pretty much every time you step in the gym for the first 2 years.
1. Breakfast is everything. If I can convince you to eat meat and eggs for breakfast, the other meals are usually OK. If you negotiate with me about having probiotic yogurt instead of meat and eggs, we’re in trouble.

2. I can get someone 70% of the way there in the Olympic lifts in about 3 hours. At that point, the limiting factor for men is usually shoulder and hip mobility. For women, it’s front squat and overhead squat strength out of the bottom.

3. If you aren’t a total idiot with what you eat, you should set a PR pretty much every time you step in the gym for the first 2 years.

4. The shorter the workout, the longer the warmup should be. You need to warm up for 35 minutes for Fran. You need to warm up for 5 minutes for Murph.

You don’t need to learn to butterfly kip. Seriously, stop it,
5. Unweighed unmeasured Paleo eating works best if you’ve done “The Zone” first. Your Zone experience will give you a ballpark idea of how much you should be eating. If you don’t come from a “Zone” background, you’ll likely do things like sit down and eat 85 Macadamia nuts and wonder why you aren’t losing any weight.

6. As you get better, you need to take a back off week about every fourth week (not because of injury). You can still come in and workout, but take some more rest days and just chill out.

See our article on “Overtraining & CNS Fatigue” here.

7. You don’t need to learn to butterfly kip. Seriously, stop it. You are going to hurt yourself and you’d be much better off working toward a bodyweight press.

8. Dumbbells are the most under appreciated piece of equipment in the gym.

9. Prior runners do not need supplementary running to improve their run times. People without a running background do. I think this mostly has to do with learning to pace correctly.

10. You can’t just train weaknesses. It’s too depressing. Every now and then, pick something you are amazing at and crush it.

11. You can get away with a lot of inefficiencies if you’ve got a strong grip. Do more farmers’ carries.

See our article on “How to Develop Grip Strength” here.

For the Newbies (<2 years experience)

If you are just starting in the sport, CrossFit Delaware Valley offers 10 Tips for Success for the CrossFit Newbie:

1.) You’re Competing Against Yourself, Not Others

Chase your own capacity before chasing the person next to you.
When it comes time to throw down in a wod, don’t feel like you have to do everything RX’d or be able to complete 20 rounds of Cindy right off the bat. Go at your own pace. Let the intensity find you. You need a solid foundation of strength and flexibility in order to progress into more demanding workouts. Start light, get your form down, and don’t worry about the mother of three who is deadlifting 250 as you struggle with the bar. Chase your own capacity before chasing the person next to you. Which brings me to my next point…

2.) Don’t Be Too Proud To Scale

Tony Budding (of CrossFit HQ) describes scaling as another form of programming. Scaling is such an individualized topic that it’s hard to make sweeping generalized statements. You have to know your own body and its limits. But most importantly, there’s no substitute for common sense.

See our article on “Scaling With a Purpose” here.

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