Get To It
Class begins promptly at the scheduled time. Make sure you’re in the main training area; if you’re somewhere else in the gym, you may not hear the Instructor start class.
Class begins with a group warm-up. The Instructor will lead the group through a 10-15 minute warm-up, explaining all movements, demonstrating them, and coaching members to perform them properly.
After warm-ups, we’ll often have a skill session, focusing on the movements present in the workout of the day (sometimes referred to as the WOD). The entire group, from our most experienced to a first timer, will do the technique work together, often with unweighted or abbreviated versions of the movements you’ll see later in the workout.
Make sure you pay attention, listen, and be open-minded if you’ve done things differently in the past. Instructors will walk around, and work with you to make sure you’re doing movements safely.
Pick Things Up, Put Them Down
We often begin class with a strength portion. This means that we’ll be be lifting heavy (relative to your abilities of course), with planned rest periods. You’ll usually see the name of the lift, to be thoroughly explained by the instructor and practiced as a group, followed by the rep scheme. Examples of rep schemes would be 3×5, meaning 3 sets of 5 repetitions, or 5 reps in a row, completed 3 times total. If there’s a corresponding weight, usually a percentage of your 1RM (1 Rep Max), you’ll do several sets to warm-up to that weight, and then complete the prescribed rep scheme at that weight. Always start with a bar, and plan on 3-5 warm-up sets at a minimum to get up to your work weight. Other common prescriptions may be 1RM (the heaviest weight you can lift for one repetition), MEx1 (Max Effort for one rep, same thing), or a Heavy Single (AKA HS, again, working up to a heavy weight for one repetition, but not necessarily the heaviest weight you’re able to lift.
You’ll often work in groups, so don’t be afraid to ask the Instructor to pair you up with someone else in class of a similar skill level as yourself. Over time, you’ll find consistent lifting partners as you get to know the other members. Take your time, listen to the instructor, get a good spot of back squats, and make sure you’re focusing on performing the movements well.
Time to Sweat
The bread and butter of CrossFit is our highly varied, intense conditioning workouts. Many refer to this as the WOD (Workout of the Day), or the Metcon (Metabolic Conditioning). These workouts are most often timed and measured, meaning they’re intended to be performed quickly, while maintaining proper form. That’s easier said than done! To begin, the instructor will at a minimum, demonstrate and discuss the movement standards off all the exercises, and explain the format of the workout.
The workouts will include 3 levels; Level 1 is for new members, Level 2 for Intermediate (which can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more), and Level 3 is for Advanced members and competitors, which may never be appropriate for some of our members. Each level increases the weight, difficulty and skill level of the exercises, and very importantly, volume of each movement. Start at Level 1, even if you’re a badass, and progress from there under the guidance of the Instructors. Focus on completing all movements up to standard, rather than increasing weight or difficult past what you can do efficiently and safely.
Wrap It Up
After the workout is over, make sure to stick around, cheer on anyone still going, and clean up your gear. This may mean wiping down abmats and wallballs, or sweat off the floor, sweeping up chalk, or just putting your equipment up in the correct place. Feel free to stretch (post workout is a great time for longer stretching sessions), hang out with the other members, and ask your Instructor questions. Head back to the computer, record your weights/time/score for the day, throw up a few high fives, and you’re done!
Congratulations on your first day at CrossFit RVA!