04 April 2019 - Throwback Thursday: "A CrossFit Road Map for the Beginner Athlete"

It’s time for our second Throwback Thursday blog, another chance for you to re-read a blog from many moons ago, or maybe even read it for the very first time!

For this week’s Throwback, we present: “A CrossFit Road Map for the Beginner Athlete”, originally posted on 8 November 2014.

Yes, I know, technically, we should have posted this one first, but the Intermediate Road Map is my favourite blog!

CrossFit 1864 is growing! We have lots of new faces WODing with us these days, many of whom are completely new to the ‘Sport of Fitness’.

So, for all our new CrossFitters out there, Phil and I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of things that you will find and do over the next few months, based on our experiences as both coaches and athletes.

Think of it as a sort of road map for this first leg of your CrossFit journey…

September 2014 with Ben, our very first member! Suffice it to say, we didn’t have Coach David to take photos back then…

As a Beginner CrossFitter, you will…

  1. Try to compare yourself with other athletes. The ultimate rookie error, avoid this at all costs. When you walk in to the box, you walk in to do YOUR workout, with YOUR lifts, YOUR weights, scaled and adapted based on YOUR ability and background. No one else’s. Similarly, the gains and improvements you will make by focusing on your training will be.... take a guess?! YOURS and you will have earned them for yourself.

    Furthermore, don’t be intimidated by the more experienced CrossFitters. Instead, learn from them. Ask them questions and ask them for advice. It might be hard to imagine, but even that one beast CrossFitter who is sprinting across the floor on his hands and deadlifting your 1RM for 20+ reps was once a beginner and had the same questions and concerns as you. They might just have a few words of wisdom to share…

  2. You will be confused by a progression, movement or an instruction the coaches give in class. You will lose count during a WOD, and you will mess up the order of the movements, finding yourself heading out for a run when everyone else is starting their wall balls. This is inevitable – don’t stress! The more classes you attend, the more you will pick up the rhythm of each session, the faster the progressions will become second nature, and the more adept you will become at counting rounds, reps, sets, intervals and seconds of rest. You will even figure out the most efficient way to strip a barbell of its plates so you can clear your kit away in record time! As long as you put the effort in, your coaches will be happy. Just like point 1, ask questions if you're unsure! And if you can’t remember what number you’re on, do an extra rep… it will just make you a better athlete in the long run ;)

  3. You will learn an entirely new vocabulary. You will find yourself saying things like ‘mob’ (pronounced Mobe), tekkers, and Rx. You will become a passionate advocate for the Acronym (EMOM, AMRAP). You might even be able to tell someone that you’re working on your snatch without giggling (although I still struggle). These words will sneak themselves into your daily conversation. Just be prepared for your non-CrossFit friends to either not understand a word that you’re saying, or get a bit frustrated with you constantly banging on about CrossFit…

  4. You will start eating more. Just like an über fast, luxury sports car burns through fuel, your body, which is being put through some intense workouts, will need loads more fuel (aka food) than you had pre-CrossFit! And just like that luxury sports car, you need to give it the good stuff. Don’t know what we mean by this? Speak to a coach!

  5. You will ache. Some days, stairs will be a challenge. Other days, getting out of your t-shirt will seem impossible. This is what we call DOMs.

  6. You will struggle. CrossFit. Is. Not. Easy. I cannot emphasise this enough. There are loads of movements, both skill and strength-based, to learn and these movements are not normally picked up quickly. It took me 18 months to link together 10 double unders. 18 MONTHS. Not only is CrossFit a great strength and conditioning programme, it’s also a great test of character.

  7. You will fail. Sorry to rain on your parade, but eventually failure will happen. I read somewhere that in Olympic lifting (and CrossFit), you will have more bad days than good...

  8. Then you will succeed. ...But when the good days arrive, they’re f*cking awesome.

  9. You will make new friends and meet interesting people that quite possibly would have never crossed your path pre-CrossFit. Many of you have experienced this already, but CrossFit is not just about getting your sweat on and lifting heavy weights. It’s about the community. It’s about the people you interact with that, even though you might not expect it, will have an impact on your life. They will encourage you and push you when you don’t think you can go on in a workout, then they will share a beer with you to celebrate afterwards. Get involved in your community, introduce yourself to people before class and don't let yourself miss out on this important element of CrossFit!

  10. You will start to approach problems in your life differently. This sounds a bit far-fetched, but I cannot emphasise enough how true it is. And the best explanation I have found of this change is from an article by CrossFit Kindred Owner and Life Coach Cindy Lau…

“…Fast forward to a conversation I had last year with my own life coach. I was already well on my way to my dream career: I was launching CrossFit Kindred as well as my life coaching practice. But I was afraid of taking the final plunge and quitting my successful, secure career as a software engineer at Google. “What happens if I fail?” I asked my coach. “Won’t it mean that my dream just wasn’t meant to be? I’d have to go crawling back to software engineering, and I don’t know if I could face that.”

My wise coach asked me: “So…you do CrossFit. What would failing look like in CrossFit?”
I responded: “Dropping the barbell during a lift.”
My coach: “And what happens if you drop the bar?”
Me: “Well, I just pick it up again.”

And therein lay another key lesson for me. Obviously, if I encounter failure during a CrossFit workout, I’m not going to conclude, “Oh, well. I failed. I guess I just wasn’t meant to be a CrossFitter!” I’d regroup, learn what I did wrong, and come back stronger on the next attempt, or on the next day. Similarly, I realized that, if I really wanted to make my dream career a success, I couldn’t let myself give up at the first sign of failure, or let that failure determine my beliefs about myself and my capabilities. I decided to go all in, and commit myself fully to my dream.”

I hope this list is helpful for all of our new CrossFitters. Now go enjoy the journey!


A) Conditioning
2 x 12 minutes on : 2 minutes off, alternate between i) and ii):
* Nasal breathing only, gears 1 to 2

500m Row
50ft Single arm overhead walking lunge, left arm (22.5/15 kg)
50ft Single arm overhead walking lunge, right arm (22.5/15 kg)

400m Run
15 Toes to bar (or 20 Abmat sit-ups)

B) Positional awareness
3-5 rounds for quality:
30 second left side plank
30 second right side plank
100m kettlebell front rack carry, heavy
* Nasal breathing only
* Aim for full breaths