Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a new member. For anyone who knows me, they know I LOVE meeting new members. I love when I can share my passion about CrossFit and my love for my 13 Stripes family with someone who is just starting their foundations classes with one of the coaches.

Rarely can I talk about this journey without getting choked up. Most people would say “Oh, here we go…” because I’m kind of an emotional person. Go figure.

Anyway… when was the last time you looked in the mirror and complimented yourself? Typically, when I look in the mirror I can pick out at least 5 things I want to change. My saggy arms. My double chin. My jiggly hips. My belly. My gray hair. (Ok, for the record, I love my gray hair.)

Lately, though, I’ve been trying to change what I see.. and what I speak out into the universe. Which means that when I get to meet new members I want them to feel as welcomed as I did when I joined.
I feel this strange maternal need to make you feel as if you’re coming home, sitting in the easy chair, taking off your shoes and putting your feet up. Stay awhile, I want to say.

I’m so passionate about CrossFit and about our community that I want everyone to feel what I feel so I (probably a little aggressively sometimes) tell my story in 2.5 seconds and thank them for coming in or coming back. I hug them (if they seem receptive), I gush about our coaches, I tell them that they’ve just made the best decision for themselves they could ever make.
I also tell them that they will love it. I tell them I remember my first class, how terrified I was, how I really did think I could do those 40 squats without getting sore. (Yeah, the squats happened and so did the soreness)

My most favorite part is when folks tell me how scared they were to come in. I tell them they have every right to be scared but I remind them that’s our brain getting in the way. Our brains have been programmed for so long to focus on what we CAN’T do rather than what we CAN. I know mine was. Heck, part of it still is.

I also tell them the hard parts. The parts where you MIGHT go home from class in tears as I have done on several occasions out of pure frustration. I tell them that results aren’t fast. That it doesn’t come easy and that it is work that you must put in. That WE put in together. It’s a constant battle between brain and body and sometimes body wins out and you need rest and that’s perfectly ok. I tell our new members that we have ALL been new and we know exactly where they are.

Here’s some advice tidbits from a once before newbie:
1. You already took the hardest step which was joining and coming to your first foundations class. Now keep coming back. Don’t give up.
2. Trust YOUR journey. It’s yours and yours alone. Those of us gathered around you are just here to cheer you on.
3. Keep coming back. Yep, I said it in the first piece of advice and it bears repeating. This is an investment in yourself. When was the last time you did that? I mean, we save for retirement, don’t we? We invest in a good tv or piece of furniture. We can just replace those material things if something happens to them. Our bodies are irreplaceable. We only get one so it’s best we treat it with love and respect. I have only been doing that since September and the change is amazing.
4. Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If it hurts, stop. Most of the moves that us ‘seasoned’ folks do took months to learn and, if we’re lucky, perfect. Much practice went into learning the right techniques. Use all modifications if and when necessary until you’re comfortable. Period. You’re still moving, you’re not cheating yourself… you’re just practicing for the future so you can get better with each lift, each step and each hop of the rope.
5. Trust the coaching staff. All of them. They are our experts. They’re certified to teach us and to show us the way. We are their students. They have or best interest and health at heart. They will offer scaling options. Trust them. They’re amazing.
6. Last and definitely NOT least – TRUST YOURSELF. When I started at 13 Stripes I didn’t even trust myself to step up on a short box. I was afraid of falling or hurting myself. I was afraid of looking stupid. I couldn’t even get up off the floor. When I changed my “I can’ts” to “I can’t…yet” or “Why not?” I became stronger and my outlook totally changed. I was able to get my body to do what I wanted it to do, Not the other way around.

If you’re new… or if you haven’t joined yet and are still thinking about it… and I get the honor of meeting you and shaking your hand or giving you a hug I hope that some of my enthusiasm rubs off on you. I hope I get to know you. I hope we share a class or several together. My words will be very simple: “Let’s do this!” and off we’ll go. Onto the mat, ready to work. Side by side. Every step up of the way!

#fromcouchtocrossfit #mystandardsmyway #partofthefamily #newpeoplerock #13stripescrossfit