New to CrossFit: How to Keep Them Coming Back

new to CrossFit

Two weeks in to their intro course, our athletes that are new to CrossFit are doing an amazing job.

Each day they step in, they are learning and growing in their movements. In two weeks, I’ve seen marked improvement in their squats. They are starting to grasp concepts and technique, all while getting their sweat on.

This time around, we’ve tried something different with our new CrossFitters and how the class is programmed. Instead of having their own class either before or after the other classes start or finish, we have paired them up with a current CrossFit class. That sounds scary, dangerous and complicated, but currently it’s working incredibly well.

How it works:

At 6:30 p.m., the new CrossFitters show up, along with any other member that wants to work out during the 6:30 class. Everyone will be led through the warm-up together. When we get to the weightlifting portion of the workout, the newbies will do skill work with the lifts while the veteran athletes follow the workout as it is prescribed. Special instruction will be given on the Metcon and movements will be gone over. Typically, there are two Coaches in the class — one for the newbies and one for the veteran athletes — plus an intern — a.k.a. me!

Why do it this way?

While you can get newbies in the door, the real challenge is getting them to continue on after the foundation/intro course. Sure, they love the four, six or even eight-week introduction to CrossFit, but then their excitement fizzles and dies, or they’re terrified to jump into the general classes. Honestly, that can be one of the most intimidating things for the newbies!

Part of the reason we’ve brought the newbies and veterans together in the same class is to try and avoid this. The thought is to get the newbies ingrained in the community, learning the members’ names and suffering alongside them. Then when the foundation’s class is over, they won’t be sacred of jumping in to a regular CrossFit class. They will know other athletes and how the class runs.

What I’ve witnessed so far:

On Friday, I saw something pretty spectacular happen. Our newbies were suffering through a particularly nasty WOD of Cleans and rowing sprints. The veteran CrossFitters were fairing no better. But after the sweating and frustration, something magical happened: every person, exhausted from the workout, went around the room hi-fiving one another and slapping each other on the back. People who had never met were talking and laughing; thus, the beauty of CrossFit captured and tasted by the newbies in the class.

I’m not saying this is the right or the best way to introduce people to CrossFit. But, it couldn’t hurt to look at what you’re currently doing and maybe revamp it. You never know what gold you might unearth.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.