In the first installment of this series, we want to eliminate any apprehensions you might have by ensuring that you’re fully prepared for your first night, and that you know exactly what you can expect to find when you walk in the door. Ready? Let’s Go!!!

So often, we all tend to focus on the BIG picture things that we forget how stressful the little things can be when you’re starting something new. Take a new job, for instance. Unless you work for a large organization with a formal orientation program, it’s rare that people tell you how you should go about getting paper or a pen, how to properly book a meeting room, or even where the bathroom is! Here’s another one: How often have you stressed about how you’ll cover an upcoming bill like a mortgage payment? Do you ever have the same anxiety about your retirement portfolio? We’d like to take this time to get any such anxiety you might have about your upcoming On-Ramp off of your shoulders. Below are some of the brass-tacks details our regulars have identified as being helpful in reducing their stress and or anxiety, and helped them feel like they’re less liable to feel like they’re “that guy or girl” on their first day.

Thing #1: What time should I show up? Generally speaking, we ask that you arrive about 15 minutes early to your first On-Ramp Class. As you walk-in, you’ll find a stack of waivers on the welcome desk – in the off-chance that no-one is there to greet you, feel free to grab a pen and to fill one out. OF NOTE: If there’s a workout in progress when you arrive, DON’T BE ALARMED! Often, our 6:00 PM group training class runs right up to the start of the On-Ramp Program. If the workout they’re doing looks particularly intimidating, again, DON’T WORRY. You won’t be expected to be doing the same things that they are right out of the starting gate.

Thing #2: Will there be a place where I can change? Shower? Store my stuff? Yes, yes, and yes. In fact, we ever offer a towel service! But more on that momentarily. We have an area where athletes can store their things, as well as 2 dedicated bathrooms, and 2 dedicated showers. Athletes are encouraged to store their things in one of the cubbies in the changing area, however if you’re concerned about safety, you may bring some small personal effects on to the floor with you. We can say with absolute confidence that the safest place for your belongings is in the cubbies. RE: showers and towels: We do offer a limited towel service, however in order to keep membership costs down, we encourage all members to bring their own. We also kindly ask that you keep your shower short, particularly if there’s a line of folks in wait.

Thing #3: Do most people get absolutely CRUSHED during their first On-Ramp class? Not at all! Remember – our goal in On-Ramp is to provide you with the principles of functional movement. Accordingly, CrossFit TT’s On-Ramp is INSTRUCTIONAL in nature, in that it’s designed to teach you how to perform the movements we use on a regular basis. It’s NOT a ‘Boot-Camp’ of sorts that promises to ‘cram-in’ a bunch of fitness into a 1-week period.

Thing #4: That’s great…but I do like to try to get a workout in each day. Will we be working out at all during On-Ramp? Can I workout earlier in the day? In order to ensure that you’re not only familiar with the movements we use, but also the structure and flow of a CrossFit TT workout, we incorporate a mini-WOD (workout of the day) into each On-Ramp session. Again, the goal of these workouts is to familiarize you with our program, not to leave you feeling buried. If you’ve been training regularly, and a good, har workout is a key component of your daily routine, then by all means feel free to to a workout prior . Just be sure that you don’t completely gas yourself in doing so – you’ll want to come in to each session feeling fresh, limber, and focused.

Side note: Because many of the movements patterns taught during a typical On-Ramp likely feel new, a lot of folks find that they’re often using muscles they never knew they had as they learn each movement. Accordingly, it’s not uncommon for members to wake up feeling fairly sore after each On-Ramp Session. If you wake up the morning after your first class feeling tight, DON’T SWEAT IT. You’re not at risk of becoming an On-Ramp dropout!!!

Thing #5: What should I wear? Wear whatever you’re comfortable working out in, period stop. There’s no need to buy a completely new wardrobe an advance of your first On-Ramp. The most important thing is that you’re comfortable and confident in whatever you’re training in. If you have a pair of shorts, socks, or athletic shoes that you’ve already accumulated some time in that work well for you, by all means, wear them. That said, if you’re excited to being your journey in fresh new workout gear, here are some general guidelines and local merchants we recommend you frequent:

  1. Accessories / Other: Although shoes and clothes are the first things that folks run-out to buy, their utility pales in comparison to these cheap, easy-to-find sundries that will quickly become common staples in your gym bag:
    1. Athletic tape. Tape is to CrossFit as Duct Tape is to, well…everyone and everything. WE use tape to repair blisters, prevent blisters, improve grip…you name it. All we ask is that you do your best to bring your own, as to ensure you’ll have enough when you need it most.
    2. A lacrosse ball. Lacrosse balls are arguably the most indispensible tools we use to help improve mobility. It’s never a bad idea to have one in your bag.
    3. A Pumice Stone. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the best way to prevent blisters is to prevent callous build-up on your hands and fingers. While we’ve got a lot of tips and tricks you can use to prevent build-up, the simplest, easiest way to prevent hand-tearing is to use a pumice stone on any such spots prior to each workout.
    4. WIN Laundry detergent. We know what you’re thinking: Laundry Detergent? Really?!? Here’s the deal: during our group training classes, you’re going to sweat. A LOT. Even if you’ve never historically been a sweater, chances are good that you’ll leave each and every one of our workouts with a healthy sheen, and a shirt that’s a darker shade than it was when you walked in. Over time, these regular saturations cause a form of bacteria build-up in your clothes, even if you wash them regularly. Telltale signs of such build-up: workout clothes that always carry a humid odor, even after they’ve been washed, or in extreme cases , an odd rash that develops around your shoulders where the barbell would otherwise rest. Sound gross? It is. The best way to prevent it? Use a laundry detergent that’s specifically designed to eliminate such bacteria befre it forms. WIN does exactly that – you can purchase your directly from us during your furst session.
  2. Apparel: Generally speaking, we (your coaches) prefer that our athletes wear a non-technical, lightweight cotton-blend tee when training, as the way they tend to ride on your body while training helps us more easily identify faults with some movements at a glance. Many of our athletes prefer either a 50/50 cotton/poly blend, or a 30/30/30 blend of cotton/poly/rayon. Most athletic stores have such tees, as do we here at the gym. If you’re not the logo type, try American Apparel Downtown. If you prefer more technical garments, you’ve got LOTS of options, however the ones we’ve found to hold up the best are those made by:
    1. The North Face (Boys and Girls. Their Mountain Athletics collection is the best traing apparel we’ve found for any sport and/or gym activity, period stop. It’s THAT good. Locally, it can be found at their College Street location),
    2. Athleta (Girls only. Church Street or On-line);
    3. Lululemon (Boys and Girls, Church Street).
  3. Shorts: If there are two places where you should invest your money when you first start CrossFit, it’s in your shorts and your shoes. We’ll explain more about the latter shortly; read about the former below.

Dudes: In CrossFit, it’s critical that your shorts:

 – Afford a FULL range of motion;

 – Aren’t transparent when they’re wet (Hot tip: Beware the white color way);

 – Are durable/abrasion resistant.

Accordingly, it’s critical that any short have SOME give to it. We prefer those that feature materials that offer a 2 or 4-way stretch. Again, The North Face’s Kilowatt shorts are the best we’ve tested; Even after a 40+ hour adventure race, my Kilowatt shorts look and feel brand new. Other local offerings could include Lululemon. The downside? They’re not super durable. Often, the Skirack also carries outdoor brands who’s shorts fit this bill perfectly, but again, their offerings are limited, and selection seasonal. Outside of these retailers, there’s not much locally, which explains why many of our athletes order their shorts from Reebok (www.Reebok.com) or Rogue Fitness – a dedicated CrossFit Brand (www.roguefitness.com).

Dudettes: While plenty of our members train in tights or capris year-round, we’d advise that you switch to shorts during the summer months, as you will sweat a lot more in class than you will a traditional gym, or in a traditional class. The same rules apply to women as they do to men when selecting shorts (see note above), with one excpetion: Athletea and Old Navy also have extensive selections of tights and athletic wear that well suit the demands of our sport.

  1. Shoes: Relax – your running shoes will work fine. If, however, you’re dead-set of buying a new pair, we suggest you look for a pair of shoes that have a low-ramp angle (between 0 and 6 degrees), and that don’t provide gobs and gobs of cushioning underfoot. This combination of attributes will help ensure that you stay stable when learning the Olympic lifts. Specific model recommendations include:
    1. North Face Kilowatt Trainer or Kilowatt Trail. If you’re looking for a shoe that’ll both work well for CrossFit and also double as a comfortable, efficient, neutral running shoe/trainer, these are the only shoes you need in your quiver. If, however, you’ll ONLY be using a shoe for CrossFit, you may want to consider the Nike Metcon.
    2. Nike Metcon. It’s the best CrossFit-specific shoe we’ve tried, period, stop. Available on-line only.
    3. Reebok Nano. A tried and true classic built specifically for the sport of CrossFit. Available on-line only (www.reebok.com).
    4. STR/KE MVMNT. These shoes are unique, in that they rely on the geometry of the shoe to provide stability, and that they provide exceptional feel underfoot. Plus, they look DOPE. They tend to be a little hit or miss, though – some love ‘em; some not as much. We prefer the Chill-Pill, but either of their offerings will work fine. Available on-line.