Eight Ways to Help Newcomers Feel Welcome
Happy New Year, friends. With the new year comes new members, armed with resolutions and hungry for some fitness. Here are eight ways to help them feel more comfortable in your beloved CrossFit box.
1. Say hello. It can be scary going to a new place, period. Now imagine walking into a new place and everyone has their shirt off, music is blaring, barbells are dropping and a packed room of athletes are using a barbell in ways you never knew existed. Intimidation city, population one. So when you see a fresh face at the gym, say hello, introduce yourself and make a new friend.
2. Save the weight loss advice. Maybe wait until a little later before offering unsolicited weight loss advice. Yeah it’s the new year and lots of athletes are focused on the scale, but the in-shape athlete telling the new out-of-shape athlete how to shed and shred might not be the most encouraging.
3. Offer help. Bands, barbells, PVC pipes, ab mats, you name it. They’re not always easy to find. Don’t wait for them to ask for it. Pick one up and bring it over.
4. Don’t coach. Unless you are the actual coach leading the class, don’t coach a newcomer. You don’t know their background, if they have any injuries, or if they’ve been onramped yet. That is not your job. Let the coach do the coaching.
5. Partner up. No one likes being the last one picked on a team. Do a solid and partner up with the newcomer. It doesn’t matter if you’re the fittest in class and you’ll need a second barbell; lead by example.
6. High fives abound. Fist bumps, high-fives, knuckles. Whatever. Make a point to find that athlete and congratulate them on a great workout. There’s no better way to encourage a new athlete to return than offering some praise.
7. Encourage them to return. Walking through the door was the hard part. Help make their decision to return easier by encouraging them to come back. “Will I see you again tomorrow” will show athletes that CrossFit isn’t like any other gym they’ve ever been to.
8. Remember your first time. Remember, unless you were born with a double body weight backsquat and a 400 pound deadlift, someone had to help you get to where you are. Return that favor.