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Prissy (adjective): finicky, dainty, particular, fussy, discriminating, persnickety.

Yep, I’m prissy. I begged my (horrified) mother to let me be a debutante (she refused and threatened to disown me), I don’ t like to get dirty unless it’s riding horses, and I always, always do the dishes before going to bed. My favorite word is “fabulous” and I like everything to be just so. And so you might be surprised that I’ve been regularly and voluntarily going to a dirty, smelly warehouse for almost 3 months now. Why? It’s the home of CrossFit Charlottesville. I heart CrossFit.

Lots of people have asked me lots of questions about it. Yes, it’s hard, requires commitment and lots of grit and is most definitely not for everyone. But if I can do it, anyone can. It’s actually one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. However, it can be pretty intimidating for a newbie, so, from my time as a potentially the prissiest person at CrossFit Charlottesville, here are some handy tips.

Posture. The way to think about this is having “pageant chest”.  If you were in a pageant, or a parade queen on a float, how would your posture be? That’s what they want. Now, when the trainer wants to remind me that my form is lacking, all he has to say is PAGEANT CHEST and I clue right in to what I’m supposed to be doing.

Grip. When you grip a barbell, you’re supposed to use the hook grip. Obviously I’d never remember that, so I call it the Captain Hook grip. Arrr, matey.  The absolute WORST thing you can do when barbelling is to display spirit fingers, as I’m prone to do. Captain Hook grip is the opposite of spirit fingers.

Circus Seal

Equipment.Sometimes we jump on and off 12”-24” boxes. These boxes are painted red and look like the type of box a circus seal would perform on. Hence, they’re circus boxes. I dare you not to make seal noises the first (or next) time you’re jumping on one.

What’s a nice girl like you doing with a sandbag like that? Warning: “sandbag cleans” (a fancy way of saying get the sandbag off the ground and onto your shoulder while having pageant chest) will give you naughty, naughty neck marks. Remember high school? That kind of neck marks. NEVER wear a tank top on sandbag clean days. And be prepared for people to roll your eyes when you say you got a naughty neck by throwing a sandbag around. Sure you did…

Attire. And, speaking of attire, be careful. You never know if you’ll be upside down, halfway sideways, hanging from a bar or crawling around on the floor. Running-type shorts with undies built in are a good thing since the danger of a flashing incident is reduced. Luckily, most people are concentrating too hard on their own workout to notice any potential wardrobe malfunctions anyway.

Yelling. Yes, there’s yelling. It’s 95% encouraging-you-can-do-it yelling, and most people forget that YOU CAN YELL BACK!  I’m not a yeller by any means, but one day I was doing lots of terrible things called burpees (throw yourself on the floor, do a pushup, jump up, repeat). The instructor, a nice man I call SuperDave, was next to me yelling at me in a very encouraging way. I finished my set, yelled right back at him, and went to cool down. I hadn’t planned it, but it definitely felt good.

Men. Yes, men tend to practice CrossFit. And what fine lads there are at a CrossFit establishment! It’s eye-candy-central. I’m so busy checking out the muscles on those manly menfolk that I don’t care if they’re watching me fall off a circus box or see me refuse to use anything but the pink kettlebells. Added bonus: it’s a rule that everyone has to know the name of everyone else in their class. What does this mean? Hot, muscley men are regularly introducing themselves to me as soon as I arrive. Hello, hotties.

Muscles. I want muscles, lots of ‘em. Don’t you? Yes, doing CrossFit gives you muscles – this is a good thing. Especially strapless dress muscles, which broadly means the group of muscles on show when you wear a strapless dress (back, chest, shoulders, arms). These muscles are especially attractive when they happen to be exercised routinely by CrossFit workouts. What woman doesn’t want gorgeous strapless dress muscles?

There’s been a recent mini-movement of Darden SYs to CrossFit Charlottesville, and if anything could be considered an MBA-type workout, this is it (friendly competition, timed exercises, defined goals and metrics, endlessly challenging, etc.). I still get nervous gym tummy before I go, but I’m always glad I went. I’m proud of my bruises (mostly from being naturally clumsy), love the post-workout feeling of accomplishment and even am coaxing my reluctant triceps to come out and show themselves. Oddly, I also want to eat better and run more so I’m better at CrossFit. It’s weird, but I’m going with it – and someone should call CrossFit St. Louis to warn them there’s a priss coming to town…