Hey party people! I have wanted to write a blog post that centered more on the other aspect of my fitness relationship: CrossFit. I’ll start with my background in relation to this oh-so wonderfully obsessive hobby.
I remember when a friend of my husband’s suggested that we try CrossFit. We gave him a look that screamed how dare you suggest something so stupid? After all, CF was for people who didn’t know how to lift weights properly. Crossfitters were always getting injured. They didn’t care at all about form, but rather they just wanted to write up a good score. Have you noticed how I’m writing in past tense? Well.. our friend finally dragged us to his box, and I got my rear handed to me. It was awful! I felt like I didn’t even know what a gym was. I cannot recall the specific WOD (workout of the day), but I do recollect the feeling of inevitable death after the workout. I might be acting a tad dramatic, but HOLY CRAP this CrossFit stuff was tough.
Well, as you I’m sure you guessed, we apparently thought it was “fun.” I distinctly remember a conversation with my husband a few months into our CF adventure. He described the major difference between the atmosphere of box vs a regular gym perfectly. I’ll attempt to paraphrase (and probably butcher) it here: he stated that in a regular globo-gym, everyone has their headphones in. People are in there to get a serious workout (or at least look/act like they are) and are not there to support others or make friends who obviously have the same interests. He argued that regular lifting now seemed incredibly dull compared to the loud music, sweat, shirt-ripping-off, atmosphere you encounter in a CrossFit gym. I agreed.
We were obviously hooked. I’ve done four local competitions now. CrossFit has a way of doing this to people; it is similar to a cult mentality, but man oh man do we LOVE it. And for good reason, too. I’ll go more into that later.
Anyway, we had been doing CF for about two and half years when I realized my obsession with the health and fitness spectrum was getting quite serious. I decided that it made sense for me to get my Level One (the basic certificate you can get to coach at a legitimate CF box). I completed the course and I now coach at my local gym. I am still working on a way to balance CrossFit with my bikini competition training, but I think that it will be a great way to add some conditioning!
Okay – that short background ended up being longer than I intended – my bad. Moving on:
Is CrossFit for you? When I tell people that I coach or do CF, I am often met with the same response: “I could never do that!”
THAT STATEMENT IS SO FALSE THAT I DON’T EVEN HAVE WORDS. Just kidding. I always have words 🙂 CrossFit is for everyone, and I’m going to explain why in just four reasons.
- Modifications/Scaling: A regular workout is generally programmed as “RX,” and this means that the workout has a specific weight, number of reps, etc. that should be performed. However, most people at our gym do not do RX workouts. They will scale or modify the workouts to meet their needs. For example, a common WOD in this community is called “Fran.” RX Fran calls for 21-15-9 of thrusters and pull ups. This means you would complete 21 thrusters, 21 pull ups, 15 thruster, 15 pull ups, 9 thrusters, and 9 pull ups. The score for this workout is the time in which it took you to complete. For RX, men would use a weight of 95 and women would use a weight of 65 for the thrusters. If you are a female who wants to do this workout but there is no way you can do thrusters at that weight, then all you have to do is lower the weight. You can do 15 pound thrusters for anyone at your box cares – as long as it is a good workout for YOU. Anything in these workouts can be shortened, scaled, changed, lightened, etc. according to whatever that particular person needs. Hell – you can do air squats if you can’t do thrusters! All anyone asks is that you do something that you find challenging as an individual.
- Community/Camaraderie: Okay guys.. I’m honestly not kidding when I say that CrossFitters have the most bomb social aspect to their gym. Seriously. Go drop in at a gym and you’ll see everyone high-fiving after a workout (there are some people who immediately run around after tough workouts high-fiving everyone. I’m like… laying on the floor dying. How do they do it?). I never tried to hit a PR at my regular gym and heard anyone cheering for me while I was stuck in the middle of my squat. It truly is that environment and those people that can push you to hit your personal bests. I’ve also made some awesome friends through CF. My gym had an intramural competition during the Open (a big national competition). It was an absolute blast! We completed workouts with most of the people from the gym gathered, cheering for you to PUSH HARDER! How can you not crush it in type of atmosphere?!
- Self-Confidence/Goals/Accomplishments: Before CF (and bikini competitions), I never had any clear goals in the gym. Look good naked? Idk. Once I started doing CF, I was able to start setting goals according to performance. I wanted to deadlift 220, squat 200, and clean 140. I didn’t give a flying hoot what I looked like during it. I think that this concept is especially important in our social media-obsessed world. Many women (and men) base their gym goals from what other people look like, and that is neither a positive nor achievable goal. CF allows you to set goals that are specifically tailored to the individual and based on specific, measurable numbers. It also provides you with an insane feeling of accomplishment when you finally do hit that goal. The day I back squatted 200? BEST. DAY. EVER.
- Lifestyle-Encouragement: I never realized this until I obtained my Level 1, but CF is a “fitness-class” that honestly endorses fitness as a lifestyle choice rather than something you do because you feel guilty that you ate a whole pizza yesterday. That is how fitness should be. It isn’t something you can switch on and off or decide you’re into for a week and expect some crazy results. The CF community encourages consistency (PREACH) and solid nutrition with some freedom as its background. I specifically remember an instructor at my L1 saying something along the lines of (oh lordy, here I go trying to paraphrase again): Follow your nutrition plan, but not down to the minute detail where you miss out on life experiences. Don’t be so obsessive about hitting your nutrition numbers that you refuse to take part in Thanksgiving dinners or have a beer on the weekend.
CrossFit truly is for anyone. It encourages a community that will push you to be your best and still support you when you feel like giving up in the middle of a workout; it creates an environment of high expectations and good examples. You can’t find that at just any gym.