Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Your Grandma Could CrossFit

I know what you’re thinking, most likely it’s 1 of 2 things. Option 1: I have no idea what she just said, what the heck is CrossFit? Or Option 2: CrossFit is those crazy people on ESPN and I could never do that.

Guess what? I want to tell you all about CrossFit, rip away the unknowns and the myths and share the one fitness approach that has completely changed my world. The first, and most important, thing I will share is that I am by no means an expert here. This is my experience with CrossFit- and it may not be for everyone by preference, but I assure you, everyone can CrossFit! 

What is CrossFit? 
I will let the people of CrossFit tell you the official answer here  and in this great video: 

Yes, you’ll see a lot of really super fit people here. But if you watch closely, you’ll see people that look like every day folks to. Maybe someone like you or like me. For me, I define (loosely) CrossFit as a new challenge every time I set foot in the door. I’m not competing with anyone else, I’m pushing myself and supporting the others. To be better than yesterday, stronger than yesterday and more fit EVERY day. We run, we lift, we laugh, we encourage, we high five and we hug. Big sweaty goofy hugs. We cheer, we push, we yell, we cuss and we listen to music really loud. And even when I’m the very last person running in at the end of the workout’s run (if running is included that day), there is always someone there to say “great job”. I could never list out all of the exercises we do, because they vary daily, they vary by ability – all workouts are SCALABLE to what you can do today. 

Why I love it.
When I walked in, terrified, to my first day at “The Box” (CrossFit lingo for the gym you belong to) – I had only watched the videos of the “fittest” doing these things. However, I was driven by the need to do more, and be more in my fitness journey. I love running, but I was starting to get bored- and I didn’t like nautilus weights at the gym. A personal trainer, for the number of sessions I wanted to be able to have, was too expensive. This seemed like a good option to try.
I was met with paperwork and a walk around the box. AstroTurf field, iron lifting bars, weight plates and lots of things I’d really only seen at football training facilities. The warm-up that day was tougher than most of my regular workouts, and it was only 10 minutes long. I was hooked. I had joined by way of a Groupon, to get a good, long trial. I gave myself the gift of sticking it out for 1 month to really get a feel for it. We would do things like bench presses, but I couldn’t lift the bar (45 lbs). So, I started out with 15 lb dumbbells in each hand. I couldn’t do full pushups, so I did them on my knees. All the while, I had a coach to push me, instruct me and correct my form. Personal training in a group setting – this was for me.

The single best thing CrossFit has given me so far? The ability to LOVE my body exactly as it is right NOW. That doesn’t mean it is perfect, it doesn’t mean I don’t have bad body image days- but I know that I’m working hard to improve and a little more every day I view my workouts and my food as a way to fuel my progress. 

The Basics
Every day has a similar structure – group warm up, review of the WOD (Workout of the Day), then usually a skill focus (core, strength, etc). The warm up usually lasts about 10 minutes, then the WOD can last anywhere from only 10 minutes to a full 45 minutes. Either way, you’re leaving it all out on the floor to the best of your ability. You’ve never sweat like this before! 
Example of a typical WOD, with modification levels

The Progress
I’ve been crossfitting for just under a year now. Remember how I said my first bench presses were with 2 15 lb weights? I bench press 100 lbs now. That’s the bar plus 55lbs. I have done a max deadlift (picking up a weighted bar from the ground to standing straight) at 225 lbs. These aren’t bragging rights, yet I’m proud. This is progress. I’m faster, I’m stronger and I feel better than I have in a very long time. This past Sunday, I competed in my first CrossFit competition – put on by my CrossFit box – Church of Iron. I did 3 of the 4 workouts that day. I definitely was not in it to win it- but I held my own and had moments where I felt so accomplished! 
WOD #3 at the CrossFit Competition (5/19/13), 10-to-1 Ground to Overhead with 80#, 40 yd sprints between sets

The Last Word
Do not let the amazing physiques of seasoned CrossFitters scare you away from trying some of the most fun you can have with fitness. I wasn’t lying when I said your Grandma could do CrossFit. They do it all the time!

If you want to amaze yourself, push yourself and gain new friends, give it a shot! I’ll invite any of you to come take a class with me! Still not sure? Feel free to message me with any questions you don’t want to post publicly!

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