Monday, October 8, 2012

CrossFit & Me

I've been writing this post in my head for sometime now, thinking of new things I want to add to it every time something pops into my head, which is pretty much every night as I workout. It's been almost three months of CrossFitting at Captain CrossFit and I love it, and I wanted to talk a bit more about it with all of you.

A couple of things though, before I get into my experience. I've received a few comments that CrossFit is expensive. Yes, it definitely is. In my gym's case though, it's like having a daily personal training session and tons of motivation in a team atmosphere, so it's worth it to me. I know going to a CrossFit gym (or box as they're called) isn't in everyone's budget, but if you're interested, be sure to check with your local CF gym. They most likely offer discounts to students, teachers, First Responders (police, ambulance, fire, etc.), military, and may even work with you if you aren't able to afford it. So even if you're like, "Okay, great. Sounds awesome but too bad I can't afford it!" please pop in and check it out. You may be surprised. And further more, you can do so many "CrossFit-style" workouts at home! I'm not a fitness professional by any means, so I won't post any workouts here, but google your heart out and see what's out there. Don't be deterred by doing fitness of any kind because of the price. All you really need is a space to move around, and you're set. And with that said, CrossFit might not be for you. It's what I enjoy, and what I feel like works for me, but there are a million other ways to be as healthy as you can be, it just takes trying them out and finding what works for you!

With that said, CrossFit by definition:

"...a strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement," with the stated goal of improving fitness (and therefore general physical preparedness), which it defines as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains." Workouts are typically short—20 minutes or less—and intense, demanding all-out physical exertion. They combine movements such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, flipping tires, weightlifting, and carrying odd objects; they use barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, kettlebells, medicine balls, boxes for box jumps, and many bodyweight exercises. These elements are mixed in numerous combinations to form prescribed "Workouts of the Day" or "WODs". Hour-long classes at affiliated gyms, or "boxes," typically include a warm-up, a skill development segment, the high-intensity WOD, and a period of individual or group stretching. Performance on each WOD is often scored and/or ranked to encourage competition and to track individual progress. Some affiliates offer additional classes, such as Olympic weightlifting, which are not centered around a WOD."

So for those who might not have understood what CrossFit is, that's it in a nutshell. A typical day at my CrossFit box is as follows:

-arrive around 4:15pm for my 4:30 class
-sign Henry into the childcare (this is in a huge area right in the middle of the gym so I can see him/watch him at all times- I love it)
-check out the white board to see what the "workout of the day" (WOD) is
-do some stretching, mobility, cheer on the 3:30 class as they finish their workout
-4:30 class begins with a little pow wow to go over the day's objective
-we do a group warm up, usually running 800m or rowing, stretching, mobility, etc.
-we then do a strength move- work on an Olympic power lifting move, find a rep max, or do volume training. Some days we may do 5 sets of 8 back squats or another day find out 3rm for power cleans. It's always changing.
-following the strength portion our trainer goes over the WOD in detail, then we begin. The WOD is usually timed or an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), and it's usually super challenging.
-after we finish we write our score/time on the board, cheer each other on, stretch and we're done!

So that's a typical day broken down for you. During the week we have regular WODs M-Th and then usually have partner WODs on Fridays, which is fun because Hank and I usually do a mini "date night workout" and it's fun to complete the WOD together. On the weekends we have classes on both Saturday and Sunday, and both days are usually insanely hard. Our space is huge (15,000 square feet!) and we're actually the world's largest CrossFit gym. I feel lucky to go to the Captain CrossFit and here's a fun fact: it was actually built and designed by CF's founders!

Tonight! #crossfit

There's so much to say about my experience here, and while you read keep in mind that I am still new to this- I talked a bit about it right after I began going to Captain, but right after that first class I knew it was for me. I was raised playing sports, and this has that same feeling to it. I've honestly never been in a more encouraging place. We're all at such different places in our fitness- some of the people can deadlift 500 lbs, some people use the PVC pipe because they're still perfecting their form. We have women and men (and kids too for our Kids CrossFit classes) of all ages, backgrounds, and professions. But we're unified because for one hour a day, we're all in there killing it. It's extremely motivating and at least at the box I go to, very community and family-oriented.

It's weird to me to be at a place in my fitness where I'm not looks-based. Sure I still want to look my best, but for so many years I'd spend hours and hours on cardio machines, in the weight room, and I never really saw the kind of change I wanted to see. Sure, I looked fairly fit, but I was focused on being skinny, and although I am short and do have a small frame, by nature I am athletically built and muscular. I've always loved working out, and although I dealt with some body image issues in college, for the past 8 or 9 years I was able to get past all of that and get to a place where exercise was my release and something I looked forward to everyday. But it got boring. Going to the Y and running on the treadmill, cruising on the elliptical, doing the same exercises in the weight room (even when I'd mix it up)...for me this stopped being fun. But I knew the mental, physical, and heck, even spiritual benefits outweighed my occasional boredom so I still went daily, and besides that boredom for the most part I always enjoyed it.

Then one by one my girlfriends started going to CrossFit, either down in the Valley or Em out in NY. They'd tell me constantly how much I'd love it, and like I talked about in Lydia Mag, it was just so scary to try something so new. But I did it, and here I am, 3 months later. Coming from a fitness, dance, and sports background many of the moves aren't foreign to me, although learning to do Olympic Lifting is all brand new (and I love it!), but any CF box will start you from day one learning all of the basics. If you're a seasoned fitness pro or totally new to working out, I believe that you will enjoy CrossFit.

One of the major complaints I've heard about CrossFit is that because the workouts are timed and in a competitive atmosphere, form can suffer. I can only speak for the gym I go to, but there is no way any of our trainers would allow us to do any move incorrectly. That's why we scale workouts, so we are able to still complete the workouts at a high intensity, but without our form suffering or causing injury. We focus so much on form in all things- from push ups to pull ups to doing overhead snatches! It all plays a part in the bigger picture, and in my experience at my gym and any of the other CFs I've visited, they've all taken time to break everything down and explain each move, even in the "advanced" classes.

Our Friday night! #crossfit @hank3 @yawney

Most of all though, I am so thankful that I finally listened to Emily and Autumn, and Shirley and Em. CrossFit has started this little fire inside of me. It's reawakened a passion for fitness and competition, for training and being a part of a team. It's made me 100x more confident in my own skin. It's made me stronger, faster, more fit, and it's also given me a great sense of pride and accomplishment. I have a release. It's given me a reason to give at least four high-fives everyday, and it's introduced me to people who have quickly become wonderful friends. It's given Hank and me another thing to mutually enjoy, and something we can do together. Most of all though, it's given me a reason to push past limits my mind sets for me. Towards the end of many of my workouts I have the urge to stop. The little voice in my head is saying things like "you've worked out so hard already, take it easy!" and it would be easy to put down the weights or stop running. But I don't. And I can't even tell you how good it feels to finish up my workouts every single night knowing that I gave it my damn all. I haven't had that sense of "me against myself" for some time, and it feels so good to be back at it, and to be kicking ass at doing something so good for myself.

Have you ever tried CrossFit? Have you thought about it? I'd love to hear about it. And speaking of comments, I'm working on getting the "reply" button back so hopefully that will be up and running soon. And before you go, be sure to watch the video below. Talk about inspiring! It's just been a few months for me, and these ladies get me excited to think about how I'll feel after doing this for a couple of years! So, so awesome.


  1. So glad you're loving your CF journey, Danielle!!

  2. Oh my gosh those girls are ripped! I'm so much like you Dani and love a good hard workout. It's seems like an awesome version of P90x in 30 mins. (Which I'm sure it's so different) but that's how it looks and sounds. Good for you for finding a new motivation. I can't wait to be able to get back into a killer workout! :)

  3. I've been hearing a lot about Crossfit and in dire need of switching up my current exercise routine. This post may be a calling in itself! I'll check out those prices :) Thanks for the detailed summary of what it entails. I like the sound of it!

    Cathy Trails

  4. Oh wow! I think i may look into it. Ive been trying to find some type of exercise to do to get me in shape and it looks like it's doing great for you!

  5. for a year or so before we moved to Taiwan, husband was going to crossfit 3-4 times a week. one of the coaches opened his own box in Longwood PA and they talked me into trying it and I LOVED it. [anyone in the Longwood area should check it out- my friend's name is Bryan] sadly though there isn't a box here in Hsinchu and I find it difficult to self-motivate for the DIY WODs. glad you are loving it and I also recommend giving crossfit a try to anyone here!

    ink + adventure

  6. I have always wanted to try Crossfit but I am always a little scared of it! you have inspired me to at least try it once!

  7. I started a group personal training place in May. It's called orange theory fitness and it's so addictive. I work out soooo much harder than when I do it myself

  8. We don't have CrossFit over here yet but the big craze where I am is Metafit, which is fantastic! Have you tried it? xx

  9. i know what you mean about being passionate, movtivated, team-work orientated and excited!! I started crossfit with my boyfriend here in Australia and the start of the year when we moved to a new city - and it's the best thing I've done all year!

    We've met awesome people, learnt new skills, got stronger, more confident and fit. Oh boy!! I even went on stage in a fitness model comp after training only at crossfit! Boy was I proud to represent my local crossfit box up on that stage!! :)

    thanks for sharing your story!

  10. I have been thinking about it lately just for something new to get excited about (I tend to lose my fitness motivation quickly). I still go to Hot yoga as that's my "workout" of choice.. but I'm interested in trying something new.
    I'm too scared to go though.
    When I go on my city's CF webpages.. I don't understand any of the terminology they have on there so it scares me..


  11. i love my crossfit! i love the group enviroment and how everyone is friends! by joining my crossfit, i gained a ton of friends! i love pushing myself to limits i never thought of before. crossfit is amazing.

  12. It's really great that you are encouraging women to be active in a way that motivates them mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You're right, it's insubstantial when it's just about being skinny - activity can be something that makes us feel good about ourselves and gives us confidence.

  13. Wow - great post! So you do this 7 days a week? Do you know if they have programs that are priced differently depending on how many days per week you can go?

  14. I've seen you mention CF a few times and so I asked my husband about it. He is at the gym every day and knows a lot about fitness so I figured he had heard of this program. Of course, he had. But he said that I probably couldn't do it right now. I am physically out of shape and get out of breath going up a flight of stairs! But I recently realized that I need to change. I have two young boys and want to be vibrant and happy and my best self for them. I started the 30-day shred workout and I'm hoping that it will kick start a new lifestyle of fitness for me. I am definitely interested in CF but it doesn't happen at our current gym. We would have to find a new gym. Either way, I'm looking into it. Sounds amazing!

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  16. I want to try it!!!! Need to have a wee look if there's any here in Lyon. I play basketball 4 times a week so not sure i'd have the energy BUT you make this sound so god darn exciting...and a little addictive!!
    I just wrote a post about how I think my competitiveness has changed over the sound like you are totally fulfilling yours with this?

    Louise xo

  17. I could not have said it better! I've been crossfitting with the hubs for 6 weeks now, and absolutely love everything about it (yes, even burpees, lol). Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to come up and visit!! Going to CCF is like the Disneyland of CrossFit! hehe

  18. Wow! I loved this!

    Even though I'm not a very competitive person, and I'm not a fan of working super hard, I loved reading this, it's super motivating how passionate you are about certain things.
    You always speak through the heart.

    I loved how the girls look, and your blog has motivated me when the last thing I wanted to do was to work out. I'm far away from my fitness goal (yeah, I'm kinda lazy, so I don't know if I'll ever get there... But hey! The goals will always be there!) haha
    Still, your post made me feel like I would like to try that out! Who knows! ;)

    By the way, you look amazing! It's apparent the difference in your figure since you've started cf.

  19. I crossfit too for about 4 months! I come from a non athetic backround and its been really exciting and motivating for me as well. Also I think overall its like 70% women and I see old ladies young ladies big and small so no one should feel that they aren't in shape enough to do it. They start you out easy in the intro classes and then you build up.

  20. this just got me so excited! i was supposed attend my first CF elements class on 9/12, but on 9/11 i injured my shoulder in a cycling accident (drivers- please share the road!). I've signed up to start on 10/24. I can't wait!

  21. I have been doing crossfit for 2 months now and I could not agree with you more. I have heard some of the same things: it's too expensive, the focus is on reps and not form, it's too competitive... With my gym as well, none of this is true. It is a fabulous, supportive, safe environment which plays on your own individual drive in combination with moral support. I only wish mine had a daycare area - then it would be Double awesome.

  22. My Dad is 50 this year and he's CrossFit MAD! My Brother has also be doing it for about a year now too. I lost 20kgs by myself over the last 9 months and needed something more so bit the bullet and did my foundations class last month. I can't imagine looking back. My trainers are awesome, enthusiastic and won't EVER let you sacrifice reps for form. Yes it's expensive but I go 3 times a week and have unlimited access to the box to do my own workouts which is great since i'm a shift worker. As for the last thing about it being competitive? Well, yeah, but even though people are really focused on their own work out and times, at the end of it (and even during) we all stand back and cheer for those who might be struggling. I can't imagine working out any other way and encourage anyone to at least try it.

    - Amber

  23. Glad to hear you are enjoying it... you def sound like you drank the Kool Aid!! I have been Cross Fitting for 2+ years and even did it pregnant... my last wod was 3 days before delivery!!!

  24. I've been talking to Natalie and am thinking of signing Scott and I up for the free class to see if we like it. I like that they have childcare, I love the group motivation and I love the training aspect of it also I would love to be able to work out with my husband.

  25. I keep reading about how expensive it is, but nobody (including the website for gyms in my area) is willing to really divulge the price. I understand that it is worth the price, but someone please be more specific !! :)


  26. Glad you shared your CF experiences with us. CF definitely has a different environment compared to a gym but the vibe you get from CF is worth the money. My time at the gym feels like I needed to become temporarily healthier. The CF scene made me realize this is for life. It's something that is second nature. My husband and I have been doing it for a few months now and I'm loving it.

  27. Hi Alyssa!
    That's so weird about the gym's not disclosing the price! I live over in Australia, and the one I go to has a staggered membership so - standard, bronze, silver etc. Each includes more and more so they go up in price. I pay $140 a month to attend 3 classes a week,get 10-15% off products and have open access to the gym (box). From what I can see, most of the sites over here have pricing so maybe you need to call them up and just let them know you're keen to take the next step but are just looking for pricing to see if its a viable option for you right now :)

    I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful, best of luck!

    - Amber

  28. This sounds intense! You go girl! I'm so glad you are enjoying your CrossFit. I had never even heard about them til I saw you mention it. It makes me want to start working out like right now haha.

  29. Danielle,

    As I'm writing this, I'm recovering from my first Cross Fit class. :) I read this post a few days ago and decided to try a free class at my local CF gym tonight. As soon as I walked into the box, I was felt more than welcome by the coaches AND other Cross Fitters who were excited to greet a new potential member. And of course, the workout was tough but energizing. I think I'm hooked! Thanks for sharing your experiences and motivating me to try something new!

  30. I wanna do this so bad! CF has always looked like tons of fun and I love the constantly changing activities. Are we gonna see some pics of your new guns?

  31. OMG that video is so motivational!

    I've been doing boxing for 1.5 year now but I am planning on trying CrossFit once I get bored of that!

  32. . As soon as My partner and i wandered in to the package, I had been sensed a lot more than delightful by the coaches Along with other Combination Installers have been enthusiastic to be able to introduce myself to a whole new potential new member. As well as, the particular work out has been tough yet refreshing. I think I'm connected! Thank you for discussing the activities and stimulating myself to use something totally new!

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