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!
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.
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.