Crazy for Crossfit

28 Jun

These days I’m a girly girl with callouses on my hands. I’ve gotten those rough bad boys from gripping the pull-up bar, weights, and kettlebells at my local Crossfit gym. It’s a strength and conditioning program used by police academies and military special operations units. I know— when I heard that description I was terrified, but I’ve heard so many good things about it that I just had to give it a try. I went to a free trial class in my neighborhood a few months ago and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Instead of the rows of treadmills and weight machines that you’d see at a typical gym, this workout takes place is a large garage (that Crossfit folks refer to as a “box”) and surprisingly uses minimal equipment. There are pull-up bars, gymnastic rings, ropes to climb, wooden boxes to jump over, kettle bells, a stack of weights and a few rowing machines.

Every morning, there’s a new Workout of the Day (also known as a WOD). Sometimes a WOD just includes lifting weights for a certain amount of sets, in which you try to increase the amount of weight you lift each time. In other instances it can involve doing moves that use your own body weight (like sit ups). Some WODs include cardio elements (like running around the block or using the rowing machine) and often, a WOD, will include all of these elements at once. The WODs are repeated every so often and your goal is to improve the amount of weight you lifted, number of reps you completed, or how quickly you finished the workout.

This is where I am at 6 a.m.!

Even though I have no upper body strength and admit that I don’t really enjoy lifting weights (I’m a cardio girl!), I’ve been getting out of bed a few mornings a week to head to Crossfit. There are a few reasons why I find this so fun:

The WODs are surprisingly short. In my experience, they have lasted anywhere from 5 minutes to 25 minutes. I keep telling myself that I can do anything for that short amount of time and I haven’t had to cut a WOD short yet. The rest of the hour-long class is spent on warming up, stretching, and learning skills that we may need for future WODs.

The moves can be modified for any skill level. There are just some moves that I can’t do yet, so the coaches help me modify them so that I can slowly improve. For example, I can’t do a pull-up on my own, so I use a huge rubber band to assist me. Like this:

There’s variety. When I show up each morning there’s a new WOD. It’s good for my body because I’m always working different muscles and it’s good for my mind because I don’t have a chance to get bored.

I’m only competing against myself. That’s the same thing I love about training for marathons and triathlons. I avoided team sports for years because I’m not a natural athlete and was always afraid of letting my teammates down. At Crossfit, I keep a notebook where I list past workouts and how I preformed so I can use that to base future workouts off of. I recently moved from doing those pull-ups with a thick green band to a smaller blue band, which means I’m getting a bit stronger, and I had an extra boost of confidence for days after that little victory.

There’s still a “team” vibe. There are a few times when I’ve been the last person to finish the WOD and the rest of the athletes there have cheered for me and stayed until I finished. When I advanced from lifting the 15-lb bar to the 33-lb one, I got a bunch of high-fives that day.

I still don’t have rippling muscles and I struggle with some moves that seem easy (I’m looking at you, overhead squat!), but I can tell I’m improving. Coaches have commented that my form is getting better, I feel stronger, and I’ve caught glimpses of little muscles I never knew I had before. I still have a long way to go, but I’m looking forward to it.

Have you tried any workouts that used to intimidate you?


2 Responses to “Crazy for Crossfit”

  1. September 12, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on
    a totally different subject but it has pretty much the
    same page layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!


  1. Getting Ready to GORUCK | The Power Puff Chronicles - March 3, 2013

    […] the past three Saturdays, I’ve been meeting my fellow GoRuckers from Crossfit Queens at the Astoria Park track for practices. Coach Andy has been leading us through sessions involving […]

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