I am often asked what I do to keep in shape. From the nurses I work with, to random people in the grocery store, to strangers in restaurants–and I always begin with mentioning crossfit.
Some people gasp when they hear that word–crossfit. These people have heard about the negative connotations that comes along with intense physical activity and believe it to be true for the whole spectrum of the sport– “Isn’t that dangerous?” “Can’t you go into kidney failure with workouts like that?” “My friend has a friend who broke both ankles doing crossfit!”
1. Crossfit is not dangerous. Saying crossfit is dangerous is the same as saying going to the gym is dangerous. There are dangers at the gym, at ANY gym–but if you are smart you will avoid them. You know when your body is very fatigued you should put the weight down, otherwise that weight you were using to shoulder press could end up hitting you on the head! Likewise, in a crossfit gym is no different– you put the barbell down when you need a break. Everyone does it. You slow down your pace when you need to –smart coaches will have no problem with your rest. If you are even unsure about a movement, you have coaches there to help. You should never be put into the position in which you feel like you HAVE to do something you are uncomfortable with.
2. You will walk in intimidated. It’s impossible not to. Crossfit incorporates many different elements of fitness, even an advanced athlete probably hasn’t seen or attempted many of the movements you will be exposed to.
3. You will soon realize there was no reason to be intimidated in the first place. Although these movements are new and foreign, your coach has many different variations to scale them down for you and your individual abilities. You will be pleasantly surprised that no one will be judging you for performing the scaled version of the movements, in fact, you will be surrounded by other members of the gym doing the same thing. This brings me to my next point:
4. Crossfit is for everyone, and ANYONE. Skinny, fit, fat, young, old, purple, anyone. There will be no variation of a movement that someone cannot do. Your coach will find you an alternative movement for anything you have difficulties with.
5. There is a lingo you will have to become familiar with–crossfit jargon, if you will. It is as simple as abbreviations, but will throw you for a loop for the first few classes. The “Box” is the gym, any crossfit gym is referred to as a crossfit box. The “WOD” you will see on a daily basis–this is the “workout of the day” aka. the workout, either your best friend or your worst enemy that day. “AMRAP” means “as many rounds(or reps) as possible” this is a type of workout that has a time cap and you need to perform the workout until the time cap is over.
6. You will realize how unfit you actually are. The workouts are circuit training style, they are high intensity— they are tough. They will take all that you have mentally and physically. At the end of the workout, you will feel out of shape, winded, with sweat dripping from places you didn’t think you were supposed to sweat from. BUT, this feeling will NOT make you feel insecure—you will look around the gym and see your entire class rolling around on the ground, panting, trying to catch their breath. Even the guy you saw at the beginning of class with the 6-pack abs you thought was capable of doing it all– curled over in tripod position. This feeling will leave you inspired. This sucks for everyone, not just you, and now you’re once workout closer to being better, being stronger, being leaner, you name it!
7. Each class you will dive a little deeper out of your comfort zone. You will push yourself a little harder to complete the workout. You will realize what your body is capable of doing, even when you are tired and out of breath.
8. You will be sore–mostly in the muscles you didn’t even know you had. This will be especially true for the first two weeks. Don’t plan on any hot dates that involve stairs for those weeks. The soreness will subside and you’re body will become more tolerant.
9. You will be lifting weights. A big part of crossfit is weight lifting, which is mixed with cardiovascular endurance and gymnastics. If you are someone like me, you have never touched a barbell in your life before stepping into a crossfit class. This will be a little odd and scary at first, but as soon as you lift that bar–the bar that has a total of maybe 25 lbs your coach loaded for you in your “Introduction” class– you will feel remarkably bad ass. You’ll soon realize that weight lifting can be fun and enjoyable. You quickly go from that measly 25 pounds to 95 pounds with no worries. This brings me to my next point:
10. Weight lifting WILL NOT make you “bulky” or make you sprout “bodybuilder style” muscles– your biceps will not have biceps or their own. Like I’ve mention in posts before, if that’s the style you are going for –you have to WORK for that. You need to consistently lift heavy weights and eat the right diet–not saying that you can’t get muscular from crossfit, but doing crossfit alone isn’t going to provide you will the muscles on muscles result– it will provide you with a leaner, more defined look. High Intensity workouts are good for helping you shed stubborn fat.
11. You will talk about crossfit. You will find yourself at work or at coffee with a friend and you will inadvertently slip a crossfit remark or reference in. Most stories will begin after someone complains about being tired, “You think you’re tired? My workout this morning had 75 squats in it!” Embrace it, talk it up, and invite your friends with you next time 🙂 Let them get a first hand view of what you are talking about!
12. You will have an entirely new group of friends— this is especially true if you attend the same class every day due to your work schedule. You will see the same people, sweat with the same people, and lay on the ground in mild agony post-workout with the same people. They will get to know you, and you will get to know them. These are the best friends to have if you are transitioning into a healthier lifestyle–swap recipes, workouts, and clothing recommendations!
Most of all, you will have fun. All while becoming a healthier and a more fit YOU.