Thursday, October 18, 2012

Crossfit: It's not boring!

And it'll kick your ass a lot of the time...well, all the time if you're doing it right. In a good way. But you don't need me to go on about how it pushes you to new levels in terms of finding out what you are capable of, the things you learn about yourself, blah-di-blah. That is all true. But you can read that all over the web, go ahead and google "Crossfit," I'll wait.

See? It's been said in tons of places with way more eloquence than I ever could.

What? You didn't leave? Fine, lazybones, I'll explain how it actually works: Crossfitters meet in a "Box" not a gym. It is very basic and has only the type of equipment you use in the WODs (workout of the day). These would include pull-up bars, (with bands for those of us who are still no where near a real pull-up...YET) ropes, dumbbells, barbells, weighted balls, rings, back extension thingamabobs, mats for sit-ups, etc. They often have rowing machines, but no tread mills, stairmasters, aerobics room, weight machines, etc. This is because everyone works out as a group with a Trainer/Leader at designated times. You don't just come in when you want and workout alone. When you arrive you write your name on one of the big white boards that lists the WOD. Then, on your own,  you go through a 10-15 minute warm-up that at my Box includes three rounds of stretches, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats, back extensions, and  ring dips. Then the Trainer goes over the WOD in detail teaching form and answering questions before you begin. Once it starts, everybody is super encouraging of each other and the Trainer(s) walk around helping people with their form. Which is important as Crossfit incorporates a lot of Olympic-style lifting, which when done correctly is very safe and a great workout. But needs to be done right, in order to prevent injury. The WODs can last anywhere from 7 to 25 minutes, depending upon the day. And they are different every day, which to me, is the greatest part about it. Boredom is never an issue.

That said, I can say that it is not for everyone. My impression is if your number one goal for working out is looking good, not probably are not going to last that long. I could be wrong, but to push yourself enough to really do Crossfit right, I feel like your motives need to be a little more than vanity. Don't get me wrong, you'd be hard-pressed to find many in the Box who don't care about looking good. However, I think for most it is an awesome by-product of trying to get as functionally fit and strong as possible, not the goal in and of itself.

You see, in Crossfit there are no easy days. And there are no excuses. But even on the hardest days when I have had  to scale everything waaaaaaay down just to participate, by the end of the workout I know I did the best that I could do that day and that is all that matters. And during a period where I am really struggling with body image, this is a great lesson. I look around the room and there are all, and I mean ALL, shapes and sizes. From the perfect hard bodies to those who are...not. And everything in between. And some days the hardbodies are are on fire and other days the bigger folks are lifting more weight and some days those of us in the middle are kicking it. But the point is it doesn't matter at all how much we lift or how fast we run compared to each other. It's all about how can YOU perform against yourself?

On the other hand, seeing others further along in their goals is a huge incentive, and a big departure from regular gyms. I don't know about you, but when I used to go to regular gyms and would see the hard-bodies prancing about it...well, quite frankly, it depressed me. My gut reaction was, "Well, crap I'm never gonna look like that so why bother?" But now, in the Box, I am working out right alongside others and I hear and see how hard they are working and it inspires me. I see them doing something amazing and I think, "If I keep trying I will be able to do that!" I also know this because they tell me. More experienced Crossfitters are really open and encouraging and remind newbies, "Hey, when I started I couldn't do that either." And that is so very encouraging and makes all of my goals seem more realistic and attainable.

So those are my impressions so far. The folks at Treasure Coast Crossfit have been awesome and I really look forward to every workout. If you've been thinking of giving Crossfit a try I really recommend it. I've yet to meet a person who wouldn't benefit from it; from Teens to Grandmas. (I'm not kidding we have both in our Box.)

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