“What is CrossFit?”
My roommate at the time did a handstand against the wall of our meagerly decorated apartment and started lowering her head to the ground just to explode back up into a handstand. I just stared at her. First off, it looked crazy. Second off, I didn’t think she was strong enough to do that.
But then she kept doing it over and over again. Explode, back down, explode, back down, explode, back down. I don’t remember how many she did, but eventually, she brought her feet back down to Earth. To my surprise, she didn’t bring her head back down to Earth either. Before even catching her breath again, she was off doing squats. She was sweating, breathing hard, and not taking breaks.
“What are you doing?” I inquired again.
Well, she’s officially lost it, I reasoned to myself as I sat down and started on a set of sit-ups.
After a few minutes and a few more rounds of strange movements and workouts, she laid on the floor, starfish style, breathing heavy and sweating hard.
“What is CrossFit?”
On her stomach now, staring at me, she responded simply that it’s a lot of different workouts.
“Like track?” remembering my high school glory days.
“Kind of, but you do a lot of running and weightlifting and other things. You’re like an athlete at everything.”
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit defines itself as “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” Let’s break that down:
- Constantly varied: It is always changing. Some days, we just do weightlifting. Other days, we do laundry-list workouts with a variety of movements for time.
- Functional movements: It uses movements that are vital to life (i.e. squats)
- High intensity: It is essential for results, and measurable.
Additionally, the aim of CrossFit is to “forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness supported by measurable, observable and repeatable results.” It is meant to prepare the athlete for anything, “not only for the unknown but also the unknowable.” CrossFit’s specialty is not specializing, meaning it doesn’t limit itself to one specific thing (like weight-lifting or swimming), but strives to be well-rounded.
New To CrossFit?
CrossFit confused the heck out of me when I first heard about it. But about a year and a half after watching my crazy roommate, I started doing CrossFit workouts at our school gym with my then-boyfriend. After almost a year of that, my now-husband and I joined our own CrossFit gym, and we are never going back.
Being new to CrossFit, it can seem kind of intimidating. It was for me when I first started! Walking into the gym for the first time with all the other crazies made me feel out of place. But there are things that I learned and noticed that I wanted to share with you too.
You are Joining a Family:
CrossFit is not like other gyms where it kind of feels like a dog-eat-dog world where you have to fend for yourself. In CrossFit, everyone is improving, and everyone is happy that you are there. CrossFit is one of the only places where the loudest cheers are for the last one to finish. Everyone gives their best.
You Have Access to Trainers:
CrossFit trainers are awesome. I’ve liked every trainer I’ve had, and they are well-experienced and trained to help you. They are approachable, more than happy to help, and they want everyone to succeed, push themselves, and have fun. In addition, some boxes have nutrition or rehabilitation classes and resources you have access to.
The Workouts Are Doable:
You may feel intimidated by some of the workouts posted that they do. However, CrossFit is designed to fit all types of athletes at all fitness levels. If you can’t do a pull-up or a handstand push-up, there are ways you can scale it to fit your level.
You Will Be Sore:
Just stock up on protein drinks, especially during your first few weeks! And get used to drinking them right after workouts. You will be doing new exercises harder than you’ve exercised before, and it will take some getting used to. But there is nothing more satisfying than that muscle soreness you feel at the end of doing a hard workout. And don’t worry, your body will catch up and handle it better over time.
You Will Surprise Yourself:
The first thing that will surprise you is how unathletic you are compared to how you thought you were. These workouts are designed to kick your butt (in the best possible way, of course). The second thing that will surprise you about a week or two later is that you are more athletic than you thought. You will be doing lifts and movements that you might never have thought you could do before. And it feels awesome.
Get Used to Sweat:
I would occasionally sweat during or after workouts before I joined CrossFit. Overall, I was pretty dry when I’d leave, no matter how hard I felt like I tried. But within my first month or two of CrossFit, I noticed I’d leave sweating every day, and have to wipe my face almost all the time. It feels awesome because of how hard you are working.
The Cost is Worth It:
I put off joining CrossFit for a while because I didn’t feel like I could justify spending that much money on a gym when I had free access to my university’s gym, and when other monthly gym memberships were a lot cheaper. However, after my husband convinced me to join CrossFit, I quickly realized that you get an incredible amount for what you pay. Access to trainers, classes, workouts, a community. I get an amazing workout every day, and I see the improvements. And, I would like to point out that it is an investment in your long-term health. You either pay the money now to prevent poor health, or you’ll be paying money in hospital bills later. CrossFit is definitely more fun than hospital visits for health issues 😉
Honestly, CrossFit is just the best. It’s the most well-rounded way to workout I’ve ever found, and it’s an easy way to stay fit and athletic. It’s fun, it pushes you, and it feels so good.
I love this article by CrossFit Karma, “What I Wish Non-CrossFit Girls Knew,” which helps explain CrossFit to women who are unsure about it.
But all-in-all, just try it out for a couple months and see if it is the right direction for you.
You won’t regret it!