I want to talk to you for a moment about Crossfit….
As you know, this week marked my first week at the Crossfit box (“box” = gym/studio) I decided to join. I visited three boxes in the DC area and selected this one for a couple of different reasons. I’ll be visiting a few more over the next couple of months to give you all my impression as to what the CF scene is like for a complete and utter newbie, so stay tuned for that.
But for today, I just want to talk to you about Crossfit from my personal point of view.
First things first…I was and have been very skeptical about Crossfit. I’m skeptical about most things that are instantly popular, if not fad-ish, because when it comes to my fitness and well-being, I want a program/method that is meant to last. I was also skeptical about CrossFit because of articles like this one and others like it I found on the web. Yea, reading stuff like that made me think that Crossfit was one of the places where puking your guts out and injuring yourself was the expectation. Where safety and moderation in terms of technique and intensity were laughable and modifications of exercises were frowned upon.
Well…yea, I was wrong about that. Some things you really need to get out there and find out for yourself. So I started to research it a bit…found some articles like this…videos like this one.
More importantly I went to an intro class myself. Not just one…several at several different locations. They’re free for the initial session and were meant to be informative, so I went to find out more about what Crossfit was and was not. What I learned was…at its core, Crossfit is essentially about making people fit across several different modes/areas of fitness. It’s not about being really proficient in ONE area of fitness, but about being proficient across a variety of them. The folks I spoke with, both box members and box coaches basically echoed the same thing. Crossfit is about reaching the most optimal level of fitness for YOU. Yes, the WODs (workout of the day) are going to be tough…yep, you will be sore the next day…but you will progress and make strides every day. That is the point.
Of course within Crossfit there is also the competitive component as well. Some boxes have their own teams that compete at local, regional, and national Crossfit games. Some have individual members that compete. Some boxes may not be very competitive at all. But realistically, the only person you are competing against is yourself. It’s the same as when I run. I’m not worried about how fast the person next to me might be going, but I AM concentrating on how I’M doing. I am my fiercest competition and every time I get out there to run I remind myself of that and try to best myself. The same for Crossfit. Don’t get me wrong, it can be intimidating to see what some of these folks are able to do…but I consider it to be more inspirational and aspirational. I saw someone doing muscle ups on the gymnastic rings this week and it was like poetry in motion. I said to myself…I want to do that one day. And so I shall. But each day, the point is to strive to be the best YOU you can be.
Injuries…puking…and Uncle Rhabdo. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I am SUPER new to Crossfit. As in…just finishing up my foundations class new. As in…haven’t finished a full week new. BUT, let me tell you something about injuries…if you do dumb things, you WILL get hurt. Like running too hard/too far too quickly, not taking proper rest periods, not stretching…common things that happen to a lot of runners. Yet, for whatever reason we always try to run through the pain…don’t get me started on that one. But in Crossfit, you’re dealing with a lot of different kind of equipment and movements. Most of them include heavy weights. So…if your form SUCKS or if you are lifting TOO MUCH…you WILL get hurt. If you are pushing TOO HARD and not getting enough REST…you WILL get hurt. Puking? Well, that’s not my thing, but I have had a few intense workouts in my day where I almost puked…and promptly sat my ass down to collect myself so that I wouldn’t.
Then there’s this cult thing that is associated with Crossfit. Meet someone who does Crossfit and they will probably talk your ear off about its benefits and how it is so much better than just about anything else. Or about how Paleo is the only way to eat. Or about their latest time on a WOD or brag about their worst injury. Crossfitters have a reputation of being very cliquish, snobby, a bit crass, and well…assholes. Lol, I say all of this to say this…as someone who belongs to several exclusive groups (not all fitness related), you will find that same group/cult mentality there. It’s the nature of the group dynamic. You surround yourself with folks of a similar mindset and you will begin to think yourselves to be superior to others who are different. I can tell your off the top, you’d be wrong and a close minded idiot to fall into such thinking, but I’m sure you know that already. At the boxes I’ve visited and from the Crossfitters I’ve talked to and observed I can say that there is a level of camaraderie there. You would find the same kind of camaraderie on any sports team or in any running group. It’s a nature of the beast that is group/communal sports. If you don’t keep a balanced perspective, yes you will drink down ALL of the good Crossfit kool-aid…only to puke it up again after the daily WOD. *snicker*
Bottom line is this…Crossfit is another alternative to workout and get fit. Not saying it’s the best. Not saying it’s the only. It’s just another option. It might work for some, not so much for others. But you would have to decide for yourself if it is worth a try. Do the research, talk to other Crossfitters, visit your local boxes – and I say boxes plural because EACH ONE IS DIFFERENT…actually, sidenote:
Like most gyms/dance studios, each Crossfit box has a different feel and personality. More oft than not they are small spaces, which means you are in close quarters with others in your class/session. Which means you will at some point talk to them and get to know them. Which means at least on a basic level the personality of the box is driven by the people who go there. SO…when you are visiting a box…look, listen, and get a feel for the place. Arrive a little early to observe the class prior to your intro session or hang back after your intro session to observe the class after. Pay attention. Each box has its own objectives or approach to Crossfit and narrowing down the list helps out A LOT if you know what it is you are (and are NOT) looking for in a box.
But yea, do the research yourself. Don’t be swayed by the negative. Don’t drink the koolaid either. Just be cool boy. And on that note…