Hi friends! Today I have something a little different lined up for you guys. You may remember hearing about my friend Catrina, oh, I don’t know, maybe a time or two 😉 She is one of my best friends from college, and we have a lot in common fitness-wise. She recently started doing CrossFit, and I had so many questions for her that I thought it would make more sense if she wrote everything down so I could share it with you guys too. Here she is!
Chels and I love to discuss working out and eating healthy, and after we participated in OutRun during my last visit to DC, she asked me about my experience with CrossFit. I guess I should start by explaining how a girl who absolutely hated running and never lifted a weight heavier than 15 lbs even got involved with CrossFit.
It all began when I moved to a new town (Astoria, NY) and thus didn’t have a gym membership. Instead of signing up for my local gym (I was so bored of the damn elliptical it brought me to tears) I looked on Groupon for some deals. I saw one for CrossFit and- voila! The rest is history.
I have to admit when I started CrossFit back in October I was a little cocky. I thought I was in shape and I thought, yeah no biggie I can do this. Well let’s just say I hugely underestimated what it would take. At the same time, I also underestimated how much I’d love it!! Six months later and I can truly say I’ve never been bored in or dreaded going to a CrossFit class, which is the polar opposite of how I used to feel about the gym. The coaches are awesome, the people are great, and the way each class is set up keeps you on your toes every single day.
Typical classes at my CrossFit gym (or box, as it is called) are set up like so:
- Warm-up: Can be as simple as 10 minutes of stretching, or can be as intense as a 1.75 mile run
- Skill: Focuses on one movement or skill (e.g., pull-ups, handstand pushups, deadlifts) either teaching you “how-to” or completing a focused workout
- WOD: this is literally the “Workout Of the Day” and changes every single day so you never know what to expect
The thing about CrossFit is that there is no way to predict what you’re going to see on that board when you walk in. There are days where I am exhausted from work, walk in to see a HELL of a WOD, and then I just have to suck it up and do it. Other days I go in expecting the worst, and it ends up being fairly easy. Because you have no control over your workout (to a certain extent, because obviously you only go as hard as you push yourself), it takes the monotony out of exercising, and adds a fun element of surprise!
Here are a few examples of classes I’ve taken recently:
If I had to pick the best thing about CrossFit, personally I’d say it’s that it makes you do things you never thought you could do. If you asked me October 1st how many push-ups I could do, for example, I’d probably say 30 and then I’d have to go to the modified version with my knees on the ground for maybe ten more. Now if I saw 30 push-ups in a WOD I’d thank the heavens for an “easy” WOD. Like really, I think 30 pushups is easy…who am I?! Also, pull-ups…what-ups? No thank you! But now, I did 120 in a WOD the other day, which was deathly, but still I survived! Please note I use small resistance bands for pull-ups; I’m not that much of a pro.
Last but not least, I RUN NOW! Prior to starting CrossFit I honestly could not run a mile without stopping to walk in the middle when I inevitably felt out of breath and in a near-death-like-state. I don’t necessarily consider myself a “runner,” but I now see 2 miles as no problem and can get to 3 if I push myself. I know this isn’t running a marathon or anything, but for me this is a HUGE accomplishment. It feels so good to look down at my RunKeeper App and see that I ran 3 miles at a 9 min mile pace because I truly never thought this was a possibility for me. Running still bores me so I’m working on that, but once I sort out how to be entertained while running, I have a feeling that 3 miles is gonna look a lot more like 5 or 6!
Obviously I now feel stronger than I ever did, but I can also physically see a difference, which is cool. This may not sound appealing, because realistically it bugged me at first, but I have a hard time fitting in my older shirts because my shoulders and arm muscles are so much bigger now. As a 20-something living in NY, I felt trained to believe that the thinner/smaller you are the better, so at first I was a little bummed about this tightness across my back/chest, but now I totally embrace it. Why!? Because it’s MUSCLE and I’m fit and this should NOT be considered a bad thing. It’s just different, and I know come summer when I put on all my tank-tops I’m not even going to have to worry about doing the “skinny arm” in photos because there ain’t no flab there anymore! (You know what I’m talking about…that nice pinch of skin we all get aka side arm fat, not cute). Also, you know how people always say if you do lunges and squats your butt will lift? My typical response was “um yeah right people, I was born wide,” but I actually can see a difference. Insert shocked face.
So that’s been my experience so far and now I need to start training a bit for the Spartan Race I have June 7th. Please wish me luck because I am so nervous!!!
Good luck, Treen!! You’re going to do so awesome and will be able to put all of your brand new muscles to work 😉 Thank you so much for sharing your CrossFit experiences with us! If anyone has any questions for Catrina, please leave them in the comments below. She may chime in and answer them for you, but if not I will make sure she sees them.
Now I’m off to go hunt for CrossFit deals on Groupon…
Question of the day: Have you ever tried CrossFit?