Sunday, May 19, 2013

CrossFit Cult?

In December of 2012 I ran a half marathon. So some this may not be a very big deal. To others it may sound impossible. To me, it seemed highly unlikely. But my training for and completion of the half gave me a renewed sense of athleticism. A new sense of, “Hey, I can do stuff that’s not easy.” It helped me physically, mentally, and emotionally. In fact, when I stopped running after the half, I started to feel pretty antsy, sad, and unmotivated.

I made really simple New Year’s resolutions this year—in hopes that I wouldn’t fail to stick with them. Simple but specific. One was to try CrossFit for a month. I know what you are thinking, that’s a month, not a year. But a new CrossFit gym opened up near by and the first month was half off--a great incentive. There was even a free first workout. So I tried it. And I got hooked. And it’s now 5 months later and I still do CrossFit about 4 times a week. I did have to take a break from the gym while I did field work in VA and NC. But amazingly, I stuck with it and did it at home for a month. To me that’s almost more impressive.

Prior to CrossFit I didn’t strength train. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to do it at all. I didn’t have the equipment. I didn’t know what equipment to use. I didn’t know how many sets and reps and how much weight. Planks looked horribly boring. And I couldn’t do a push up. Unless it was on my knees. And I didn't want to dance around my living room like an idiot watching a video.

I know there are a lot of people who love CrossFit and a lot who think it’s a fad or dangerous or a cult of some kind. Well if it is a cult, I’m enjoying being part of it. When I walked into the gym I was immediately humbled. I thought I was in decent shape—'ve played soccer most of my life and I run--but every workout kicked my butt. I was more sore than I have ever been in my life. I was scared of the barbells and weight plates. And most of the athletes I work out with are much better than I am. At first this was difficult, but I tried to remain focused my individual improvements.
Every workout still kicks my butt, but I’m not as sore. I can now do regular push-ups. Not a ton of them, but 5-10 with good form. And I can get through a workout that calls for 100-200 non-consecutive sets of push-ups. Since the end of January, my back squat has improved by about 35lbs. My deadlift by about 30lbs. Even my overhead press (my worst lift!) has improved by 10lbs. This may not mean much to the average person, but to me, this is proof that it’s working. Proof that I am improving and getting stronger—which makes me more confident.

CrossFit has taken the guess work out of exercise for me. I have trainers that create the workouts and they are always different. Yes, it is expensive, but you get more than just access to a gym. You have access to trainers and a support system. People know each other and share information, successes, and motivation with each other. And let’s be honest, I’m not paying all that money to go once a week—I get my butt to the gym at least 4 times a week. And I am always happy when I walk back out of the gym. It’s so simple. Show up, get a great workout, and see results.

Health and fitness take work. These workouts push my physical and mental limits. All I want to do is stop—to drop the barbell. But there are people around me pushing through and still working hard. So you learn to push yourself, knowing that in the end you will be very happy that you did. Seemingly impossible things become possible. And that feeling begins to expand out into your everyday life—which for me, really makes all the hard work worth it.

1 comment:

Kristin Ward said...

Great way to end this post.