People always tell me they’re nervous to try yoga, or afraid to run, or hesitant to give November Project a shot. These are all things I adore and couldn’t imagine being intimidated by. But when you don’t know what to expect, it can be scary. That’s how I felt about crossfit.
To be honest, I went in with preconceived notions about it. I’m not a fan of some of their principles. My biggest issue is with how hard they push the paleo diet. Everybody knows I eat a carb-heavy diet. It’s what I like and what I eat to feel my best. I didn’t like the idea that a gym would guilt its members into going paleo. I believe in everything in moderation. That includes sugar and grains (unless you have a food allergy). If you want to eat paleo, go for it. But don’t tell me I’m doing something wrong by not eating paleo. Maybe not all crossfit gyms do this, but I do know paleo and crossfit generally go hand in hand.
A few months ago, a new girl joined our team at work. She was a swimmer at the collegiate level as well so we have a ton in common. While I love running and spinning, she loves crossfit. For months she tried to convince me to come to her “box” with her on Thursdays when you can bring a friend for free. I was really hesitant to go. Mostly because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m not very strong. Lifting anything more than 10 pounds is a lot for me. And I
can’t couldn’t (until I started going to CorePower) do a full push-up without being on my knees. Which is generally for pregnant women, according to a guy I work with who coaches crossfit (he may have been making fun of me, but it still made me nervous to try it).
When we were acquired by AOL, they started offering free yoga, barre, and crossfit classes during the workday at local studios. I started going to barre and yoga a few days a week but I resisted the crossfit until one of my coworkers went one day and I promised I’d go the next week. I’ve now been twice and I’m no longer afraid of it. It’s far from my favorite workout, but I’m doing it.
The first time I hated it and didn’t want to go back. I walked into the “box” and people were doing some sort of weird shoulder warm-up. Everyone looked like they knew what they were doing. Except me. When it was time to officially start, the coach (who I was very intimidated by) announced we were playing dodgeball to warm up. I’m afraid of getting hit by the ball. That’s why I stuck to swimming and running. Needless to say, I was one of the first people out and then stood there on the sidelines waiting for the game to be over.
My biggest complaint about that first day was the amount of standing you did. If the workout is only 45 minutes long, I want to be going balls-to-the-wall for all 45 minutes. I don’t want to stand there for 10 minutes waiting for the dodgeball game to end before we start the workout. From there, we did a partner WOD (workout of the day). I also hated this because of the waiting. Each exercise had 50 total reps, but you only did 25 of them and your partner did the other 25. We did this two times through. While your partner was doing their workout, you rested. So you rested for half the time. We played pass with a weighted medicine ball, did burpees, lunges, squats, bicep curls, shoulder presses with dumbells, and my least favorite part- the piggyback rides. The piggyback rides scared me the most. In my head I thought to myself, “there is NO WAY IN HELL that I can carry someone that weighs as much as I do across the room and back.” I was also afraid of crushing the girl who had to carry me. I did it though, so that was a proud moment.
All in all, the workout was 20 minutes long which meant I only worked out for 10 minutes. I’m not a coach or a professional, but I have a hard time believing that you can get just as good of a workout in in 10 minutes as you can in an hour.
The second week was much better. It was a running workout with kettlebells mixed in. We did 25 reps of each exercise (I don’t remember what they were but the usual swings, squats, etc.) with a 1/4 mile run between each one. The goal was to do as many rounds as possible. I almost asked to substitute the running with rowing, which was the alternative for the only pregnant woman in the class, but I was afraid the coach would think I was just being “weak” and didn’t want to run. Stupid, I know. Luckily I felt okay to keep going. In total, I ran just over a mile and a half. The instructor tried to tell me the weight I was lifting was too light (25 pounds–> practically the most I’ve ever lifted in my life) but it felt plenty hard to me. I did well on the running though; everyone just caught up to me on the strength portions. ;)
Overall, I’m not a crossfit lover. I don’t like the rough vibe which I know is part of the culture. I will never get on board with the paleo diet. The coaches are definitely not the warmest or most welcoming people I’ve ever met. And I don’t like the “suck less” signage. I know my limits and I know when to push myself and when to hold back. I got the impression that they want you to push you to failure. Again, maybe that’s just my perception or just this one “box.” I’m just one person who is more comfortable running.
The biggest lesson I’ve taken out of crossfit is that I’m stronger than I think. And that makes these weekly classes worth it. You won’t find me joining a crossfit box and doing WODs every day anytime soon, but I will be going every Friday to continue pushing past that discomfort. If nothing else, I’m growing mentally and physically stronger, as well as building relationships. I’m glad I gave crossfit a chance rather than continuing to assume things (you know what they say about assuming…) that may or may not be true. Who knows… maybe I’ll learn to love it over the next few months and I’ll have an entirely different post about it.
Are you a crossfit fan?
Have you ever been intimidated to try a new workout?