My Crossfit Journey – A Guest Post by Lindsey K.
“Hi, my name is Lindsey, and I am a Crossfit addict. I joined Crossfit to learn more about lifting and originally to ‘tone up, but what I learned is this: it doesn’t take much to get hooked… just a taste (and a week of being the sorest you have ever been.. IN. YOUR. ENTIRE. LIFE).
Here is a little Back-story: I used to consider myself ‘active’ in the respect that I worked out at least once a week.
At my peak, I was running three miles every day in an attempt to shake off some of my post-partum weight. I did lose weight, but I began getting interested in ‘toning up’. I lived on-base and had access to a gym and decided I was going to start my journey as a gym rat. I’d throw on some baggy shirt and loose pants and jog over to the gym. As I opened the doors to the endlessly crowded gym, the result was always the same anxiety stricken panic-attack. I’d wave to the clerk at the counter so SOMEONE could validate that I was trying.
I wanted to write a long-winded paragraph about my lack of finesse at the gym, but I’d like to break it down to this:
1. I only used weighted-machines, the elliptical and the treadmill
2. I HATED the gym – I had to force myself to go
3. I knew nothing about lifting and was too embarrassed to try
4. I didn’t like working out in front of people – no body-weight exercises for me, in the fear that someone might actually SEE me do a burpee… or eat it attempting a box jump.
5. Oh, and I had NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING…
We moved to Wilmington, NC for a while, and off of one of the main roads is a humble little Crossfit gym. When my husband was training for MARSOC (ie: Marine special forces) – he did a lot of Crossfit and Sealfit. Every so often, he’d have me workout with him and even 15 minutes kicked my butt! Seeing as we were so close to an actual gym, I suddenly found myself very interested in trying again. When I walked into the gym, I began feeling that ‘gym’ anxiety set in. I talked to Zeke, the owner of the gym, and he was very approachable and welcoming – he signed me up for a short ‘intro-class’ to make sure that this was something I was truly interested in.
On August 19, 2013, I came in and Zeke walked me through the warm-up and broke everything down for me. I remember the 7 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of wallballs, 50 meter farmer’s carries, and burpees… and I remember that voice in my head asking “what are you doing here??”. I questioned that for a while – and suddenly, time was called and the torture was over. Zeke had tracked how many rounds I did: four little tally’s next to my name on the wall. He smiled and gave me a sincere, “Good job,” followed by a high-five. He talked to me as I sat on the ground trying to catch my breath, telling me how I should remember this activity and that I should revisit it in a month. He told me I would double it. He continued, assuring me that if I kept at Crossfit for three months, I would see great changes and that my mindset about fitness would change. Boy, was he right! Here is what I have since experienced in my time as a Crossfitter:
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Crossfit: The Obsession
People call Crossfit a cult. People say the patrons are TOO much. People say a lot of things filled with mockery and negativity when it comes to Crossfit. The thing is, Crossfit is not something you can do partially – it’s 100% every time you go. Much like any other situation in which you want to improve: you can’t put in minimal work to get the results you want – and when it comes to ‘the sport’ of Crossfit, it’s you against yourself, and it truly does become part of who you are.
Everyone is fighting a hard battle
No matter your age, weight, background or situation, EVERYONE fights a hard battle. Someone who struggles to lose weight fights a battle, just as someone trying to put on weight – every situation is unique, and all deserve respect.
A typical class is made up of the same people every morning; you get to know them, their story, their personality, their quirks. Every morning, you join them on their struggle – probably the most challenging part of their day, and you are there. You are there, cheering them on, telling them “just one more, you are doing awesome!”
You are able to sympathize with feelings of falling short just as you are able to join them in moments of joy and triumph. To me, this is a big part of why I love Crossfit – being a part of someone’s journey. At our gym, every little success is a big deal. Completing your first unassisted pull-up is just as celebrated as someone doing ten.. or fifty! There is a mutual understanding that everyone is fighting a tough battle – and they are pushing themselves every day and that deserves respect.
The community also adds a certain enthusiasm to going and working hard. “Surround yourself with like-minded people” is a common suggestion for folks looking for success and having a bunch of ‘like-minded’ fitness enthusiasts definitely keeps you yearning for more! You can talk to them and they know EXACTLY how you feel and to what you are referring to and that makes the experience all the more enjoyable.
It’s you against yourself
This is one phrase that doing Crossfit has taught me. There are a lot of hateful claims that Crossfit is too competitive, but I will have to disagree. I have never seen anyone go head-to-head at Crossfit. When you do the WOD (workout of the day), you are doing it on your own (unless it’s a TEAM WOD, which isn’t competitive). The group atmosphere DOES help you push yourself – my energy is very much fueled by the energy of others. When I worked out alone, I wouldn’t push myself – I’d stop when I felt like it because, well, who would know? When I am in a group, I know that the difficulty I am experiencing is not any different from anyone else’s. For me to stop, when others are pushing themselves is just… lazy.
Encouragement over pushing
The coaches are quick to encourage you to push on, but they are not going to force you to do anything. Which brings me to another complaint I heard before starting: “They push people too hard”. As someone who has back, knee and hip problems, this worried me going in. But, the very first question I was asked on my first day was “Do you have any physical difficulties/medical conditions you wish to note” – They worked very specifically to my needs.
In the past I took a free trial of Personal Training at a large Gym – that for legal reasons, I won’t name. The Personal Trainer they paired me up with had me try several exercises, and I felt my back tighten up, and knew I was about to be in some pain. I told her I needed a second and she told me “taking a second” to rest is what sets people apart. Pushing through the pain is what will get you results.” Needless to say after I finished, I thanked her, but told her I wasn’t interested in her services.
The coaches at Crossfit are very knowledgeable, and they look out for you. They’ll try and push you through another round, but they never force the issue. Everything is set at your own pace and scaled to fit your personal abilities.
The coaches go above and beyond just showing you how to do a lift – they correct you and explain why it’s important to follow the suggestions. I LOVE learning new things. Lifting involves so much more than just picking up heavy things all day: there is a right and wrong way. Every day, there is something new to learn or to perfect. My lifting when I first started is much different than it is now and it has everything to do with the guidance I received from my coaches and lots and lots of repetition.
90 Days can do a lot
I took Zeke’s advice, and I stuck with it for three months, and it was the best choice I could have ever made. I am no longer afraid of walking into a gym and setting up a bar. I know I could set up at the squat rack and no one would question me. What Zeke didn’t mention was that my changes would not just be physical. I am so much more confident and outgoing in every aspect of my life, I am more social and my fitness goals have NOTHING to do with how I look. I joined wanting to ‘tone up’ and to have a nice body. Now, my goals have everything to do with pushing myself to overcome challenges and to work indefinitely to discover my body’s full potential. I want to run faster, jump higher, lift harder and never stop trying. Now, if that results in a rockin’ body, I certainly won’t lose sleep over it – but it is not my goal. Any ‘sexy’ that results is a byproduct of hard work – but I will not stop pushing myself because someone tells me I don’t fit their vision of what is attractive and acceptable in a woman.
I realize that my experience with Crossfit is different from the experiences of others, but I have loved every horrible, sweaty, exhausting minute of it. It has revitalized my body and my mind. Joining a community based ‘gym’ was a great choice for me and I would suggest it to anyone intimidated by the idea of wondering into a gym with no idea what to do. It was a hard step to take – but it was by far the BEST step I’ve ever taken.
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This post is perfectly time as I have just started up Crossfit myself. While I’m still extremely knew to the sport, I have to agree with everything Lindsey has to say. It’s a very motivating and empowering environment, and you can’t help but push yourself to your full potential while you’re there.
This is an extremely motivating post written by an extremely inspirational individual. Lindsey, I absolutely LOVE that you have adopted fitness as a hobby on top of being a mother, but even more than that, I love that you have set the kind of fitness goals that cause you to work for strength rather than appearance. That’s hugely admirable, and it’s something I hope many more people will do after reading this post.
You are strong and you are beautiful, and you write a pretty mean blog! 😉
Speaking of, here’s a link to Lindsey’s own wordpress blog for those of you who are interested.
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Pura vida and stay strong, Fit4Reviewers!