Once I became curious about the weird, fitness sport they call “CrossFit” it took me about a year and a half to finally take the dive. Why did I wait so long? Well, quite a few reasons, but it all boils down to one main theme: Fear. Here’s the things that kept me from one of the things I really enjoy now, and what I’ve learned since finally biting the bullet and joining a box.
1. THE COST.
Okay, let’s face it. CrossFit is not cheap. What’s worse? When I first became interested I was a broke Undergraduate consisting on eggs, and the kind freebies of friends and social events. Free food? I’m in. However, when you take a look at where that investment goes– towards specialized equipment (and the inevitable damage that happens to it), a close knit family and close-knit instruction, and what’s more? Spending less on other things (i.e. unhealthy food, drinking, what I would try to entertain myself with outside of CrossFit), and preventative health care. After all, having a healthy body pays off in so many ways–my immune system kicks butt, my muscles burn off excess calories and I’m not gaining that icky fat that hangs around people’s waist lines and makes them sick over time. Medications? I take none. Now that’s not to say that cost isn’t still a factor but most boxes if you talk and negotiate can work a pretty good deal, you can trade services, or realize that the investment you’re making into yourself is worth the cost. All around, at the end of the day, it’s a really good investment. For me, happiness and health is more than it’s weight in gold.
2. POTENTIAL INJURY.
When I first mentioned my curiosity to my affectionately referred to meat head gym-goers their initial response was, “Good luck, you’re going to get injured! Have fun with that…” While people have indeed gotten injured while attempting CrossFit, most injuries have been due to the following: improper form, being over confident about what you WANT to lift, and not properly warming up. That being said, when you actually look at the numbers–CrossFit is no more dangerous than other common sports such as Soccer, Football, and Cheerleading. The difference? No one tells a little girl dreaming to be a cheer leader, “Don’t do that, you’re GOING to get injured”. While yes, there definitely is a risk, as with most sports, this shouldn’t be a reason to never try it out for yourself. Alas, I would caution that people who have egos not try this sport– you’ll definitely leave with your tail between your legs as CrossFit is a humbling sport for us all.
Speaking of humbling…
3. LOOKING REALLY STUPID. ALL THE TIME.
Watching the CrossFit pros on YouTube and trying those same moves out for yourself is extremely humbling. For instance, when I first attempted the Wall Ball–it landed on my face. Needless to say, 10 pounds falling towards your face from the air is not a pleasant experience. To be honest, I probably did look pretty stupid initially. Why it’s okay? Every one looks stupid in one way or another at first. The both awesome and terrible thing about this sport is that it tackles every angle of fitness and takes a long time (or infinite time more accurately) to perfect the skills– unless your name is “Jesus Froning”, you’re not going to be good at everything, especially at first. However, part of the magic is the fact that it’s a consistent challenge, even for the pros. You’ll definitely never get bored trying to master skills because you’ll always be trying to beat your personal best.
4. THE LINGO.
HSPU? OHS? WTF? What do all these things mean? When I first looked at a WOD (and no, not a big lump of some thing) I thought–this whole CrossFit thing is another language in and of itself. Who’s got time for that? Well, over time it really does become second nature. And unlike Spanish, which I’ve taken for 7 years and STILL haven’t mastered, you quickly begin to learn the acronyms and to fear any thing that begins with HERO or sounds like a girl’s name (yes, we’re talking about you Fran…).
5. LOOKING LIKE A MAN.
When I first introduced the idea of CrossFit to family and friends, a large response was–“Good luck looking like a man…” But was morphing into the male physique really a result of CrossFit? Even now, as I’ve begun discussing the physiques you see in the ultimate of ultimates in CrossFit, game competitors… two things come to mind: A.) They don’t really look like men and B.) They put a TON of effort, supplements, and time into getting those physiques–it doesn’t happen as an after thought of getting into good shape by taking CrossFit classes, it happens as a result of specific dieting, training ~4 hours a day, and using specific supplements. Regardless, my woman crush is still Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and she’s definitely a wonderful example of being both incredibly strong/athletic and still feminine.
6. NOT LOOKING ENOUGH LIKE A MAN
On the other end of the spectrum, when I first introduced the idea of CrossFit to my more meat head, body builder friends the first thing most of them said was along the lines of :“Good luck losing all of your gains… (gains = muscle)”. On one hand I didn’t want to build TOO much muscle, but I also didn’t want to lose my strength. I wanted to somehow become the “magical unicorn” of fitness that didn’t get TOO bulky but DID continuously increase in strength. Although I’m still trying to figure out how to manage that goal, with the Olympic lifts and focusing on the strength training portion of the work outs–I definitely didn’t lose strength. And muscle-wise? I gained a good 10-15 pounds in my first 4 months. Yes, I still fit into my clothes + 15 pounds.
7. SAYING GOODBYE TO MY NIKE APPAREL (AND OTHER BRANDS OUTSIDE OF REEBOK).
As you may already be well aware, REEBOK is the official sponsor of the CrossFit games, and while many do endorse and wear their products (they do have some pretty great lifters after all) no one will give you dirty looks for sporting other brands. In fact, in my experience–no one pays much attention to the brands your wearing at my gym. So all that Nike gear I’ve collected over the years? Totally okay. Mixing brands? No problem. Silly socks? Awesome. Appreciating all the brands? The best route to go. After all, Nike is making some CrossFitting shoes now… but I usually pick work out clothes based on what color scheme I’m into and the fit–simple as that.
8. SAYING GOODBYE TO FRUIT, CARBS, AND DAIRY
While Paleo is the main stream diet plan of many CrossFitters, it is not a CrossFit sin to NOT be Paleo. I tend to eat fairly healthy regardless–sticking to whole foods as much as possible, but saying goodbye to bananas and chocolate? Not gonna happen… Moderation is key, even the pros like Froning and Camille indulge in donuts, fries, and non-paleo fare. It’s all about finding out what works for you… and so if Paleo isn’t some thing sustainable (and don’t get me wrong–it really does great things for some people) then do what works for you. No strict dietary guidelines necessary.
Needless to say, I’m grateful I took the hurdles. And FEAR-wise? The only thing I’m afraid of now is not trying and giving it my all when I get to the gym.