I have been CrossFitting for almost 6 years now, and plan to continue throughout my entire life. It has changed my perspective on body image, made me a stronger human both physically and mentally, and helped me to build long lasting relationships with incredible people that are now part of my gym family.
My CrossFit experience was literally love at first class. My husband and I walked into CrossFit Central Houston (shoutout to Phil and T over there!! AMAZING gym by the way) for a free Saturday class, and after hitting the floor in a pool of sweat at the end, we were both hooked. I loved the competitive side of the workouts, and the intensity of it all. He loved that it was only one hour out of his day and everything was already planned out for him. Plus, we were both new to the area and knew very few people there. Joining a CrossFit gym was like instantly joining a giant friend group. Everyone is super friendly and WANTS to get to know you.
The community driven atmosphere has to be one of the coolest parts of CrossFit. This was the first time I had ever seen complete strangers cheering on others as if they wanted nothing more than for that person to succeed. That is such a huge part of the sport. At the end of the day, we are all there for the same reason, to be healthier, fitter humans. Why would we not cheer for each other’s success?
Two years ago I was doing a CrossFit Open workout that had heavy barbell snatches in it. I was super intimidated going into the workout, because I had never snatched over 170 pounds and the snatches went up to 185 pounds. When I reached the point in the workout where I had to lift 175 pounds, I wanted to cry. My hands were ripped and bloody from doing tons of pull-ups and snatches at lighter weights earlier in the workout, and I wanted so badly to be able to get that weight up. I looked out and saw all of my friends and gym family members watching me and yelling my name, telling me I could do it. I stepped up to the barbell and told myself they were right, I could f***ing do it. I set up, blocked out the pain, and snatched the sh*t out of that bar, and I nailed it. This picture is one of my absolute proudest moments in all my CrossFit memories. It is also the most telling of what CrossFit is all about.
Family. That’s what CrossFit is and should always be. You should walk into a CrossFit gym and feel like you are stepping into your home away from home. If you go to a CrossFit gym and don’t feel like that soon after you start, you’re either in the wrong gym for you or they’re not running their gym right. Community is the foundation of CrossFit.
CrossFit has also completely changed my perspectives of what it looks and feels like to be healthy, and it has changed my own personal relationship with my body. I nourish my body with whole, nutrient dense foods that fuel me during workouts and for everyday life. Don’t get me wrong, I love a brownie sundae and a glass of champagne (or maybe 2-3) here and there. Moderation, am I right? However, the majority of the time I plan my meals to consist largely of leafy greens and other vitamin-rich vegetables, organic, grassfed protein, fruits, healthy fats, and occasionally whole grains. It’s this diet and my consistency with it that has led me to look the way that I do and to feel great day in and day out.
I used to look in the mirror and hate my athletic frame and wonder why I couldn’t just be skinny like so many celebrities and friends that I longed to look like. NOT ANYMORE! I love my muscles. I look up to athletes with ripped abs and cut arms rather than super thin super models and celebrities. I want to be strong. I want to be able to move furniture, play sports on the weekends, run with my dog, snowboard with my husband, and do other fun activities without the fear of getting injured or being too tired. This is why I do CrossFit.
CrossFit is literally defined as “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains". It prepares you for life! Because I do CrossFit, I am better equipped than any average person to do any random activity, sport, or exercise. As long as you go to a gym with good coaches that care about your safety and want you to perform the movements correctly, CrossFit is an incredible fitness program that can make you fit for life and help you protect yourself from injury down the line.
I’ve often had people tell me they are afraid to try CrossFit because they don’t think they are ready for the intensity or the high skill movements that it involves. Another great thing about CrossFit is that it is universally scalable to any ability level. Never done a pull-up? No problem, we have a movement called a ring row that anyone can do. Can’t squat below parallel yet? That’s fine, we have benches or boxes you can practice squatting to until you build the lower body strength necessary to get you to that depth. Struggling with an overhead squat due to bad shoulder mobility? I know tons of shoulder stretches you can encompass into your warmup and cool down routine, and in the mean time we will work on front squats until you can safely hold a PVC pipe overhead for a squat. Progression and good coaching will help you modify workouts to challenge you, while keeping you safe and helping you build a foundation necessary to perform higher skill movements. Your coach should also never require you to increase intensity in your workout before you can safely and effectively perform the movement with proper technique.
Beyond all that, CrossFit is just fun. Sometimes when I see the younger, competitive guys coming into the gym wanting to do 100 workouts at 100% intensity over and over again I wonder where they get that energy from. Then I remember that I used to be the same way. It’s because it’s so fun. Being able to do pull-ups and lift heavy weights overhead not only feels super cool, but it is so fun. I just prefer to do it for one hour per day now and focus my life on other things, haha. Either way though, you are getting an incredible workout in one hour. Because you are generally performing the movements at high intensity (as long as technique allows), then you are burning massive amounts of calories even when you are done with the workout and gone from the gym!
I could literally go on for days as to why I think CrossFit is amazing, but ultimately you’ll never know until you try it. I challenge anyone reading this that hasn’t stepped into a CrossFit gym to at least try one class. Most gyms offer a free trial class or a free community workout on Saturdays. Trust me, you won’t regret it.