Crossfit: Just Walk-In
by CFM Endurance Coach Aaron Mann
How many times have you said to yourself “I need to get into shape!” Or “I need to mix-up my work-out.” That was me for the longest time. I tried to mix things up myself, changes to sets and weights but I would always fall back into the same routine.
Crossfit hit my radar back in 2009. A friend of mine from Portland told me about this cool web-site with free work outs you can follow, http://www.crossfit.com. I poured all over it, watching all the videos I could to figure out how to do these crazy WOD’s (Workout of the Day).
That Monday I went to my local Global Gym (OK it’s Idaho Athletic Club) and tried one of the WODs, filthy fifty. While I was doing it, I noticed another gym goer doing the same thing. We chatted and got through it together. (Long story short, he is now a great friend, our wives are friends as well as our kids, this will be a whole other blog post.) We of course got some looks from the other cliental; looks of amazement and intrigue and lots of ‘those guys are crazy’ looks. When my new friend and I finished the WOD, we were exhausted and satisfied, all at ounce. I felt so much better than my usual routine so we stuck with it, working out together.
As time went by, we realized these WODs were getting more complicated and we both knew we were going to hurt ourselves or get a huge bill from IAC for breaking equipment. I can’t count how many times I drove by Crossfit Meridian and said to myself, “I need to go check it out.”
Away on a business trip, I received this text from my friend “Went to CFM, you need to go when you get back.” Now I had to face my fears and reservations holding me back. I am sure I am not the only one who has anxiety about starting a program at a Crossfit Gym. Below I have laid out a few fears, guidelines, and advice for those who are new or “thinking” about Crossfit.
• Who goes to Crossfit?
I know you have seen the videos on the internet of these super ripped people doing amazing things. I had this picture in my mind of these super meatheads all working out together. If I rolled in there I would be 1, embarrassed and 2, would not fit in at all. I have been to Crossfit Gyms all over the country (Fargo, Knoxville, Vegas, Nor Cal, So Cal Buffalo, Garden City, KS, Tucson, Phoenix, Madison, WI, Spokane, and of course Meridian). One thing all boxes have in common (a box is what a gym is called in our world), very welcoming and glad you stopped by. Everyone is encouraging and cheers you on. Whether you are first or last, you get a pat on the back.
People who join Crossfit gyms are college students, doctors, lawyers, teachers, laborers, business folks, private biz owners, sales people, engineers, IT, retired people, stay-at-home moms, stay-at-home dads, welders, artists, carpenters, police, firefighters, military, did I miss anyone?
My point is people from all walks of life DO Crossfit, so why not you?
• Why so expensive, I can’t afford it!
This is probably the number one reason people are turned away. The $19.99 per month special does not apply in Crossfit, why? As a salesman by trade, I have to help my customer’s realize the value they are receiving by purchasing my goods and services, here is the value you are getting out of Crossfit.
CF is specialized training, period. You attend a class with other participants; the coach who runs the WOD watches you to ensure you are performing the exercises properly, form and function. The goal is always to perform the WOD as prescribed or RX, but if you can’t, the coach will help you scale back to ensure you are able to come back tomorrow, more on this later. When I was at Idaho Athletic Club, at least once a day, I would watch someone using the machines incorrectly. At Crossfit, the coach and the other athletes help you through the WOD, encouraging you the whole way.
The coach also writes all of your WOD’s for you. You are getting a specialized program tailored to your abilities to make you a better, stronger, faster athlete. If you ask for personal training at any Global Gym you have to pay extra for that service; way more than your monthly CrossFit dues.
Constantly varied is the CrossFit program, it puts you in an uncomfortable position by attacking your weaknesses. It forces you to be a better; can you get that from a Global Gym?
Above is the why, but can I still afford it. My wife stays home and I support a family of 4, sure I was nervous about spending more of our already tight disposable income. But look at your expenses; take a serious look at what you are purchasing. I know there is something you buy each month that you don’t really need. Skip the latte here and there, start cooking at home more, wait until that movie comes out on DVD, carpool, ask for that raise at work, something. If you are already a member at a gym, think about how you can make up that difference and do it. You will be better for it.
• Count your reps!
This is more a pet peeve than anything. As you will find out, after the WOD is over, typically you write your time, reps, weight, or whatever the WOD goal is on a board with your name on it. This can be very humbling sometimes, but truthfully no one really cares if you were first in a WOD or last. What people care about is that you did the work and did your best. If you didn’t count all of your reps, you are only cheating yourself, so why do it.
When I started, my deadlift was horrible, I couldn’t perform two or three Double-Unders in a row, and I only could get up our rope maybe one or two times. But, I worked on my form, worked on my jump rope skills, and have gotten stronger on the rope. If I would have short changed myself and not done every rep, no way I would have progressed the way I have.
Do the work, all of it! You will get better, I promise.
• You are joining a family.
This sounds cliché but it is true. When a WOD is over, I have a hard time leaving, seriously. I look at the clock knowing I have to be somewhere else, but I still hang out trying to squeeze every ounce of time I can. I love the people I WOD with. We hold each other accountable. Sure when that alarm goes off at 5 AM, sometimes it’s hard to get up. I know if I don’t make it, not only will I cheat myself of a great workout, I will never hear the end of it from my buddies.
My 3 year old had a rough night, sick, crying, poor guy. I finally got him to sleep and myself to sleep around 4 AM. I almost just stayed up and went to work out, but I fell back to sleep just because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Sure enough, at 7 when my guys got to their phones, the texts starting flying, where were you, everything OK, are you traveling…..
Pretty cool if you ask me.
The first time I finally got a muscle up (you will learn what this is if you don’t know) I was working out in the afternoon. Like I said I usually go in the morning, so different group of athletes were there. I already finished my WOD and was working on MUs with Shawna, one of the owners. The remainder of the class was stretching, drinking water, chatting, etc. The next class was starting to arrive and/or warming up.
I tried one, failed, and Shawna would give me a tip and say try again. I did, and failed, more tips and encouragement. Finally after ½ a dozen tries, bang, got it! First one EVER! The whole Box started clapping and cheering. Like I said, I don’t work out with these people on a daily basis; I didn’t even know everyone’s names but still got the cheers.
Again pretty cool!
• If you do this, clean up your eating!
CrossFit is a new level of fitness. That’s 20% of the journey, what you put in your gut is the 80%. I am 37, it has taken me this long to realize this. It’s never too late, throw away the ice cream, chips, cut back on the booze, drink water not soda, cut down on the sugar, you can do it.
Complete the journey.
Hopefully this is helpful to those on the fence, thinking about joining the movement that is CrossFit. If you don’t believe me, come in for a test drive.