I never thought I would find myself in a “box”, lingo for Crossfit class. Yet, about 2 Fridays ago, on the suggestion of one of my Pilates clients, I decided to give it a try. Why not? I mean, I thought I’d die and really hate it, but turning 40 does things to you. You somehow don’t really care about other people’s opinions more than your own, you don’t mind looking foolish once in a while and trying new things is not really terrifying – it’s kind of exhilarating.
So that’s how I found myself at CrossFit at The Shop, sitting on the floor rolling out the back of my calves with a foam roller. When I first arrived, I took my sneakers off and revealed my sparkly barre-Pilates Toesox! Quickly scanning the room, everyone else had their sneakers on and I promptly laced my sneakers back up!
The first 10 minutes are typically spent warming up the body, rolling out on the foam roller, doing cat cows, opening up the shoulders with shoulder rotation moves. Since it was my first class, the instructor Stephanie Wambach (who was substituting for owner Drew Skaggs) “shadowed” me and provided hints and elaborated on the exercises. It was all brand new to me and I didn’t really want to overexert myself, so I stuck with “safe” weights, careful not to get too confident in the heft I was carrying.
Here is a list of 5 Things to expect on your first visit to Crossfit:
1. WOD stands for Workout of the day, which is a list of exercises the class will focus on for that day. However, Crossfit is more than just showing up to complete the WOD. As mentioned previously, the warm up is about 10 minutes and then you go into the WOD. There are short periods of rest built into each set. The WOD can include Turkish getups, chin-ups, or burpees to name a few. Afterwards, there can be extra credit exercises and then a cool down period. Some days you may only work strength and not skills. Other days will be more core work. It all changes every day. This is why I found it so cool. You don’t always walk in predetermined and knowing what a workout is going to be like. There is safety in knowing what is on the table, but when you walk in with no expectations, it can really be a great new workout for your body.
2. It is intimidating – watching women smaller than me doing chin ups and carrying weights upto 70 pounds definitely made me nervous and feel out of my element. That being said, there is something great about seeing a woman being able to do that. You go sister!
3. I shook my head at the instructor who wanted me to do Turkish deadlifts with a 15 pound kettlebell. She insisted I give it a try. Hmmm, I was very hesitant that I could even lift it standing up, much less lying down. However, I gave it a try and it is not my favorite thing, but I felt kind of powerful after doing it. Will I do this every day? Probably not, but it was a sense of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. No, at Crossfit, you won’t be babied.
Crossfit is a high intensity workout where you will be challenged. The coaches will push you and it won’t be easy to zone out like you do in yoga- you can’t get by with giving half the effort in Crossfit.
4. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming – people talk to each other and you. From the moment I entered the box until I left, I was greeted by friendly faces. Everyone offered encouraging words about how they had started and how far they have come. Just to hear stories of people who have kept with it and built strength is motivating.
5. There are modifications in Crossfit. You can’t do a chin up? No problem – you can use bands to leverage you up. Can’t jump on a box? The coach will have you do a step up. What I really loved is that even if you can’t do it, there is a modification so there are no excuses that you can’t do it. That is not a word to use at Crossfit – can’t. You can.
I did, I gave this workout a try and I must say I really enjoy it! Do I go everyday? No, but I’ve built in 2 days a week and it’s pretty cool to add to my running. Will you see me lifting 200 pounds? Probably not, but it is rewarding and challenging to find myself lifting weights I never thought I could before.