Earlier this year I fell in love with CrossFit. I really lucked out finding an amazing gym only two blocks from the MyChelle office! Stepping into the box for the first time was very intimidating, but once I’d worked out there for the first time, I learned that everyone was very friendly, encouraging and helpful. The community aspect of CrossFit is what I love most. I have the same group of people to work out with – this helps keep me accountable and coming back on a regular basis. And sticking with it has helped me to see improvements in many areas of fitness.
What is CrossFit anyway?
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program. It’s not a specialized program, but is deliberately generalized to maximize each individual’s overall fitness. The workouts are challenging and vary in order to work out your body in all areas of strength and conditioning. CrossFit is designed to be inclusive – the workouts are created in such a way so you can scale the weight or intensity to match your current fitness level. People like me (overweight and new to a fitness regime of any kind) do the same workout as the competitive athletes…just with less weight on the bar or by doing fewer repetitions.
From the official website:
The aim of CrossFit is to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness. We have sought to build a program that will best prepare trainees for any physical contingency — not only for the unknown, but for the unknowable.
WOD, AMRAP …what’s with the crazy language?
CrossFit has been accused of being a cult – the unique lingo associated with the sport has no small part to play in this perception.
CrossFit can be done at home, but for most of us, the place you go to do CrossFit is called a “box.” This is a nod to the fact that most CrossFit gyms are pretty bare-bones. They aren’t shiny, fancy places and you won’t typically see rows of mirrors and machines at a box.
WOD simply stands for the workout of the day. The workouts may seem randomly chosen, but there is usually a LOT of forethought and planning put into the programming. Some boxes create their own programming while others will go with the WOD posted at www.crossfit.com. If you perform the WOD as RX’d, that means you did it as it was prescribed, without scaling the weight or intensity of the workout. AMRAP means as many repetitions (or rounds) as possible.
So how do I get started?
It can be intimidating to contemplate starting a CrossFit routine. My suggestion is to give it a shot! I kicked around the idea of doing CrossFit for three years before I finally just went for it. You will find that most CrossFit gym owners and coaches are friendly and truly want to help people reach their fitness goals. Anyone who’s looked into CrossFit has probably heard about the negative aspects, but the majority of CrossFit boxes are positive places with helpful, caring coaches and a great community. Most boxes have a free class so you can try them out, or you can look around for other special deals before committing to a particular gym.
There are a lot of CrossFit gyms out there – I pass by at least ten on my way to work! It can be hard to narrow it down, so ask your friends and co-workers for recommendations. Talk to the owners and coaches of a few different boxes to get a feel for their coaching style. Meet some of the members to see what they like about the particular box.
What can I expect?
CrossFit coaches should push you to do your best, but should also keep your health and safety in mind. Many CrossFitters are naturally competitive, but you should not endanger yourself. Unless you’re an experienced CrossFit competitor, you are really competing against yourself, not the other athletes at your box.
Typically, CrossFit gyms will have a beginner class in which you learn all the basic movements. These newbie classes are often named “Elements,” “On-Ramp,” or something similar. A good box will require you to “graduate” from a series of six or more of these beginner classes. Once you’ve moved on, don’t worry – you’re not on your own! The WOD classes will begin with a good warm up, and a review of the movements included in that day’s WOD.
The WOD is scalable to your health and ability, and the coaches will help you figure out how to adjust the weight and movements. At the box I attend, there are “tracks” based on difficulty: green, blue and black. This is similar to the trail signs you see on downhill skiing runs. Our gym scales the programming so we are all doing essentially the same workout but scaled to our health and ability. The black track at our box is for the most experienced and fit athlete; they will use heavier weights, and perform more reps or more difficult movements. This track system helps us know generally where we’re at, but we can still modify or scale the workout to suit our needs.
Tell me more!
Many CrossFit boxes cap the classes to a certain number of athletes so they can keep a close eye on each one. My coaches know that I have had knee trouble in the past, so they are sure to watch carefully when I’m doing movements that involve jumping. The coaches will remind me that I can substitute other movements if I feel something is too difficult or if I’m concerned about re-injury.
After the WOD is completed, you will usually do some stretching to cool down. In addition to the programming, many boxes encourage their members to have monthly CrossFit goals that are worked on after the WOD. (I’ve been working on my push-ups.) At my box, we write our goals on a white board so we are reminded of them each time we walk in. The coaches are happy to help us develop our goals and create a plan to achieve them.
One more thing
Don’t forget rest days! Resting is important especially when you are embarking on a new athletic endeavor. Also, remember to still do things you enjoy, whether it’s biking, running, hiking, etc. CrossFit helps make you better at doing those things you love!
For more information on CrossFit, visit the official website at www.crossfit.com.
Alyson Wieczorek performs Administrative Customer Support for MyChelle Dermaceuticals. Alyson joined MyChelle in 2013 and works closely with the sales team ensuring that all partners and customers have what they need to be successful. Some of her favorite MyChelle products are the Apple Brightening Cleanser, Advanced Argan Oil and Tropical Skin Smoother. She also loves to use the Clear Skin Clarifying Pads after her morning CrossFit workouts.