Getting Out of a Fitness Rut – A Gym Rat Goes CrossFit
Recently, I read an article online about the biggest mistakes we make in our fitness routines. According to the health editors at MORE Magazine, one of the classic mistakes that smart women make in their fitness routines is doing the same routine all the time (read all 31 tips here). I’ve always known that it’s important to switch it up for better results, but we are all guilty of getting into a “fitness rut”. It’s just so easy to always do the same thing. If you can list out your workout plans for the coming week on a Sunday (GUILTY as charged) it might be time to try something new. After all, variety is the spice of life, right?
So, I devised a personal experiment; try one new fitness class per week that I had never tried before. This posed a challenge for me, ask anyone in the Stonewear offices, I’ve gone to ALOT of fitness classes….Athletic Intervals, Ski Fit, Cycling, Climbing Training Classes (check out Team of 2 Training Online!), Yoga Sculpt… I’ve done it all and more. The Stonewear team will tell you that I’m a Certified, Grade A, Gym Rat.
BUT, there are tons of classes that I’ve never tried. So during the month of April, I tried 4 new classes, one per week, and I have the low-down about each class for you here.
Week 3 CrossFit:
I heard a joke once about CrossFit, it went something like this: CrossFit must really be exhausting, 30 minutes a day of hard work and 23.5 hours a day talking about it. It made me giggle because it’s true. I have SO many friends on Facebook and all they do is post about CrossFit; “the WOD today was insane!,” “my deadlift, squats…” blah, blah, blah. I’m not hating…okay, maybe I am a little, but since there is such a buzz around CrossFit, I decided to give it an honest, open-minded try.
CrossFit (or the trademark CrossFit Inc.) are workouts that consist of constantly varied, high-intensity interval training, plyometrics, calisthenics, weight lifting, power lifting, and other exercises. The classes change daily (ie: the WOD: workout of the day) and the WOD is timed. If you are looking for variety, CrossFit has it.
CrossFit also has a sort of exclusivity to it. You actually can’t just go try a CrossFit class. Most CrossFit gyms require you to go through a set of “Intro to CrossFit” classes. This is crucial. If you really are planning to get into it, take whatever intro your gym requires, because you can get injured doing CrossFit. That said, for my research purposes, I didn’t have time or motivation to go through the whole process. I called up a CrossFit fanatic friend of mine and asked him to take me to his CrossFit gym for a workout, we planned a time and I met him for the WOD. This gym (like most CrossFit gyms) posts the WOD for the following day on their website – I didn’t look ahead of time because I feared I might chicken out. After all, CrossFit is a bit intimidating to the newcomer.
Here’s the WOD that we did:
Warm-Up – Run 800 meters
Five Rounds of:
- Pull-Ups 10 – CrossFit style pull-ups called “kipping pull-ups.” I did not understand how to do them then, and I still don’t know how to do them, nor do I consider them to fall into the “regular” pull-up category, because they are not. Men’s Health explains that here.
- Push-ups 12 – Pretty normal push-ups, but the instructor did want me to dip my chest lower than I normally do.
- All of this followed by a 90-pound sled pull for one mile with a partner.
Remember that crazy-hard, extra sweaty, arms falling off, legs heavy, your-heart-might-explode workout I mentioned earlier? YUP, you guessed it, the above workout is just that. It was hard, painful, fast-moving… did I mention it was hard? It was very difficult.
All in all, yes CrossFit is a great workout, but I don’t think it’s for everybody. I think that people should first learn the principles behind the exercises before trying to execute them, as to avoid injury which is a very real possibility with CrossFit. I’m a relatively fit and strong person, with a strong upper body from climbing, and after this workout my deltoids, traps, and pectoris muscles were killing me…for days.
The last word on CrossFit:
Do your research, be prepared, and practice safety, I’ll leave it at that.
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