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Why I Crossfit

I’ve neglected this blog for far too long. I figured a good topic to start back with would be one that seems to come up most frequently, and one that is semi-new and game changing for me personally.

I started Crossfit nearly a year ago. I’m still at it, enjoying it, and it is still very much a work in progress.

The response one gets to the word Crossfit is pretty comical to me at this point. Most people simply don’t have any clue what it actually is, therefore the opinion they’ve formed is severely skewed and based primarily on fiction or anomalies. Most people cringe at the idea, saying they would/could never do it as it seems way too intense. It also gets a negative reaction for being cult-like and for inducing too many injuries.

If you asked me if I played basketball and I answered “yes”, would you then assume I have the same training regiment and skill level of LeBron James? Probably not. You’d assume I play at my local park in some pick up games, in a local rec league, or maybe shoot around in my backyard. Right? But for some reason, because of the popularity/exposure it has gained, people immediately think Crossfit is what they have seen on ESPN during the Crossfit Games. Those people, just like NBA players, are the top .01% of athletes in the entire world for that sport. We both know the pick up game at the park is not the same as an NBA game. Crossfit is no different. There is every level of person/athlete participating in an activity like Crossfit just as there is in basketball, and in every other sport.

As for the cult reputation and the injuries. Well, I see it pretty much the same way. Any sport has its own rules, terms, language and fanatics. Once again, Crossfit is no different. You’ll get out of it what you put in. If you want to live at the gym and adopt a lifestyle that revolves around it that’s your choice. But the vast majority of people (that I’ve met at least) are just there to get/stay in shape. Period.

Have I been injured during Crossfit? Yes. Have I been injured doing countless other physical activities? Yes. Enough said.

Putting all of that aside, anytime I’m asked about Crossfit I essentially give the same exact answers. These three reasons are why I’ve adopted it.

(1) It is Harder to Fear the Unknown

For anyone that has ever exercised regularly you understand the mind game it easily becomes. I had a traditional gym membership for years, still have an entire home gym set up, have done P90X and Insanity videos (among others), and have run and biked frequently as well (and still do). They’ve all kept me healthy, but going into any of those activities day after day, year after year can be a beating. You start to dread the treadmill, the barbells, and that route you’ve run a hundred times. You know what’s coming, you know what parts you’re good at, what you should work on (but know you’ll skip over or half ass), and you can/will easily just do it later that day, or maybe just tomorrow instead…which turns into not doing it at all.

Crossfit eliminates all of that for me. I head to the gym each time not having any idea of what I’ll be doing that day. Of course there is some repetition involved and you repeat movements and workouts over time but the actual workout for that day is not determined by me, therefore I’ve found it much harder to overthink it and psych myself out of attending. It’s not a “spinning class” or “Yoga 101” or “P90X Back and Shoulders”. Been there, done those, skipped those…now hate those.

All I really know is that I’m going to walk away tired and sweaty. That means I spend less time thinking about it leading up to the work out. I just show up ready to get my ass handed to me by any number of movements. Which leads me to reason #2.

(2) Variation + New = Good

Some days are completely cardio based and others are entirely weight/strength based. There are countless combinations and variations that combine those two together. Some strength workouts involve heavy weights and put you way out of your comfort zone. Others will utilize solely your own body weight and never touch a weight, bar, box or rope. Some days the actual workout is 10 minutes, others it is 40 minutes. The focus is more on intensity than length of workout. 

Never in my previous life of exercise would I ever have even thought to attempt some of the moves Crossfit teaches you. The days of me walking from station to station doing leg lifts or bicep curls no longer exist. Handstands, rope climbs, sled pulls, mixed in with squats, pushups, pull-ups, sit ups, followed by sprints, lunges, Olympic dead lifts…you get the idea.

The variation is drastic. There are some things I’m terrible at, and others I can knock out more efficiently. Either way, a ton of what comes at you gets you way outside of your comfort zone. Even after nearly a full year I’m still guessing and learning. 

Crossfit is the polar opposite of monotonous.

(3) REAL Money + Schedule = Commitment

Most people see the cost of Crossfit and immediately think “that’s expensive, I only pay $25 a month at my gym”. Well, sure…if you’re comparing Crossfit to a monthly membership at 24 Hour Fitness then you’re correct. But the legitimate comparison is with a personal trainer. Crossfit typically costs $100-$200 per month, whereas a personal trainer can easily run you $75 per hour. Crossfit is drastically closer to a personal trainer than it is to a traditional gym. You’ll get one-on-one training and instruction, and most class sizes are 10-15 people maximum. At some gyms, you may even have class sizes as small as 2-3 people which means you are pretty much getting personally trained, at a fraction of the cost.

For me, the substantial cost of Crossfit also acts as a big motivator. I can easily talk myself into wasting $25 a month on a gym membership and not even going one single time. We’ve all done it, simply because $25 is just not that much money. I CANNOT (and will not) waste $100+ per month. That’s REAL money, so I better be getting something out of it. Combine that with scheduled class days/times and you’ve got a lot of extra motivation to show up. Not too mention the (mostly self inflicted) peer pressure of not wanting to flake out because you know the other 3, 5, or 7 people that typically attend that day/time.

There are, of course, many other reasons I’ve stuck with Crossfit (and intend to continue to stick with it) but those are the game changers. It’s pretty simple. Do something that is continually changing, interesting, and yields results and you’ll be able to stick with it much longer than other regiments. Plus, a large portion of what you learn can be done at home when you must with nothing at all, or very minimal equipment. 

I was leaning towards ending this by saying something along the lines of “Crossfit isn’t for everyone”, but that is complete bullshit. You certainly need to find the right gym for you personally, as every trainer is different and that can certainly change your experience with the concept. But, Crossfit can work for anyone…anyone that wants to sweat on a regular basis, and maintain/improve their health. It’s not complicated at all.

Pearl Jam in OKC 10.16.13

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