Fitness Swap: Surviving CrossFit

Early on in brainstorming ideas for the blog, I had the bright idea that Wendy and I do a workout swap. I would try CrossFit, Wendy would try ballet, and we would each blog about our experiences. Finally in December, the time had come for me to attend a CrossFit community workout. With an 8am Saturday class on the horizon, I no longer thought my idea was so brilliant.

I made sure to wake up by 7am to eat something (two scrambled eggs), as my body is not accustomed to early morning workouts. Actually, my body is not accustomed to being up early at all. I’m most definitely a night owl. Wendy picked me up at 7:45am to head to CrossFit Central.

I could immediately tell who the regular CrossFitters and coaches were. Those girls wore spandex tights, showing off their perfectly formed, muscular thighs. Yep, I was a little self-conscious, already assuming everyone there was more fit than me. For the most part, my hypothesis tested true.

CrossFit warm-up - snatch jumps

Snatch jumps during the warm-up

When class started, we all gathered in a large circle, and by a show of hands, about half the people were newbies like me. That made me feel a little better. Wendy warned me that the warm-up would be intense. The warm-up consisted of high knees, jumping jacks, torso rotations, and push-ups. And while doing burpees, I felt like I pulled something in my left hip. I’m sure it didn’t help that it was a brisk morning, and my muscles were really cold. And this was just the warm-up part done inside. Then we broke into groups and rotated through outside warm-up activities. We did traveling high knees, butt kicks, high kicks, lunges, and side lunges at one station, practiced snatch jumps at another, and did a 400m run for the final station. Having not done any cardio workouts for the past two months, I was getting really dizzy.

Once we completed the warm-up, we went inside to get the rundown on the “WOD” or workout of the day.  We’d be divided into four groups to rotate through four stations. You spend one minute at each station and then run a lap around the building.  Then you do that whole rotation two more times.

CrossFit Goblet squats with kettleballs

Goblet squats with kettleballs

Station 1: Goblet squats with kettleballs – This exercise I had actually learned from my workout guru who helped me with that weightlifting cycle I did in the summer. Of the four stations, these were probably the easiest for me. However, you do them continuously for one minute, so easy doesn’t mean it wasn’t tiring.

CrossFit Walking lunges with weight plate overhead

Walking lunges with weight plate overhead

Station 2: Walking lunges with plates – I can do a pretty solid lunge, but while holding a 10lb or plus weight overhead? Not happening. I did the first rotation holding the weight to my chest and the next two rotations without a weight.

CrossFit Push-up with dumbbell row

Push-up with dumbbell row

Station 3: Push-ups with dumbbell rows – You picked a pair of dumbbells, do a push-up, and then do a dumbbell row with each arm. Again, insanity. The only bright side to this exercise was watching one of the hot male CrossFit coaches demonstrate it.

CrossFit parallette in and out exercises

Parallette in and out exercises

Station 4: Parallette in and outs – With these PVC pipe handle thingamajigs called parallettes, you have to jump your legs straight out in front of and behind you. Ideally, your legs don’t touch the ground in between the in and out positions. Who comes up with these exercises?

After surviving each of those stations for one minute each, my 200m sprint was more like a 200m jog/walk. Working through the stations, I was acutely aware of the people around me who were regulars. There was a lot of grunting from many of those regulars, with the coaches shouting words of encouragement. The atmosphere felt very primal.

For the cool down (finally!), we formed a big circle outside.  We did wide leg stretches and a runners stretch. For my taste, the stretches were too deep and held too long. As you’ve probably already gathered, I did not enjoy my CrossFit experience. I was glad to have survived without any major injuries. And that Wendy took me out for a delicious post-workout omelette.

It’s undeniable that CrossFit has great results if you stick with it. The CrossFit Central blog has countless success stories. And as long as I’ve known Wendy, I’ve never seen her more fit. Her body is rockin’, thanks to CrossFit. After posting about my experience on Facebook, another friend who is a CrossFitter responded that she liked it because it appealed to her “competitive nature”.  She hit the nail on the head. I’m really not competitive, and that’s most likely why it’s not the right fitness option for me.

Having torn my ACL and gone through a painful repair surgery followed by months of physical therapy, I gravitate towards exercises with a strong sense and awareness of the body.  I like exercises with precise, controlled movements, not short bursts of energy, which is why ballet, yoga, and weightlifting suit me.

I know there must be lots of CrossFit folks who read the blog. I’d love to hear why you love CrossFit in the comments!

And one last thought … when are you coming to ballet class, Wendy???

CrossFit Central community workout group

If you look real hard, you’ll find me and Wendy. I’m the one who looks grateful to be alive.

Images: Warm-up – snatch jumpsgoblet squats, walking lunges, push-ups with dumbbell row, parallette in & outCrossFit Community Workout group

3 thoughts on “Fitness Swap: Surviving CrossFit

  1. Wendy

    Yeah, what Nick said! 🙂 Even if you think it wasn’t for you, you did great! Now I have to come to ballet…gulp!


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