Yesterday was my One Year Anniversary with CrossFit. I distinctly remember the day I signed up. I went shopping for jeans last October. And my normal size just didn’t fit anymore. But I refused to spend money on on a pair that were a bigger size. So left the store, drove home, and emailed my local gym to start classes.
I went in for the test workout. I couldn’t do 1 pullup. I couldn’t do the 20 pushups without taking a break. I was EXHAUSTED after a very short workout. But I wanted to keep going. So I went back two days later. And then two days after that, and so on. I was sore for weeks. But I noticed small changes that kept pushing me back there.
In an act of pure coincidence, I went shopping for jeans yesterday. And I am happy to report that I am not just one, but TWO pants sizes smaller. And though I haven’t lost a single pound in the last year, I feel 100% better about my body and more importantly, my capability. I can do so many things that I had no idea I was strong enough to do. So when I realized just before checking out yesterday that I was a year into this fitness thing, I felt lucky to drop a small fortune on some tiny pants.
This What I Know About is mostly tongue-in-cheek, so know that I absolutely love CrossFit and it’s changed my life. But it’s such a weird little culture that it would be an opportunity missed to not poke a little fun:
1. There is so.much.gear involved. One would think that exercising in a gym with lots of equipment would mean all you need to do is show up. Nope. There are certain shoes that are better for lifting and then other shoes that are better for everything else. I like to wear shorts if it’s more of a cardio workout, but leggings if there is going to be a barbell smacking my shins for 30 minutes. Have you ever tried to do a double under with a normal jumprope? Impossible. You must buy a fast one that will make you bleed if it whips you in the leg. As a woman, there are certain things that certain bras are just not capable of. For a pullup or burpee workout, I’m gonna need a little more support. And finally, if you’re pumping all this iron, you’ll need a good, no-sugar-added protein shake. After all, you don’t want to waste the opportunity to get just a little more swole!
2. Where else in the world can you go and repeatedly grunt like a man? Puke in the street? Lay on the floor and take a photo of your sweat angel to proudly display on social media? Wear 100% spandex and not care a bit? Do movements like a kettle bell swing in a completely un-ironic way? The answer? Nowhere.
3. Paleo. Not all CrossFitters eat that way. But I will say, my friends from the gym eat about 1,000 times healthier than the people in my other circles. New food terms you’ll learn, just from walking into a CrossFit gym: macros, good fat, FODMAP, mind fog, etc.
4. It is the best and worst thing to workout with my giant husband. It’s the only type of exercise that we both enjoy. But there are some things he’s just better at: rowing, wall balls, and pullups (when outstretched, his wrist is above the tallest bar at the gym. I literally have to leap to get to the shortest one). Yet there are some movements that work to my little person advantage. I’m half the size, so squatting takes half the time, as do most bar movements. It is fun and infuriating to do workouts that lean more toward one of our capabilities. A little competition never hurt any marriage, right??
5. Every gym has the member that takes it a little too seriously. Your Gym Tool, if you will. They grunt a little too loud, wear a little too much gear, and throw around their PR numbers loud and clear for everyone to hear. Except for my gym; we’re all totally cool and laid back and normal and don’t talk about CrossFit all the time. If you think yours doesn’t have one, hint hint: it’s you.
6. Ladies pee a little bit when they jump/squat/run. Especially, but not only, if they’ve had children. It just means they are working extra hard. So when it happens, men, don’t judge, just congratulate. This woman is working harder than you.
7. All joking aside: I love my gym. Like, really love it. I try not to talk about it too much because it’s really annoying for people who have no interest. But this is my space and you don’t have to read it. Someone once told me that CrossFit builds community in a way that most other social groups can’t. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but working out together and [loudly] cheering on your friends creates a bond and sense of unity that you just don’t really find anywhere else. I feel motivated by the people around me. Impressed. In awe of. And I feel lucky to be a part of a place where people are there to better themselves and also to encourage everyone around them. Workplaces, teams, organizations, and yeah, I’ll say it—churches, could probably learn something from this thing we call CrossFit.
Oh, and this? This is just too funny not to share.