While CrossFit is not for everyone, if you’re on the fence…
Note: This is a guest post from Kipping it Real.
This is for those of you who are currently on the fence about CrossFit. Think it’s too intense? Don’t think you have what it takes? Don’t want to look like a fool in the class setting? Seriously, there’s nothing to worry about. Let me to you a little about myself, just a normal, everyday guy who got hooked on CrossFit. I drink the Kool-Aid.
Whenever people ask me what this whole CrossFit thing is about, I run them through the basics. I drop words like “sprinting”, “Olympic weightlifting”, “powerlifting”, “gymnastics movements”, and “calisthenics”. Normally, something about “constantly varied” workouts is said too.
I run through all those buzzwords rather quickly though, as I simply tell them that CrossFit is fun. That’s the main point I try to get across to people who ask about the sport I love so much. Getting my butt to the gym is no longer an issue like back when I was in high school and college. It always seemed like such a chore back then.
Now, working out is simply a game, and a big social aspect of my day. I come into my local box, joke around a bit with classmates during the warm-up, and then get myself into the zone for each part of the workout.
While I played sports growing up, I was always overweight and had asthma to boot. Great combination, huh? The huge turning point in my health didn’t come until the summer going into my senior year of high school. After not playing team sports for years, I had to do something. Even though I was worried about working out around people who seemed intimidating, I got a gym membership for the first time. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing, following a few things from JohnStoneFitness.com’s forums. Basically all hearsay. I pretty much came up with my own strength and cardio routine. As for my nutrition, I dropped the carbs and basically ate less. No bueno.
At the time, it didn’t matter cause I lost around 30 pounds. Great success!
Fast forward to the summer going into my freshman year of college. I wanted to reinvent myself. I was going in with a clean slate, so why not? Following almost the same routines, I dropped another 15 pounds or so. I looked good, but I was always tired.
With the lifestyle I had in college, obviously all that weight would come back. Bummer.
My junior year was another turning point for my health. No, not because I turned 21 haha. A buddy and I discovered Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength book and routine for basic barbell training. For years, we tried every gimmick out of the book, and guess what? We never really knew the basics.
As we progressed with Starting Strength, we read this T-Nation article where Rippetoe was interviewed. We wanted to get shredded, so when we read about Rip’s suggestion of The Zone Diet and CrossFit to shed the fat, everything just came together.
And Our Lives Were Changed Forever
By the way, you know that buddy of mine? He’s now the lead trainer at his local box. Imagine if we didn’t come across that article?
So yeah, we tried some CrossFit training on our own at the really shoddy school gym. While we were limited in equipment, we got our fix. That just comes to show how CrossFit workouts are universally accessible and scalable. You can always replace some movement or exercise with a similar substitution to get the same effect.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Although, my first few Frans were NOT beautiful. Can you say 20 minutes scaled down to 65 pound thrusters and gravitron pull-ups? Not pretty at all (my most recent Fran was 5:15 just for the sake of comparison). Still, I managed to progress little by little. I kept pushing forward because I love the workouts so much (after, not during lol).
After a while, I realized I hit a glass ceiling. Why? I knew I needed some good instruction for the more complicated movements and lifts. I couldn’t keep working out with substitutions and scaled weight because I didn’t know how to do certain lifts properly. It’d be hard to progress this way.
That’s when I decided to join the local CrossFit box. My life hasn’t been the same since.
My New Home
For serious, the transition from following the CrossFit main site to joining the class environment at a box wasn’t easy for me. My weight (thanks college lol), conditioning, and asthma didn’t help one bit. I was never really an endurance athlete and hated running. After my intro sessions and getting into the normal classes with everyone else, I was constantly getting beat up.
You know that fiery feeling in your lungs you get after Fran? I felt that after almost EVERY WOD. Man did that suck.
And you know what also sucked? Seeing people over twice my age kicking my ass in WOD’s. These older athletes were really tearing it up, and I was always finishing workouts last. I was that guy everyone was cheering on in the end.
Sure, there’s no other feeling like people pushing you to finish like that. However, I wanted to improve and actually get on the same level as everyone else. Maybe not the elite, but enough to keep up with most of the class. Change needed to be made.
The Paleo Challenge
So what did I do? I took part in a 2 month Paleo challenge. Made some new friends and got into the best shape of my life. My lifts took a dip, but my overall performance as a CrossFit athlete improved significantly. Burpees were quick and smooth. Kipping pull-ups were light. I felt “normal” for once.
And guess what happened about two months after the challenge ended? I stopped taking my inhalers. Yes, that was HUGE event for me. I waited 14 years for that moment.
The Learning Experience
Aside from actually getting into shape, I learned a lot of things through this CrossFit journey. It showed me to never give up. I wanted to improve my health, so despite the ups-and-downs of my weight and my struggles with CrossFit in the beginning, I kept pushing forward. Before I knew it, people were asking me advice on double-unders, getting max power cleans, and butterfly kipping pull-ups.
Because of CrossFit, I’m not afraid to fail.
Most of us don’t take action, whether it’s with making that big career change or going for a big power clean PR, simply because of the potential of failure. Now I just ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
I’m pretty much back at that rebuilding stage now. After spending 3 weeks in the Philippines, which mainly involved eating, visiting family, and MORE eating, my weight’s up there again and my asthma’s back. So what am I gonna do now? Get all depressed because of where I am now? Nope.
That’s one reason I started my own CrossFit blog. Seriously, who would listen to an out-of-shape CrossFit blogger? Running it forces me to stick with my nutrition and workouts, so I can get into the best shape of my life. For good.
Check out KippingItReal.com – The Best CrossFit Blog EVARRRR – for the latest in CrossFit news and lolz.