Why I've Fallen In Love With CrossFit

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When it comes to ‘fitness’ and ‘exercise’, I’ve been all over the map. I grew up dancing and tried just about every sport popular in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been sidelined and ‘sedentary’ due to injury and surgery, I’ve been obsessed with yoga, been addicted to running, terrified of lifting weights and afraid of putting on ‘muscle mass’. I’ve been put on exercise restriction while in recovery from an eating disorder. So needless to say, my relationship with exercise, fitness, and my body are quite complicated.

I have always been someone who wants to be ‘the best’ at everything I do, and that mentality has always played out in sports and fitness. If I thought I wouldn’t be the best in a fitness class in the past, I maybe would have considered choosing a class I’d be better at. Or, going down a level of complexity, so that I knew I’d fall near the top and not challenge myself ‘too much.’ I was terrified of ‘embarrassing’ myself by not being good at it.

I had never tried CrossFit, because I was so positive that I wouldn’t be good at it. My body, plagued by hip issues for years, wasn’t used to lifting much weight. I’d never snatched, or cleaned, or jerked. I only knew what many of the terms were because I stumbled on a CrossFit Games documentary on Netflix.

But I was intrigued.

I came to a place in my recovery, where I wanted to try to push myself in a new way. Push myself to try something that I wouldn’t be great at right away. It was almost more of a way to challenge myself, and my perfectionism, mentally. So I started my research (okay, yes, I am very TYPE A, I KNOW).

My research turned up a lot of mixed opinions, those championing the sport and those decrying it. That will be true for any form of movement and exercise, and I took opinions and stories from both camps into account. I knew that, as with any sport, the gym I chose would need to be a good fit. They needed to prioritize form and recovery over the amount of weight lifted. They needed to be welcoming, and feel safe.

I happened to find Northwest CrossFit, and found a Groupon for their CompleteFit Bootcamp class, that taught the basics and proper form to get beginners acclimated to the gym. I started on a Thursday night back in October of 2017. I fell in love with it almost immediately.

Every single person I met at the gym was friendly, welcoming, and helped me get into the swing of things. That first class was hard. I won’t lie about that. Burpees suck. But CrossFit challenged me in so many ways that I hadn’t let myself be challenged by before. I’m not ‘naturally’ good at a lot of the things we do. I am still working on getting the right form and technique down for lifting. It takes practice and patience.

Here are 5 reasons I love CrossFit:

1. It challenges me.

CrossFit challenges me not only physically, but mentally as well as I’ve mentioned. I have always had anxiety around not ‘being great’ at something immediately, so doing something like this, that I am for sure not naturally great at, is combatting that need to be great at something on my first try.

2. The people.

Hands down, one of the biggest benefits to starting CrossFit has been getting to know the coaches and other athletes at the gym. Being able to connect with people who have similar goals and are working on the same things as you, is incredibly valuable. Not only do I get to go to the gym and work on my weaknesses, but I get to have fun and laugh while I do it.

3. It’s varied.

CrossFit is defined as, ‘constantly varied functional movements performed at a high intensity.’ With CrossFit, you’re not stuck doing the exact same thing over and over again. There are so many movements to work on and learn. You’re not pigeonholed into the exact same workout again and again. It keeps my brain stimulated by changing and being so varied.

4. It’s just plain fun.

To me, CrossFit is just plain fun in itself. Getting to climb up a rope, jump rope, or swing on a bar, I find myself just smiling and enjoying what my body is able to do. And, enjoying watching the progress I make each time I return to certain movements.

5. Something new.

CrossFit is something new to me. It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before, and that’s exciting and keeps me motivated.

So I fell in love with CrossFit. That doesn’t mean that CrossFit is the right choice and perfect fit for everyone. Movement and fitness are different for everyone. Find something that you love and fits with your lifestyle, don’t just do what everyone else is doing. Do you live biking? Hiking? Yoga? Great! Don’t feel as though you need to limit yourself to one thing, just go out and do what you love and challenges you.