31 Mar 2015

The Truth About CrossFit

Open Workout 15.5 (scaled)
Calorie Rows + Thrusters 20kg  
27-21-15-9 reps for time

It's been a little over a year since I started CrossFit. I am one of the converted who now loves it, but I thought I'd share some real truths about the sport. 

1. It's All Mental
Coming into CrossFit I thought it was all about making muscles and becoming stronger .... It is. But the greatest challenge is the mental side of it. The actual workouts aren't that long, usually anything between 10-20 minutes. Sure there's a few challenging movements but you think to yourself, 'Yeh I can do this, I can keep up'. Then a few minutes (or seconds) into the work out and you're having doubts. Your body wants to stop already. For me its telling myself to keep going when I hit that point, or not letting the fear of pain, failure or doubt stop me from performing. 

2. It's Not Glamourous
Sure you'll start to see tone and definition as your body becomes stronger, but one thing I didn't realise is, achieving this comes at a price. Practicing moves takes it toll on your body. There are the shin grazes, collar bone bruises, rope burns and my favourite ... hand calluses. Then there's the risk of serious injury if you're not careful, and completing the moves with proper form.

3. It's Not Cheap
CrossFit is one of the most expensive fitness past times going at the moment. I go four times a week because if I didn't, it wouldn't be worth the money I pay for it. Why is it so expensive? My opinion, cause its still very new. But respecting all competition sports, you do pay a little more to play in competition environments. Thinking back when I played in basketball comps, it wasn't cheap. With fees for individual registration, team registration, court fees and uniforms.

4. You're Always Sore
CrossFit is a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training) so you're doing movements which shoots your heart rate levels really high, for a short period of time. It involves various cardio, weight lifting, and gymnastics type of movements. No two workouts are the ever the same, (except the prescribed bench mark workouts) so you're body is always in shock, always tested and unfortunately usually always sore.

It seems all I discussed were the negatives, so what do I enjoy about CrossFit? 

Changed My Body Image Perception
Prior to CrossFit I was obsessed with a number on the scales. All I cared about was losing the X number of kilos I put on when I was pregnant. Now, I don't care. I don't even get on the scales. I now understand and appreciate muscle mass, therefore the numbers on the scales are just a guide for me, instead of being my compass. I'm no longer wanting to be thinner, I want to be stronger. I am now drawn to a different body physic which, you can't achieve without carrying on some weight.

Learning New Skills
There are an array of movements in CrossFit and for me, it's going to take time to be able to even do them all. That's what I love about it. I don't know how to do everything yet, so there's so much to learn and to develop from, so its never boring and always challenging. I just want to practice and learn the skills as much as possible. The upside to it is at the same time I'm either losing weight, building up strength and or toning my body. I don't focus on the exercise component anymore, to me its just a bonus to the skills I'm learning. I'm actually a little disappointed when the WOD (work out of the day) is mostly cardio based.

Best Shape Ever
I've never seen my body transformed like this before. Sure I'm no where near '5% body fat and all muscle', but I have some muscle mass now compared to never having so previously. I touch my arms all the time cause I'm amazed by the muscle I can feel there now. Sure I've been thinner before, but I've never been this strong. I see some muscle tone on my back, I've never seen my deltoids and traps before, my quads are bigger and I don't mind. My core is stronger with little abs appearing, even when I brush my teeth my little biceps wants to say hi!

Good Vibes Only
Like I've mentioned, CrossFit is actually mostly mental. The same mental skills and emotions you battle at the box is easily applicable in life. Being a parent, a stay at home mum, living in this day and age where everything is instantly accessible, its so easy to let things around you affect you. The mental place I need to be when I do CrossFit I also channel outside the box. I know when to shut down thoughts of fear and doubt, as well as be more positive and optimistic about situations.

I've said previously anyone can do CrossFit and I still believe that now but, I probably wouldn't suggest CrossFit if you've done no form of exercise for awhile. The workouts are a shock to your body so you may end up having a poor experience - but you may be the exception and enjoy the pain. CrossFit is also fitting if you're naturally competitive, or have, or currently doing some form of sport. You will enjoy the competitive component of the sport. They say in CrossFit you're really competing against yourself, and you are. You want to beat your previous personal best or time, and or complete more reps unbroken. 

So I guess you're keen to see some before and after photos of me. Ha! I'm not going to share any on here, and admittedly I didn't take many photos of myself when I first started doing CrossFit. I wish I took some measurements of myself when I started, cause I don't know how many inches I've lost in various parts of my body. I have lost 9 kilos though and I'm pretty proud of that.

I just finished competing in my first CrossFit Opens and I'll share my experience and how I went in that in a future post.

If you'd like to know more or have any questions feel free to pop me an email, I'm more than happy to any questions you may have about CrossFit or more about my personal experience.

Linking up with Jess
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