Here lately I am all about trying new things. I am constantly asking myself how I can step outside the box and push myself towards my goals in new ways. Well, apparently in order to step outside the box, I need to step inside a box. Apparently “box” is the colloquial CrossFit term for gym. Earlier this week I looked online at different CrossFit facilities in my area. CrossFit KTown is one relatively close to campus that has many different classes throughout the day. After calling and finding out that the first class is always free, I signed up.
Before going into this, I was extremely nervous. After reading so many fitness bloggers who do CrossFit it just seemed like something I would never even try. I can’t do a pull up, I can barely do a girly modified pushup, I don’t have toned muscle, etc. Those were the excuses I kept telling myself. But it wasn’t like I was paying to be there and if I truly hated it then I could always leave. After initially walking in I was greeted by a super friendly guy named Caleb who was the coach. I told him how it was my first time and I was simply there to try something new. He had me fill out a waiver and as I was doing that a few people came into the box for their workout. They looked nice and no one looked intimidating so I knew I was in for a good morning.
The workout of the day (WOD) was posted on the whiteboard and it might as well have been written in Chinese. I probably could have understood it better that way. Caleb walked me through the warm up. I used a PVC pipe to do a few stretches and moves. One thing on the list was “dislocates” which is essentially being in a super low squat position while bringing the pipe over behind you then down in front of you. He had me reposition my feet and I literally fell over. I was too proud to let go of the pipe as I was falling so I looked like a baby learning to walk and falling flat on my booty. What a way to start the day. The warm up wasn’t bad at all but those bear crawls sure did get my arms to burning.
The WOD had us doing a 40 minute session of working our way up to a 1 rep maximum on the overhead squat. I was not entirely sure of how to do this at first so we started with a PVC pipe again and worked our way up from there. There were only four others in the glass with me (2 guys and 2 girls) and we all started out at a comfortable weight and did two-three reps each then got to where we would only do one rep per weight increase. Being the weakling that I am, I started with a 25 bound barbell and worked up from there. I eventually got to have 15 pound plates on each side which would make me at a 55 pound overhead squat. Caleb made the comment that I got better form and better reps with each weight increase which is apparently not something that happens often which really surprised me. He had me stop at 55 pounds since it was my first time.
After the strength portion of the workout ended, we moved on to Metcon. I still do not know what Metcon even stands for but our goal for today was to do a round and then repeat it as many times as possible. I think the appropriate CrossFit slang is AMRAP or As Many Rounds As Possible. Our round today had three high intensity exercises: a 200m run, a pull up, and a 1 rep deadlift. Since I am new and not strong at all, they had me do Ring Rows which is an alternate to the pushup. That basically is standing under the rings with your body parallel to the floor and pulling yourself up (kinda like the TRX systems a lot of people have). My weight for deadlift was 65 pounds which felt light. We had 15 minutes to complete AMRAP and I ended up completing six whole rounds and had just finished my 200m run when the 15 minute bell rang. Not too shabby for a beginner but I’m sure some people can do crazy amounts of rounds or do the real pull up and a heavier deadlift.
To cool down we all hit the rowing machine. After my stint at collegiate rowing I would never consider an erg to be a cool down but it worked. I was sweating bullets by the end of the hour. I met a fantastic lady (can’t for the life of me remember her name) who used to be a high school English teacher which is what I’m going to graduate school for. She was so very kind and encouraging. Her first ten weeks of CrossFit allowed her to go from a size 18 to a size 6 which was obviously jaw dropping. After she lost that weight she got pregnant and just recently got back into CrossFit to work off the post baby weight. I am so thankful she was there and gave me such encouraging words.
Something about CrossFit that surprised me was that no one is paying attention to you. The coach is constantly giving you advice and correcting your form and giving you motivation but everyone else could care less. They aren’t looking at how much weight you are lifting or if you are struggling to do a pull up. This was fantastic since I have a slight fear of working out in front of others. On the Metcon segment everyone was cheering for one another and really being uplifting to help each other complete the workout. Camaraderie like that is hard to find.
Overall I was extremely pleased with the class. At this time it is a little pricey for my fresh college graduate budget and there isn’t a CrossFit close enough to where I actually live to make that money worthwhile. But I am extremely glad I stepped outside the box and into a real box to try something new. Totally not like me but a totally surreal experience. I’m proud of the work I put in today and it makes me excited to keep lifting and working hard even if it is not at a box.
I would encourage anyone to check out their local CrossFit box because most of them do offer the first class free and a lot of the ones around Knoxville have one class on Saturdays that is free to anyone, regardless of membership. It was a fantastic experience that I would not mind repeating.
Have you taken a CrossFit class before? Tell me your stories.