It’s one of my favorite times of the year in CrossFit world! Tomorrow is the start of the CF Games Regionals events. Every weekend for the next few weekends, athletes across the world will compete in several events testing their fitness to qualify for a spot at the CF Games (this is like the Olympics for CrossFitters). So, if you need me in the next few weekends, I’ll be sitting on the couch with my eyes glued to the TV watching everyone get their fitness on.
If you know me at all, you know a huge part of my life is CrossFit. I have been CrossFitting since August 2013 (holy crap, that’s almost 4 years!!! Gees, time sure has flown by!). I first heard about CF from one of my best friends, Allison, who was an avid CrossFitter. When I started at Kremers, I found out that Josh did CF, so I would go into the lab every day and ask what his workout was going to be, laugh in his face at how hard it sounded and how I would never be able to do anything like that, then walk out. It wasn’t until I went up to Chicago to be Allison’s date for her brother’s wedding that I finally got a drink of the Kool-Aid. We did a “deck of cards” workout in the hotel involving handstand push-ups, sit-ups, and air squats. While I struggled through the workout, doing HSPU off the bed (very scaled) and going slow as molasses, I watched Allison bust through the workout with ease (she might have been struggling, but to me she was a goddess). I was so sore for the following week, it hurt to sneeze or laugh… I. was. Hooked. Josh and I are beyond blessed to be a part of the community at CF Ripcord, where he coaches and we both attend classes. Some people may not understand why CF is such an important aspect of my life, so I’ve come up with a list of reasons exactly why I love it so much.
- It lead me to my husband. Josh and I knew each other from work, but it was really only in passing. When I began CF, I saw him for a few hours every day at the gym and we began spending more and more time together. We would do the 5 pm class together, then decide we both needed to stay to watch and cheer on the 6 pm class…which was totally unnecessary, but gave us more time together. It only took me about 5 months to realize we were going to be more than friends and now we’ve been married for almost 2 years!
- It has boosted my confidence. I walked into CF very hesitant. I wasn’t friends with anyone and I was not athletic at all. I was manager of the swim team and statistician for the basketball team. Let’s just say those aren’t very physical positions. I had never touched a barbell, done a pull-up, or ran a 5k. There was so much I had never done. But each day I learned something new and pushed myself and now I do things I never imagined possible before- such as bar muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, and olympic lifting. Before CF, I would work out in baggy PE shorts and a t-shirt. Now, I’m proud to wear booty shorts and a sports bra around and show off the hard work I’ve put in. I love that I have thicker legs and muscley arms all because of CF!
- It has made me stronger physically. Like I said previously, I was not athletic. Doing CF has pushed me more than I could have imagined. I started out not being able to do one push-up or pull-up, let alone lift a 35# barbell properly. With a lot of drills, progressions, and coaching I can now do a set of 20 push-ups, sets of strict pull-ups, and lift a barbell over my head that weighs more than me!
- It has given me another family. This community surrounding CF is one of the most encouraging and supportive I’ve ever been a part of. Walking into CF for the first time is so intimidating, but you realize very quickly that everyone is there to get stronger and be their best. You never have to push yourself through a challenging workout alone. Someone is always there to coach you, cheer you on, and pick you up when you’re having a rough day. I truly have made some lifelong friends through CF and can’t imagine my life without them.
- It helps me stay healthy and be prepared for life. Before CF, I felt like I was in decent shape. I used to run on the treadmill and do P90X. I soon realized, I was not in shape at all! CF has helped me become stronger and healthier. Functional movement is what CF is all about. These movements have made me more efficient and have helped prevent injuries in my everyday activities. Something as simple as sitting down at your desk involves squatting which we do almost daily in some form in our workouts. Picking up a bag of dog food is similar to a clean. CF has also lead me to a healthier diet. I now eat to fuel my body and recover properly, not just shove my face full of whatever food is available. I feel better, workout better, have more energy, and look better all because of CF!
- It allows me opportunities to travel. There are CF gyms and competitions around the entire world. I have traveled as far as Los Angeles for the Games and Miami for Wodapalooza to watch people compete. This summer, we’re traveling up to Madison, Wisconsin for the Games. It’s such a great experience to travel to a new place, meet new people who are just as passionate about CF as you are, and discover new cultures and communities.
- It has made made me competitive. Having not participated in sports throughout high school or college, I didn’t know I was capable of being competitive. It’s not even about being competitive with the other people in the gym, but more so pushing you against yourself. It’s exciting to see a workout be programmed again and to push yourself to lift a heavier weight or put up a faster time. And while it’s not about beating the person next to you, it is so much more fun to have a friend beside you that is at a similar skill level to push you to finish fast and strong.
- It makes me work on my weaknesses, while maintaining my strengths. There are so many movements in CF and every workout is different. There is no way to only do movements that you are good at or that you like. There will come a time when something is programmed that you can’t do or don’t like to do. Those workouts show you what you’re really made of. Instead of pouting or skipping class, I choose to perform drills and do progressions working up to that movement. And then when I finally can do that movement, I feel so proud that I worked on my weakness and didn’t let it get me down.
- It takes me out of my comfort zone. Do you think climbing a 15 foot rope or walking upside down on your hands isn’t scary? Well, you’re probably crazy, but that’s ok. They’re scary to me (along with a few other movements), but I still try them. I love that CF pushes me to do “scary” things and even if I fail, I had the courage to at least try and someday I will succeed.
- It is an awesome stress reliever. Throwing some heavy weight around, sweating, working hard, surrounded by a bunch of awesome people has helped me out on several crappy days like nothing else could. Let’s be real that even on an awesome day, going into the gym can improve my mood.
I am so blessed for all that I’ve gained through CrossFit and I absolutely can’t wait to see where it leads me in the future! Here’s to staying fit, hitting new goals, and building a bigger booty!