Sunday, February 26, 2017

My First Year as A Crazy CrossFitter


When clients used to ask me about CrossFit I would always give a huffed response like yeah go try it and when you get injured go ahead and come back to me. I had never actually been to a CrossFit gym or even taken a class. My response was based solely on my experience as a massage therapist, where I had known a handful of people, who had got injured through CrossFit.

I remember one day, a few years ago, getting in an argument with a waiter at a restaurant who was also a friend and a CrossFit coach. Finally he said, "Look Anna, CrossFit doesn't hurt people, bad coaches hurt people".

I shut down my gym in October 2015 for various reasons. I hardly worked out from October to January. I felt so tired and so burnt out. Well and then I couldn't fit into my pants so I knew my fitness vacation was over. One of my old clients had told me they started going to this gym called ShambaFit. She said the workouts were crazy hard but that the instructor always made sure she was doing things right or would modify things for her. All of this (and the desire for my clothes to fit again) peaked my interest and I headed over for a free class.

I decided on the drive over I was going to keep the fact that I had been a personal trainer under cover. I wanted to just be a regular person. I was also slightly intimidated by the bars and the idea of Olympic lifting. I realized quickly that ShambaFit was kind of a sneaky cover of a Crossfit style gym and workout.

Right away I can tell you that I knew coach Jake and I were going to get along. As an under cover trainer he did all the right things. He was engaged in the workouts, made modifications for things I couldn't do, always would check in with me, and most importantly went over basics and correct form (especially on heavy lifts).

A few months in, my old clients, friends and family were laughing and shaking their heads at me. I can't believe you're doing CrossFit after how much you hated on it. Calm down everyone!! I made a mistake LOL! A year ago I told Brad, "Don't worry I won't become one of those crazy CrossFit people. Then a few days ago I told Brad,"Yeah, so I'm gonna be home late for a few Fridays because I signed up to compete in the CrossFit Games Opener.

All that being said here are somethings I have learned in the past year from my ShambaFit experience:

1. Find the right coach: This is key. Jake cares about his clients. He has a way to push you right to the edge of your limitations even when you want to roll your eyes and say no. Along with a knowing of when to hold you back.

2. Find the right gym: It seems that different coaches and different gyms attract certain types of people. I don't mean this is a good or bad way but like attracts like.

3. Lifting heavy is EMPOWERING: As a woman (or maybe for anyone) it feels so empowering to be able to lift a super heavy weight that I at first think there is no way I can do that. That attitude has filtered out into all aspects of my life this year. It's amazing to think that a workout style could effect my whole life but it has.

4. The workouts are mentally challenging: The Navy Seals have a saying "If it doesn't suck we don't do it". Some of these workouts take you to that point. You have to dig deep and really go outside yourself.

5. This shit works: Jake said to me a few days in - if you can find another workout style that works as good as Crossfit than go for it but I haven't seen anything as effective. There is a method to all the madness. Every workout is different. So simple explanation: your body never has a chance to get bored and comfortable with what is going on. That in turn means it has to work harder thus burning more calories and making more muscles.

6. Keeping scores: Almost all the workouts are times and scored. I thought at first this was a little silly but after being there for a year its fun to see how far I have come. The other day I did a workout and Jake said when you did this a year ago you did it with 25 lbs and today you just crushed that with 65 lbs. Are you listening? This shit works!

7. You gotta listen to your body: It's probably easier for me to say that than most, since I have some education in both massage and personal training. But inevitably there is going to be a time when you need to rest instead of push. There is a fine line between knowing when you're being lazy and when your on the verge of a potential injury. That nagging little pain? Listen to it! Foam roll ,stretch, do yoga, get massages - do your at home care as religiously as your workouts!

8. Instant family of support: I have done a lot of group sports in my life: gymnastics, karate, dance, skydiving, triathlons but there is definitely something different about this gym and this group of people.  No matter what your time is, or your max lift, or PR you're always going to have someone rooting for you in your corner. I have made some life long friends that I know have my back inside or outside the gym. Maybe there is something about doing these workouts that push you to your absolute limit, that we are all suffering and surviving together that creates this unique bond.

So when I came home late on Friday, I told my husband, "I'm sorry but I lied to you. I'm totally going to be one of those crazy CrossFitters." To which he replied, "Ok but don't get hurt". LOL