So, you want to try CrossFit. Let's talk about it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

If you're interested in learning more about CrossFit, this is for you. If you aren't sure about CrossFit, this might inspire you to give it a try. And if you aren't interested in CrossFit and are reading a post titled "So you want to try CrossFit. Let's talk about it." I can't help you. Today I'd like to tell you about my initial impressions of CrossFit, a few misconceptions, and what I wish I knew when I joined RNCF 6 months ago.

As you know, I love CrossFit, so it's been very exciting to receive emails and tweets from readers asking questions about it. I've also heard from readers and friends who have decided to give paleo and/or CrossFit a try. I love hearing that this blog has inspired people to change the way they take care of themselves. I would like to thank Gina (again) for inspiring me to try CrossFit. It has changed my life for the better in so many ways, and I am so glad I've gained this new lifestyle, a new best friend, and a whole new group of I am lucky to call my friends. Thanks, G. Love you so much! 

Before CrossFit, I tried every workout and diet under the sun. And I did it all because I wanted to be skinny. t was all about depriving myself of everything I thought I loved and trying to become something that didn't know I did not want to be. I went into more detail on this when I wrote about why I CrossFit. Things have changed so much the past 6 months. I work out and eat well to be healthy. Strong. In shape. To feel good. But skinny? Not what I'm going for. Yes, I have gotten smaller, look better, and feel better, too. But the way I view food and fitness is just so different now.

CrossFit is not for everyone, but if you're interested in giving it a try, you should commit to giving it a real chance before making a decision. Had I gone only once, I probably would have just given up. I was positive that I'd hate it and it was (and still is) very hard. You will be sore. It will push you. But it is also the most fun and rewarding workout I have ever tried. And this is coming from a girl who was never an athlete and never worked out for a month straight in her life. It has changed me.

Doing Curtis Ps a few months ago–that's only 35 lbs. Jen + Maxine are doing 55.

Paleo is awesome.  I am three weeks into the paleo challenge and feel fantastic. Minus the fact that I can only have 1 glass of red wine a day (I have had 4 glasses total in 3 weeks which is less than I'd have in a normal weekend), I do not feel restricted. And I've even learned to adjust to not drinking more than a glass a night on the weekends. I did cheat and had some vodka Halloween weekend, but a. we're allowed one cheat meal a week and b. it was a holiday. Two drinks felt like five. Alcohol really hits you when you're on the challenge. Like woah.

Learn the moves. Even if you're in shape, it is so important that you go over the proper form and sign up for an intro/basics program. There is a lot to learn and it takes a while to become familiar with all the CrossFit terms. And don't worry–the coaches go over everything before each WOD.

 CrossFitters coming together for Barbells for Boobs.

Don't overdo it. I never thought I'd say this about working out, but I would go to CrossFit every single day if I could. Most people go 3 days on 1 day off 4-5x a week. I have a very sensitive neck. I hold all my tension up there and overcompensate for weak muscles by over-using my shoulders, so I'm a mess right now. I have scaled back a bit and learned the importance of taking a rest day (or two). Listen to your body and don't overdo it.

It is not a competitive environment. I am still way behind most of my friends who have been at it much longer than I have, and never feel like there's any pressure to be "as good" as they are. Just last week, I got an 80 lb PR while Maxine and Gina got 109. They were just as excited for me as I was for them. It's all about showing up and doing what you can. It is an incredibly supportive and motivating environment.

Say goodbye to your pretty lady hands. I initially freaked out about this but have since embraced the baby calluses that have been forming on my palms. This was taken right after doing a bunch of kb swings, so my hands do not usually look this bad.

Buy a jump rope. I recommend buying your own rope to practice DUs (double unders). The most I've ever done is 3 in a row, and it was within a few days of buying my own rope. I also recommend buying CrossFit shoes as soon as you can. Makes lifting much easier. I only wear my Nikes on days when we do not lift.

Always pay attention when doing box jumps or you will probably fall and hurt yourself. This is especially true if you're a girl. I know of two other girls who have fallen on a box the past few months. Don't take your eyes off that damn box or this will happen to you.

You will not get bigger unless you lift like a crazy person and want to bulk up. I am down about 7 lbs from when I started but have gained muscle, and again–not really focused on the number as much as how I feel and the fact that my clothes fit differently. So many people have a misconception that you'll bulk up, but that is not the case.

CrossFit mixes things up. And it's fun. The time of each WOD varies, but we're always there for an hour. I usually show up a few minutes early to stretch on my own. We usually warm up with a 400m run, 500m row, or sometimes we'll do double unders. Then on to dynamic stretching and some sort of pre wod (we'll work on something, like a max back squat or push press). Then the WOD which can be anywhere from 6-30+ minutes). Last week we had 6, 7, and 8 min AMRAP (as many reps as possible) WODs. Then there are big cardio days where it's 5 rounds of xyz and it takes anywhere from 15-30 min.

The sense of community is bananas. My CrossFit friends are some of the best people I know. We WOD together, celebrate our birthdays together, the girls have ladies nights, and I think I've seen some (or most) of them every weekend. I really don't know what I did without them.

Celebrating Elizabeth's 30th! With Jessie, Colleen, Emily, Elizabeth, Bri, and Maxine.

Celebrating Megan and John running the marathon! With Amanda, Lindsey, Gina, Colleen, Megan, and Emily.

Megan, Kelsey, Gina, Jen, Amanda, Jessie, Colleen, Elizabeth. Maxine, and Sarah at my place last night.

Another thank you to my girls for coming over last night. The paleo potluck was so much fun and as you can see, little Buddy loved having all those ladies around.

It's really hard. Wall balls, burpees, HSPU (hand stand push ups–which I still do on the box because they're so hard), and double unders are the worst. Don't avoid them. Rowing killed me at the beginning and then I got much better at it, but some people hate rowing more than anything. Stick with it and you will get better. I promise. I am crazy competitive (with myself) and tend to become very frustrated when I can't do something. I've learned to just calm down and go with it. I am on the right path and that's all that matters.  

You are going to be sore the first few weeks–especially if you are as out of shape as I was. Even if you're in shape you'll probably be sore. It hurt to sit, walk, stand, or lay down. And in my case, it hurt to breathe for a while. But that didn't stop me. If I can handle the pain, you can too. Give it some time. You will adjust. And it will get much better. 

If you stick with it, you will feel better, stronger, and healthier than ever. Period.
I am so excited to have finally found what works for me and encourage you to find something that makes you feel this good. If you are in Chi and want to give CrossFit a try, the basics start at RNCF next week. And please email or comment with any Qs about CrossFit. Happy to help.


  1. Great post! I love Crossfit too, I have been doing it since May and I love going at least 3 to 4 days a week. It makes me feel better about myself and I am so glad I got into it. The community is amazing and I have met so many people through it. Love it!!!

  2. Love you D! What a great post, and thanks for all the love. I love you back, big time! I'm so glad we met, you have quickly become such a dear, lifelong friend! See you tonight! xo

  3. I love the intro to this post...I'm one of those that you probably can't help, BUT I know so many people who love CrossFit...and we actually have two studios here in Tahoe. I am such a wimp though...I am afraid I would just keel over and die! ;)

  4. Awesome. Thanks so much for sharing! I've been seriously thinking about CrossFit for a while, and your post answered a lot of my questions! xo Lacey

    1. Glad I could help. If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out!

  5. Great post! You should do a local Evergirl crossfit event at RNCF, so crossfitting Everygirls can meet for a WOD (RNCF isn't my closest CF gym, but I'd love to try another box and meet other CF girls!!).

    1. We've already discussed the possibility of this! Talking to the owner of RNCF!

  6. I'm so glad to read all of this. I got my husband a pass to a cross fit gym for his birthday and I hope he'll love it. I just found your site, so I don't know if you do this already, but you should share the paleo reciepes that you love.

  7. Great post D! I think I speak for all the ladies when I say we are blessed to have you in our lives too! So happy you joined the box and spread the love of it! XOXO! :)

  8. I started Crossfit in July and I love it! I too used to try every workout and diet out there to be 'skinny', but I have found that I like being and working to be strong so much more! Plus I got my bf to join as well and we have a ton of fun working out together now :)

  9. I've been thinking about Crossfit for a while now. I work in river north, so maybe I should drop in sometime soon!

  10. Omg girl you need some proper weight lifting gloves - I have fingerless ones and they're awesome for keeping those pretty lady hands!!

  11. Wow this could not have come at a better time! I did my first crossfit class on Monday and am sooooore. Second one is tonight so lets hope I make it!

  12. Thanks so much for sharing more about Crossfit- I have been considering it and it is great to hear more details about it. I would love to hear more about what you think of the Paleo diet (saw that you posted a recipe that I cant wait to try!)