Conquering CrossFit, Pt. 1: Finding my inner Iron(wo)man

When my co-workers first suggested I try CrossFit, I immediately Googled it. Seemed simple enough, so I agreed to participate. Then someone sent me this video and asked, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Watching the video made me exhausted, as well as anxious, and then a little nauseous. As you know from my previous posts, I have zero upper body strength. I can’t even do a push up. How would I be able to climb ropes, lift heavy weights, and do crazy hand stands on rings?

I decided to go for it. I signed up to take Elements at CrossFit Center City. The Elements class is the prerequisite six classes you must take before you start your regular CrossFit sessions. Over two weeks, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, I’d be dedicating an hour before work to the CrossFit gods. I told myself this will be the most hardcore, challenging thing I have ever done, but it will be worth it in the end.

I walked into the CrossFit gym for the first time while a class was still going on. Each of the participants looked like they were doing different exercises and running around. They were all very sweaty.

Yikes! What did I get myself into?

Chris, our coach, introduces himself to all five of us taking the class. Right off the bat, I like how this is a more intimate setting. I was already nervous, so this helps calm me down a bit. The class itself is structured; it’s broken up into 5 different sections.

Self-Myofascial Release (SMR)

We begin every class with the SMR, which are different massages that help reduce pain in your muscles. We use rollers on our back and legs. My favorite was when we used a lacrosse ball to massage our feet. (I may carry one around with me when I wear heels!) I have proof that SMR is great to start with because while I had usual aches and pains the next day, they weren’t nearly as bad as I expected.

Mobility

With this warm up, we are typically working our joints, spine, hips, knees, or shoulders. This could include hip thrusts or laying flat on your back and kicking your legs from side to side.

Dynamic Warm-up

Next, we perform various stretches. These aren’t you run-of-the-mill lunges. We stretch muscles I never knew I had! The Spiderman is one of my favorites.

Skill work

We always learned some sort of skill that is essential to CrossFit, whether it was box jumps, double-under rope jumps, kettle bell lifts, erg rowing, dumbbell press, or Olympic-style weight lifts. These were always pretty challenging, but Chris was very patient while teaching us, breaking down each movement slowly so that we got the most out of the skill.

Metcon

For me, this was always the toughest part of the workout. It combined elements from skill work and warm ups and added in endurance and aerobics. You need to have lots of stamina and strength to complete this part of the workout. By the end, maybe even halfway through, you feel like you may pass out or get sick, but the feeling doesn’t last, and in the end, you feel so accomplished for finishing.

It’s hard to fit six classes into a single blog post. You’ll have to wait until next time to see what I really thought, but you can save $25 on the CrossFit Elements class today if you are a fan of IBX’s Facebook page.