September 11, 2015

Six Things You Learn from CrossFit

I don't hate trendy things.

I mean, c'mon, I'm a blogger who likes to brunch. I Instagram sunsets and use "brunch" as a verb. I'm basically one PSL away from total internet conformity.

So when Derrick teased me for starting CrossFit (which he thinks is an unforgivably trendy thing to do), I didn't really care. Sure, I could have done without him reaching for the milk with a "CrossFit refrigerator squat" but I like what I like; I can't help if half of America likes it too.

And I do like it. I've been going to a local CrossFit box regularly for about a month now, and I actually like it more and more each time I go. I like the the people, I like the workouts, I like the variety and the intensity. And I just sort of like saying things like "WOD."

Don't get me wrong; I still have a special place in my heart for running. That feeling you get when you PR in the 5K? If you've felt it, you know what I'm talking about. But the road to that PR sucks. It's many, many hours and many, many more miles doing the same thing. Over and over. And over and over and over and over. And just when you think you're "getting variety" with a track workout, you're not really varying anything: you're doing the same thing, only faster.

With CrossFit, you can still work toward that PR; you can squat a weight you've never squatted before or do more pull-ups than you've ever done. (Which in my case, would be one.) But the workouts aren't just the same thing at different speeds; every workout is different, and they generally all make me want to puke.

(I like what I like, OK?)

It's also fun to be learning new things, like how to do a snatch (and how to say that word with a straight face). So in the name of learning and questionably named exercise moves, I thought I'd let you all know about some of the other things you learn when you're WOD-ing.


1. How weak you really are.
Ever since I made the JV soccer team my freshman year of high school, I've had it in my head that I am a pretty decent athlete. And I am unquestionably decent, like Moe's is an unquestionably decent Mexican fast food joint.

But going into the CrossFit box is like experiencing Chipotle after a long spell of Moe's. For example, when the RX for a workout is 95# (in English: you're supposed to use 95 pounds of weight for the workout), I'm in the corner alone struggling with my 35-pound bar while the big burritos around me are pushing around weights more than half my size.

It's good motivation, but also makes you feel like a Joey Bag of Donuts.

2. Another language.
It was only a few days ago that I could finally read the WOD (workout of the day) without using Google. I'm not sure why CrossFitters are so adamant about their acronyms; it's not like doing a 10 min. EMOM of 35# KBS and HSPU makes it any easier, you know what I'm saying?

3. How you've been doing a squat wrong your whole life.
As a runner, a former JV soccer player, and a somewhat engaged participant in gym class, a squat to me has always been a movement similar to sitting in a chair that isn't there.

Not the case in CrossFit.

I mean, I guess it's sort of like sitting in a chair. But the chair is made for someone who's up to your shinbone. Because in CrossFit, a squat doesn't count unless you get your butt down past your knees. "Below parallel," if you will. It makes me wonder what else I learned wrong in the seventh grade gym.

4. How to count under pressure.
Sure, you think you know how to count. But get three rounds into seven rounds of 400 meter run, 5 push-ups, 7 burpees, and 21 lunges, and then see how your math is.

And just to make matters worse, sometimes you're CONFIDENT you've got this counting thing down... and then CrossFit throws you a curveball. Like when I was parading around the kitchen telling Derrick how I did a shoulder press with 75 pounds... only to learn the next day that my bar was 20 pounds lighter than I had believed. Damnit, math.

6. And further, that counting is hard.
But irony is not.