I stumbled on CrossFit in 2007. At the time, I was deeply involved in martial arts and looking for something to get me into better physical condition. I had taken up running and body building type weightlifting workouts four years before after my weight ballooned up to nearly 200 pounds (I’m 5’2″.)
I lost a lot of weight, but I also lost a lot of ligaments in my knees. Running didn’t agree with my body. A lot of running really didn’t agree with it. The same old weight lifting workouts bored me to tears.
Then one day a running blog I frequented had a story about Catra Corbett (aka Dirt Diva). Intrigued, I visited her website, where I found a picture of her and some friends tossing around gigantic medicine balls. “CrossFit” it said. I googled, I found the HQ site. I was blown away. I had never seen workouts like this. I had never even imagined they existed, let alone that anyone besides elite world class athletes would ever do them. I don’t remember the WOD (Workout of the Day) that was posted that day, but I’m pretty sure it had 100 pushups in it.
100 pushups? At one time? People do that?
The next day I attempted the WOD, which was “Elizabeth”. 21-15-9 reps of cleans and ring dips. I used a five pound medicine ball and did the dips off of a chair. I didn’t even last four minutes. As I lay on the floor in a puddle of misery and sweat, I thought “This is it!”
I plumbed the depths of the HQ site and found a gold mine of fitness information. I learned about cleans, presses, push presses, push jerks, snatches, deadlifts, squats, muscle ups, pull-ups, box jumps. I did the WODs. I watched the videos. I was hooked.
I plugged away on my own for almost two years, then an affiliate opened in my town. I reveled in working out with other people who loved it as much as I did. Then, three months ago the affiliate closed. I was back to the local globo gym to fend for myself.
The biggest difference (besides the lack of good equipment) that I noticed? The camaraderie. CrossFit cannot be beat for camaraderie. The only thing that comes close in my opinion is martial arts. At the CrossFit box you work, sweat and bleed shoulder to shoulder with your fellow classmates. People actually care whether or not you show up. They care when you deadlift five pounds more than you did two weeks ago. They stay and cheer for you when you are finishing a workout.
The globo gym? No one gives a shit about you, to put it bluntly. Heck, even the people that work at the front desk don’t give a shit about you. You can come, you can go, whatever. Everyone has their headphones on, watching TV mindlessly while they trudge along on the treadmill. It’s a shock to go back to that after having the close relationship with people at the CrossFit box.
Yes, I know that CrossFit is not perfect. I agree with a lot of the criticisms of it. I am familiar with the Couch Thread and I do think they have some valid points. If I had to pick someone to learn from, I would definitely choose Greg Everett over Greg Glassman any day of the week.
However, there are also a lot of good things about CrossFit and I do think they have changed the world of fitness in good, and profound way. I also think that a lot of the people who have a beef with CrossFit have a bad case of sour grapes. Can’t do the WOD? It must be stupid!
Having said that, I do think they have some problems they would be wise to address. For one, the lack of any kind of cycle or purpose in the training. For another, the lack of emphasis on strength training (which can go back to the issue of cycles or programming.) And of course, the cult-like, do not question my authority way the whole organization is run. Paleo is pseudo science? Yeah, right. Eating ding-dongs or Big Macs in the correct Zone proportions sounds more like pseudo science to me, and I’m not that smart.
I would not consider myself a CrossFitter anymore. However, CrossFit is a major tool in my toolbox. I would say that I am a seeker. To paraphrase Bruce Lee, “take what works, discard what does not.” A lot of CrossFit works, some of it does not. I will be forever grateful to CrossFit for introducing me to so many things I would have never learned about fitness other wise. Filthy Fifty? Never again. Elizabeth? Most definitely. Sled pulls and box jumps? Yes! High rep, high intensity Olympic weightlifting? Not so much.
Now, if I can just get someone at the globo gym to high five me after I hit a PR.
I won’t be holding my breath for that one.