Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

CrossFit: Stepping outside of one box, and into another

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

CrossFit: the response, to which, tends to be a spectrum ranging from an exuberant love of anything related to it (all hail the CULT-TURE of CrossFit) to a visceral disdain and fear of the sport. I can honestly say I was closer to the later.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love lifting. Theresa and I both have a competitive streak. We know equal amounts of people from both camps. Occasionally we would discuss trying CrossFit, joking that we would try to not laugh too hard at each other when we ended up featured on Gym Fails. We never pursued it though.

Opportunity knocked in the form of a Facebook post from Bob, a friend and the owner of CrossFit Glen Burnie. He was looking for Yoga Instructors and the idea sparked my interest. I have known Bob and his wife, Margaret, for ten plus years. We worked together at Gold’s gym, staying in touch when he left to open his business.

I contacted him, setting up a time to see what this whole CrossFit thing was about; if this was somewhere I would want to teach yoga. Knowing someone, especially the owner, helped remove a bit of the angst I was feeling going into an unknown experience. For someone that constantly touts taking a leap outside of your comfort zone, I needed to put words into action.

I have only seen the inside of two crossfit boxes; one in Florida and this one. While both have their own flavor, they were similar. Big, no frills open spaces. Pro military/first responders. Lots of equipment, stacks of bars, bumper plates, kettle bells, giant tires and a masochistic looking jungle gym with rings and bars in the center.

#gbconquer


Cullen broke squat clean thrusters into five manageable pieces, later putting them together in one fluid move. You pick up the bar, throw it up to your collarbone in a squat, then press the bar over your head as you stand up. We used PVC pipe to practice for 15 minutes as he walked around, tweaking our form. Once he was satisfied, we were then given five to ten minutes to figure out what weight we would use. The top weight for females with this exercise was 105 pounds. Since I had never done this before, I went with a conservative weight of 65. My fear was that I would either rip my arms out of their sockets or drop the bar on my head. My goal was to avoid both scenarios.

Next, Cullen demonstrated the first part of the WOD; box jump-overs and toes to bar.

I have a love hate relationship with box jumps. I’m pretty good at jumping, but fear face planting, loosing teeth, or skinning my shins. For those reasons, I chose a medium height box.

For Toes to Bar, you hang from a bar by your hands and then raise your legs to bring your toes up to the bar. You can swing up, but you want to come down under control. He shows us a couple times and the alternate knee tuck.

I thought these exercises were something I did ten million times as a kid; this shouldn't be too bad.

And just when I thought I was getting the hang of the Double-Under - SMACK right across my rear; serving me a slice of humble pie. Toes to Bar was no different. I am sure I looked pretty pathetic trying to figure out why my legs wouldn’t move that way, I managed to get two under extreme effort and a lot of cursing. I decided I would need scale this to complete it. I couldn’t help but giggle about a comment Theresa made to when I told her toes to bar, “if the bar is on the floor, I’m golden, other than that, forget it”.

Instruction and warm-up done, we prepared for the actual WOD. Five box jump-over, ten toes to bar (or knees up for me) AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) for five minutes. With the timer set, we set up our boxes next to the jungle gym. With a “Go” we started.

Instagram photo by CrossFit Glen Burnie * May 13, 2015 at 2:24pm UTC


I got four and a half rounds in before the timer went off. One girl face planted the jump and another guy actually did miss the box, gaining him a golf ball sized knot and bloody shin, which Bob and the trainer addressed quickly.

We had three minutes rest before doing the squat clean thrusters: AMRAP three min. You could rest when needed. In this, I finished completing a total of 22. It was intense. My heart rate rose up as high as any moderate to high intensity cardio. Then we were done.

Wow! Eleven minutes from start to finish of the actual workout. Slightly breathless, I was surprised at how I could feel the work out already. My arms were still attached to my body, no concussions or missing teeth: goal met.

After class, Bob and I talked a bit about cross fit and how Yoga could help many of the members with mobility and injury prevention. Then we parted ways. Bob said he’d get back to me regarding the job.

I left with not only a slightly changed view of CrossFit, but a very humbled view of my own abilities. I was always told that these workouts are what you make of them; they will also pull out your weaknesses and smack you with them like the jump rope.

Use that information to improve or not, the choice is up to you. I start next month.


Check out CrossFit Glen Burnie:


Love, Cindy
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