I was in love with Crossfit until I was no longer in love with Crossfit.
In October, I hit a wall. After 5 months of Crossfit, my body was in a lot of pain, I was having a lot of difficulties completing even scaled workouts and sticking within their time caps. I hurt my shoulder a few months prior and the nagging pain improved with mobility exercises, but I’d end up reinjuring it every time I tried to do burpees or other movements too quickly. While modifying was an option, I was encouraged to see a doctor so I could keep going to Crossfit.
I didn’t want to exercise and have to see doctors to make sure I could still exercise. Physical therapy was the exact kind of doctor’s appointment I was trying to avoid by putting my health and fitness as a priority. I wanted to work out so I could be healthier, not be injured and see even more doctors.
I wanted to quit, but I didn’t want to be a quitter. I decided to take a month off and the owners were great about it. Then I felt guilty and quickly got back into Crossfit within a day or two off. I didn’t want to leave the community. I was nervous about what my game plan would be to stay fit. In addition, the idea of taking a month off to go back just sounded daunting at the time. I didn’t want to go back to work harder after losing fitness. Chris also didn’t want me to quit, so I kept on.
I started Crossfit in May. I joined via a two-month Groupon deal, but I had heard lots of positives about the box I was going to go to. With two auto-immune inflammatory diseases now added into my life, I wanted to push my body to stay healthy, but I may have pushed it a bit too far too fast.
I loved the adrenaline rush of Crossfit, the community environment, and within two months I decided to figure out how to make it fit our budget. I was hooked, it was hard, but I felt so blasted after every workout and I started to gain upper body strength I never had before.
Then, by August, I had encouraged Chris to start doing Crossfit as well, and he was instantly hooked after a few nauseating workouts.
Side note: He still goes and I encourage him to do so, but he’s gotten injured once as well. I’m so glad he’s found something that encourages him to keep pushing himself physically. He’s never been a regular gym guy, so this works well for him. I, on the other hand, have always been a gym rat, so this was outside my norm and wasn’t always needed to motivate me.
What I love about Crossfit:
- Community: I’ve never worked out in group classes before, nor was a part of a gym where I ever talked to anyone. The box I was a part of was full of amazing people who encouraged you in positive ways to push hard and go past your limits. I made a lot of new friends there that I hope to stay connected with after.
- Coaches: The coaches I worked with were very knowledgeable. I never felt that I wasn’t being paid attention to or that my form or quality of workouts were suffering. They always wanted you to bring your best and do your best.
- Facility: The location was great, right near the beach, which made riding my scooter to work out a bonus! The runs were on safe sidewalks or low traffic roads, and the equipment was top notch and in good working order.
- Classes: They offered two different workouts each day. There was a regular Crossfit program and then a Sweat program. I typically went to the Sweat program, though many people said that was often the harder of the two. I had more interest in endurance for future goals, but also when I tried the regular classes I didn’t love Olympic lifting as much as the next gal.
- Programming: It was definitely “you never know what you’re going to get” kind of program. I believe that’s the basis of Crossfit with overall functional workouts. Some times I didn’t love the workout, but I kept to my schedule of Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday regardless. It definitely kept your body guessing.
After I stuck it out for October, I felt so drained. My body hurt. Regular life just was getting difficult to handle. Over the summer I rarely went paddleboarding or did anything physical so I could save up energy for Crossfit. I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t do more regular movement while I was in the midst of this workout regimen. Here I was getting fit to be more active, and I was way less active because of my fitness routine…
I was doing Crossfit 3-4 days per week, but anything less than that would be a lot of money wasted in my opinion compared to lesser expensive workout alternatives. The price is cost-prohibitive to take a week off or workout less than 3 days per week. If it was less expensive, I’d love to drop in 1-2x per week or take time to do other things but that isn’t how the pricing works.
In November, I had already paid for the month and I am one to honor my financial commitments, so I reached out to cancel my membership while planning to finish out the month. I did finish out November, but the relief came so nicely in the last week when I did a few open gym workouts and quietly made my exit. My body was spent, my mind was tired.
What I don’t like about Crossfit:
- Unknown: I wasn’t able to get into a regular workout routine outside of my 3-4 Crossfit classes per week. If I tried to run longer distances at a slower pace, that would ruin me for a surprise running sprinting workout the next day. I had a hard time not knowing what to expect for the week ahead to plan accordingly or enjoy an activity in the summer without fear I’d be drained before my workout.
- Speed/Time: A lot of workouts are for time. I know I worked hard at the start to stay focused on quality form, but I was always last. After a while, it was frustrating to be last for every single workout. I would push myself faster, but my form would suffer. My choice, of course, but my ego was always taking a beating.
- Groups: I realized over time that I loved the solace of running solo. I rarely worked out alone with Crossfit, so it was difficult for me to zone out like I would on long runs and find my “me” time and meditate while exercising. I loved the people, but I’m also an introvert and oftentimes would rather have worked out alone (and sometimes did the workouts at Open Gym if I could make the schedule work).
- Schedule: The box I was a part of had a LOT of class times and open gym times, but having kids meant I had to work around my husband’s schedule and the kids in order to get my workouts in each week. This was good in that it forced me into a regular habit of scheduling time for my health, but it also made it frustrating to be unable to work out when Chris works extra nights, etc. I sometimes needed to be able to just workout at a random time of the day.
- Weightloss: I never lost any weight doing Crossfit, which was part of the goal when I started. Surely, I gained a ton of muscle and definitely built more of an upper body, but the scale never budget (and even increased). I lost more weight once I started to work with a nutritionist this fall. Also, I can eat more carbs if I work out more often, include more cardio, and do the other things I enjoy 😉
- Inflammation: At various points, I hit walls. My body was spent. Everything hurt. My Mom often reminded me that I do have inflammatory diseases that intense exercise can make worse. I didn’t want to believe that, but in the end, it is kind of what happened.
I realize the things I dislike about Crossfit aren’t anything against Crossfit. It just wasn’t fitting for my life during this time. All of those things would’ve been a non-issue had I had no desire for long-distance races, or planned to go all in and compete in Crossfit, etc. Even the schedule, without kids, would’ve been a piece of cake to make it to a class all the time. Our box had childcare during certain classes, but it was an added expense for me and being so outside my comfort zone on the cost was a lot for me, especially once Chris joined in, too.
Back to my story…
By the end of November, I was working hard to find a replacement as I had built a nice habit and routine of regular weekly workouts I haven’t done in years since before my second kiddo, Crab, came along. I’ve always worked out, but it’s been sporadic and irregular throughout the year.
I racked my brain for alternatives. I truly wanted to work toward weight loss and distance running. I actually missed running, but long slow running. Crossfit is a lot of sprinting which I’ve never been good at. (Ironically though, it prepared me for what I’m doing now.)
I started working with a nutritionist in the middle of October and lost ten pounds already within the first month. I lost more with nutrition than hard CF workouts (we all know nutrition is 80% of the battle). It felt good to finally make progress, but my body was taking a beating otherwise.
Chris suggested I find a new gym or place to go outside of the house. I went to visit the regular gyms (all of which I have worked out at over the last decade or so), but I just didn’t love the vibes. There was a reason I left globo-gyms years ago to workout at home. I explored tons of other class-type work out options, pricing, etc.
Nothing compared to my Crossfit box. If I could’ve signed up to just go use their CF equipment without the classes at any time of the day not just during open gym, I’d do it. It was just a safe, wonderful environment!
I wanted to save money, but also stay fit in some way. I signed up for a Groupon deal for Vinyasa Hot Yoga for 15 classes. I went to one class so far, and I loved it. I held my passes for after Crossfit was over to bide my time for a month of workouts if I didn’t figure out another plan. I do plan to use them, but I don’t feel the pressure to need to find an outside class anymore to go to. As I continued to explore my options I came across something different to try, for free, for a month:
I’ll share more on my Peloton experience soon (no, I did not buy any of their expensive equipment, but I have a hack :). So far, I’ve worked out 4-5 days per week, feel great doing it, and have been reaching some fitness goals like running faster than I ever did before. I’m motivated, and it’s not going to break my piggy bank by any means. It’s sustainable, and I can do it at home, any time, with my kids there or not!
Do I feel the same blasted feeling from Crossfit? No.
Do I feel like I’m still getting a great workout and I am being even more active in my daily life? Yup.
All of this was to say that I loved loved loved Crossfit, but at times I don’t think my body or my mind was made for it. It’s an amazing workout. The community is awesome. This was just my experience, and I am sure in the future I’ll dip back in here and there to do a Murph or another crazy challenge.
Crossfit showed me that I’m more capable than I thought I was and that I can push myself further, harder, and do more than I could fathom. For that, I’m thankful, as I’ve taken what I’ve learned into the next chapter. The coaches were inspiring and it was so wonderful to be a part of a fitness-focused community. Luckily, I haven’t left our box completely, because I’m still part of the CF family with Chris going there 🙂
Crossfit is great. I’ll always have good memories of it and I learned my limits as well. I think everyone should try it for a few weeks to see what it’s like. You’ll learn about yourself, your body, and how to be stronger for sure. And you can always do it at home, or anywhere!
For now, my body feels a thousand times better with less inflammation after two weeks of this change. My anxiety about working out has diminished, as I am in charge of my weekly workouts and can plan ahead. My schedule looks more like Mon-Wed-Fri for strength, and Tues-Thurs-Sat/Sun for cardio via treadmill or cycling. I also add in stretching, warm-ups, cooldowns, and yoga now a lot more, too! I’m starting to consider some big hairy running goals again, too.
Your Turn. Do you do Crossfit? Did you love it? Hate it? Was it too expensive for you or fit easily into your budget? Does it motivate you?