Drinking the (CrossFit) kool-aid

Friday, November 22, 2013

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I've talked about CrossFit several times and usually not in a positive light.  Back when I first found out I was pregnant, my husband told me about this Groupon he had bought to do the Foundation level class at a local Crossfit facility.  I thought nothing of it.  He'll go to these two weeks of class and then go back to his regular routine at the gym because, well, we can't afford a $150 a month gym membership for one person.

Imagine my surprise when he told me that he was joining that "box" (that is what they call a gym in the Crossfit world).  I was deep in my hormone induced pregnancy haze when I realized that my picture of who did CrossFit, huge muscle-headed guys, was actually incorrect and over half of the members were young, cute girls.  Yeah, I wasn't too happy about that, especially because I was so out of shape and knew there was no possibility of me getting back into shape for many months.

So yeah, my husband joined the "box" and started doing competitions, and to my subconscious dismay, started placing in them.  He soon became the most in-shape version of himself that I (and probably he) have ever known and I became (almost) the most jealous version of myself that I have ever known.  He started getting very serious about NEVER missing workouts, not drinking alcohol, and he started eating a fairly strict paleo diet.  No more potatoes, rice, flour, or sugar in our house.  I am a baker.  I am a healthy baker, but a baker just the same.  Screw paleo.

Even more upsetting and annoying to me was that fact that all he wanted to talk about was CrossFit.  He listened to pod-casts about it and talked to his CrossFit friends about it.  "Oh I crushed that WOD in under 5 minutes!" or "I RXed that clean and jerk, did you?".  Then he would try to talk to me about it and I had no idea how challenging doing 100 burpees in 5 minutes was.  I didn't really care either, I was worried about birthing a healthy baby.

Once I had the baby, things just seemed to keep getting worse with regards to CrossFit.  I was tired, frumpy, out of shape, dealing with crazy post-pregnancy hormones, and stressed out over a baby that spit up after every feeding. Meanwhile, my husband was going to CrossFit 5 plus days a week, was in super-duper good shape, and was hanging out with people who eat-breathe-sleep CrossFit.  Recipe for disaster, my friends.

My husband and I ended up training for an running a half-marathon in the month of October.  It helped us connect and helped me get back into shape.  I impressed myself with my time (1:46), which made me eager to start training for more races and to bring my times down even more.  I bought a treadmill and stuck it in my basement.  That way I'd get to see my baby every day after work and then I could run once he hit the hay.  PERFECT.

I thought this would be my new workout routine until my husband suggested that I complete the entry level class at the new CrossFit gym that his friend opened.  He even said that he would foot the crazy $180 bill.  I will have to admit that I really didn't want to do it, but he did go out of his comfort zone to run a half marathon with me and I did totally kick his ass.  Lifting weights is NOT my thing though and, due to my diastasis recti (that has improved tremendously), there are still quite a few types of ab workouts that I can't do.  Plus, CrossFit just doesn't interest me in the slightest.  If I have time, I'd rather run.  Plain and simple.

I sucked it up and agreed to sign up and do the two week class to secretly prove to him that it wasn't my thing.  The first class was awkward.  I didn't know anyone (other than my husband's friend), but it seemed like everyone else there knew someone else.  Most of the girls looked like they were in better shape than me with the exception of one older lady who looked like she hadn't gotten off the couch in several years (she ended up quitting after the first night).  Of course I compared myself to everyone and got upset at myself at the end of the night because I was one of the last people to finish the baseline workout of 500 meter row, 40 squats, 30 sit-ups (I did a plank variation), 20 push-ups, and 10 pull-ups (assisted with a green rubber band).  Even the older out of shape looking lady did better than me, allegedly.  I was embarrassed to write my time on the huge white board.  

Not getting into all of the details of the classes, I will sum it up by saying that I ended up going to all six of the classes and finishing the program.  I am now "allowed" to go to regular classes, which kind of scares me.  Do I even want to?  The jury is still out.  There are some good and bad things that I noticed when doing the entry class.  I'll start with the good and then get to the not so good...

The Good

1.  The people in my class seemed normal and not "cult-like".  They wore Lulu Lemon and Nike (like me), not all Reebok with bight colors and knee socks, like most CrossFitters wear.  Maybe that is because they just haven't been doing it long enough?  A few of the girls also had young kids so we had stuff to talk about besides working out.  Mommies are mommies, first (I hope).

2.  The workouts were challenging and I feel like I could get into overall better shape by doing classes a few times a week.

3.  The coach was good.  He was motivating and understanding.  He seems like he knows his stuff.  He was willing to work with me and help me scale my workouts due to my ab exercise restrictions.

4.  I don't mind paleo anymore, 80% of the time.  We pretty much eat a paleo diet now with the exception of me eating oatmeal cereal for breakfast (breastfeeding) and the occasional non-GMO verified corn chip.  I still don't eat any soy or dairy.  I think this is good enough.

5.  The "box" is nice and new.  It is really close to my house.

6.  Now I can understand what my husband it talking about when he says he says he did an AMRAP of wall-balls for 9 minutes.  I know how much that would totally suck now.  We can have a conversation about the day's WOD and I don't glaze over completely because I may (or may not) have done the same thing.

The Not So Good

1.  You have to workout on a schedule and they would like you to go 3 days in a row and then rest one day.  Sometimes I can't go to a 5 PM class or a 7 PM class and there is a high probability that I can't go to a class every day (especially since my husband already goes 10 times a week).  I have a baby and his schedule isn't the same from day-to-day.  Sometimes I need to workout at 5:30 PM or 6:45 PM.  Can't do that with CrossFit.

2.  People cheat.  This is something that shouldn't bother me, but does.  When they give you a workout (like the baseline one above) they ask you do time yourself and then write the time down on the board.  No one is counting your reps or making sure that you have proper form and, while I didn't watch people working out because I was too busy trying not to die, I would be quite surprised if the older lady actually did beat me.  My husband tried to tell me that I should measure myself against myself...kind of hard for a competitive, type-A person like me.  People write down times that are less than they actually were or don't do all the exercises correctly or the right amount.  Annoying.

3.  Weightlifting is not my thing.  Lots of the workouts have a strength component that works on Olympic types of lifts.  I have zero interest in this and I don't want to become a female body builder.  Enough said.

4.  CrossFit is all about abs and core and my ab situation sucks.  I will probably never be able to do real sit-ups again like I could before I had B.  Even though my diastasis has closed to 2 fingers, doing sit-us, toes-to-bar, and v-ups is going to cause it to open right back up.  I used to kill sit-ups and I liked doing them.  Now I can't do them and have to scale every workout that contains them.  People look at me like I am cheating or something.  If I am going to do something I want to do it all the way.  No half-assing for me.

5.  I am realizing just how out of shape I still am, and folks, it ain't pretty.  This obviously doesn't have to do directly with CrossFit, but I feel like I need to wear a shirt that says I had a baby 7 months ago and I used to be in good shape.  I hate being the worst.  I am used to being one of the more in-shape people in a group.              

So am I going to drink the kool-aid and officially join CrossFit?  I'm not sure yet.  I just don't know that it is going to work for me time-wise or fitness goal-wise.  I am first and foremost a mommy and secondly a runner.  I don't want to cut out running workout for CrossFit ones.  I do want to get in better shape and look and feel better about myself than I do now.  I guess time will tell on this one.  More to come...    

Also here is a pic of the ab situation I speak of, regularly.  I am down below my pre-pregnancy weight, but still have this to contend with.  My arch-nemesis.

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