Tomorrow I’ll take a more in-depth look at Crossfit, but today I’d like to share my first experience with Crossfit. I’ve known about Crossfit for a while, it seems with many of the Paleo food bloggers I follow, that Crossfit is synonymous. Sure last summer I saw clips of the Crossfit games and I’ve seen pictures, but I’ve witnessed it first hand. My initial reaction would be: radical and empowering. Exercise I think can be intimidating sometimes, but for me strength gets me excited. I came away thinking I could rock it. Usually on this blog I think in terms of inflammation. And with exercise it is what is going to inflame my body the least, so I won’t be paying for this later in life with new knees and other deterioration caused by chronically high levels of inflammation. But really what I’ve begun to realize (especially lately as my abundant hikes have significantly diminished) exercise is more than that.
Exercise like I said is empowering. You feel strong. You feel passionate. You feel the high afterwards, partly endorphin induced, but also the feel of accomplishment. Exercise can be help you deal. I have my own exercises I like to do (hiking and kettlebells, with a occassional sprint), but I would never tell someone what they should do or not do because sometimes its more than just exercise. Hiking to me has never been about exercise. It allows me to recenter. It makes me feel alive, fills me with purpose, and prioritizes my life. My uncle Doug is a runner. He not only loves to run, but in a way it defines him. It helps him deal with what’s going on in his world, just like hiking helps me. Even after knee surgery, the road still calls to him. So why take something away if it going to take away happiness and peace of mind? I know for my friend Tab crossfit is a great for her to focus her energy, bad and good. To take away pain, bitterness, anger. Whatever the reasons, exercise can be powerful (just wait I’m reading a book on exercise and the brain, so you have that future post to look forward to).
I found the entire Crossfit Challenge I went to, to be intriguing. It sucked me and I missed my nephews basketball game. Drawn to all of it. The strength, the willpower and drive, the enthusiasm, the crowd, the effort, the variety. There were people competing of all ages, all body types. They had scaled (less weight) and Rx, but they were both cheered on with the same enthusiasm. You get the family feeling. Sure the ones performing the heaviest lifts grab your attention, but so do the older ones doing the same lifts or the thinner less muscled high schooler who wins the scaled competition. You are inspired by people doing there best. Looking at the carnage that remains when the contestants hit the floor after a growling WOD, you can see they’ve given it their all. They have given all of themselves. And the electricity in the crowd and by other competitors is contagious. You’re sucked in. That was my favorite part, the compassion for your fellow lifter, doing there best.
I of course also loved the strength and I especially liked that there were so many women competing. I’ve advertised before how I think women can lift and train the same as men (and not ‘bulk’ up, women don’t produce enough testosterone to get the bulging body builder muscles, without outside help). Don’t get me wrong these women are strong. They are fit. They have muscles and could whoop your ass. They’re not frail model twigs. They’re healthy looking. Granted I could describe many as: beast. Straight nasty, with insane amounts of power and performing sick movements, but there builds are functional. Able to do all kinds of movements. A well-rounded type of fitness, like a decathlon. And the men? There was still variance here, like I said the guy who won the scaled, was much smaller than the rest of the field. He was muscular, but very lean. Most guys were strong and muscular, but not overwhelming bulging. Like women they have a more functional muscle build (and I have to say another perk of watching the competition was the shirtless men- what can I say I admit I appreciate the view of shirtless men just as much as the next girl.)
I enjoyed my experience overall and we’ll get into more tomorrow, I did have some qualms with it. I do wonder how long someone can do it. The workouts are intensive. Of course it depends on how long many workouts you do a week. If you give time to recover, sleep plenty and do all the other aspects to health, no problem and as I mentioned many competitors were middle aged so I’m not dissing I’m just curious. Day in and day out, can you maintain doing crossfit for the rest of your life? I don’t know but again it goes back to the top. Does it make you happy? You’re moving, that’s a plus. Next is form. I think it’s because I was at a competition, and not an everyday WOD, but I did notice compromised form. When you’re doing so many reps and sets its hard to maintain proper form the entire time, but I had a lot of pictures with bent wrists (your power source) and backs, which if not careful can cause majors problems. Not to mention Dr Sharifi said she saw someone come in from crossfit with a hernia. When we teach kettlebells we teach tension, but mom is also a stickler for teaching proper form. For protecting backs, knees, and shoulders specifically. Of tightening the core, like you’re going to take a punch. Tension and skill= injury prevention. I would then recommend really focusing on form in classes. But in all respect to crossfit I do know they do ramp classes specifically to focus on teaching lifts and proper form. Injuries often result (actually many come at home when we improperly lift something else) when our awareness is down. So while performing or lifting, we should always be aware. Aware of what your body’s doing and the lift being performed now. That was really my biggest problem with crossfit is a slack in form sometimes, which can be corrected and can happen in any exercise realm. Know what your body is doing.