Dear CrossFit, When Will I Know You?

This month, I’ve been trying new classes with Tina from Carrots ‘n’ Cake as part of the Harvard Pilgrim Well Together challenge. In the final installment, I tried CrossFit with Tina down at her box in Weymouth.

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Box: Refers to a CrossFit gym and only a CrossFit gym. 

I’ve known Tina for a few years now and during Reach The Beach I noticed how strong she had gotten. From reading her blog, I knew it was the CrossFit. When we were paired up for the Well Together challenge, I knew I would in for at least one WOD.

WOD: Another CrossFit term that refers to the “Workout Of The Day.”

Apparently, unless you are a member of another box, you are not allowed to drop in to another CrossFit class. Beginners take time away from paying members to show proper form and what each move exactly is. I told Tina that I had taken 4 CrossFit intro classes (Fenway, Back Bay, Reebok HQ, Fitbloggin) but I still had no idea what an actual class was like. With memberships costing over $350 a month in Boston, am I really suppose to just plunk down that much cash without having an actual idea what a single hour is really like? BIG THANK YOU to CrossFit 718 for bending the rules for me 🙂

CrossFit Warm Up

We began class with 5 10-second Hollow Holds, 500m row, 3 10-second Hollow Hold Supermans (which I featured in my Jillian Michaels Crazy Ab Workout video), another 500m row and lastly 3 20-second Hollow Planks. I did 3 sets of 10 Hollow Hold Supermans because I didn’t pay attention to directions and proved the CrossFit policy about drop ins accurate. Whatever.

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Next, we moved on to some mobility work which basically was rolling out our triceps against the wall with a small tennis like ball. Regulars in class were sore from Monday’s WOD so this exercise probably felt great! We also did a few wall presses that I used to do with my clients when testing to see what their mobility was and if they had any muscle imbalances, tightness or previous injury.

I didn’t realize in my 4 CrossFit intro sessions that classes are broken up in 4 parts. The 3rd focuses on a skill and today was handstands. I used to drive my mother nuts in middle school because I would do handstands non stop in our kitchen. I don’t know why that was ever a bad idea? I shot right up, but don’t think I was doing them properly. I just thought the point was to invert oneself. Again, I didn’t follow directions.

carrots n cake crossfit

Tina was kind of hilarious to watch getting up into position. While I got right up, I missed the point of the exercise and was “traveling” on my hands which is not allowed in CrossFit. I love doing handstands in Yoga and in CrossFit was no different. If they offered gymnastics for adults, I would totally sign up.

Last was the WOD. This is the part about CrossFit that has mystified me. The classes are an hour long but sometimes the intense workout is super short. The WOD of the day was Annie which I’m told was not the best day to sit in on a CrossFit class to get the feel of what it’s like, but also a good one for a newbie.

Annie Wod

The “Annie” WOD consists of jump rope double unders and ab mat sit-ups. You start with 50 reps, then 40 reps, 30 reps, 20 reps and finish with 10 reps. I cannot do double unders so I did Level 2, multiplying the number of jump rope rotations by 2 meaning I did 100 jump rope rotations, 50 sit ups, 80 jump rope rotations, 40 sit ups, etc. The point is to go as fast as you can. Other times, CrossFit will prescribe an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) during a given interval.

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Aside from the darn sit-ups, I found the counting to be near impossible. I was terrible at it. The sit-ups were extremely challenging and my core was very sore the next day. The tag of my pants also gave me a nice cut on my tail bone from the repetition. My first CrossFit battle wound! I’m not sure if I was doing them correct but very different from my low curl in Bar.

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I thought I did Level 1, but it was actually Level 2. Between the 8 minutes the WOD took and the warm up, really my heart rate was only elevated for about 15 minutes. I checked the CrossFit website to see if they encouraged other activity and this is what it says: “Part of the crossfit philosophy includes pursuing/learning another sport or activity, and many crossfitters are also martial artists and competitive athletes in a variety of disciplines.

However, if you work the WODs hard, you will find yourself at an improved level of fitness, and for lots of us, the WOD is our primary “sport.”

So even after my 5th CrossFit experience, I’m a little confused. I feel like I’ve yet to experience the what it’s really about. People rave about the community and team work, the challenging workout and competition. However, I guess you can’t get a sense of it unless you really try it out for a month, like I did at The Bar Method for $100.

I heard they do beginner classes for groups so that regular members do not have to go through always having new members taking up time during class having each move explained. However, during our class, I felt like there was plenty of “hang around” time that could have been used to explain. These classes should be offered at a lower rate for people like me who would pay but want to know what they are getting themselves into before signing a contract.

If you are a CrossFitter, how did you get started? If not, have you taken an intro class yet?

Check out the other healthy living experiences Tina and I tried:

I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn! Check out the incredible football video below to get inspired that when people work together, anything is possible.

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