Hope you guys are having a wonderful weekend!
This morning I received a question from a reader who noticed that I’m not CrossFitting anymore and she asked if there was a reason why.
(After I RX’d Fran for the first time)
Let’s chat about that for a second. I started CrossFitting back in 2012 when I accepted the job as General Manager of Metro Fitness Club. We ran a CrossFit program out of our gym that had grown so much that the owner was in the process of opening a separate CrossFit box to house the program when I came on board. I thought that it was important that I CrossFit and get certified to coach CrossFit since it was such a big part of what we offered. A little over a year after I started CrossFitting, I completed the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Course.
For the next two years I coached a good amount of CrossFit (probably 4-8 classes per week) and CrossFitted myself 2-4 times per week. I quit coaching CrossFit when I stepped out of all management team responsibilities at Metro (gosh, maybe like a year and a half ago?) and decided to dedicate my focus to yoga/writing/personal training. I kept CrossFitting a good bit through the end of 2015 but almost always on my own and never in classes. For the last year that I CrossFitted, I rarely followed any specific program. Rather, I would either program my own WODs or cherry pick between a few other sources.
I phased out of CrossFit when I decided at the beginning of this year to focus on consistent strength and lifting, which has been really great for me. It’s not that I don’t like CrossFit, I just needed a break.
Here are some of my personal pros and cons of CrossFitting:
- It made me a better overall athlete. I truly believe it brought me to a new level of fitness in every area from strength to coordination to speed to conditioning and much more.
- It made me a faster runner. I 100% credit CrossFit with helping me set new running PRs. CrossFit is really good at making you comfortable with feeling really uncomfortable.
- It was a new challenge every day. CrossFit is so random and varied that I never got bored with the workouts. I loved the mix of barbell, bodyweight, kettlebell, gymnastics, etc. movements that you’d find in workouts. Handstand push ups, burpee box jumps, double unders, kipping pull ups, ring dips, snatches…there was a whole library of movements that were fun and different to learn.
- It made me stronger. To be honest, I was never really into setting new lifting PRs but I did see big strength gains through CrossFit and it was fun to lift heavier weights than what I did teaching BodyPump.
- I really pushed myself in classes. When I did CrossFit in classes, I pushed myself about 10x harder than I ever did working out on my own. There’s so much camaraderie and everyone cheers each other on.
- The community. I enjoyed being a part of our Metro CrossFit community and I know that is something that attracts many others to CrossFit. It’s fun to show up and workout with the same people ever day and that usually ends up translating into friendships outside of the gym.
- Short workouts. While I appreciate efficiency and don’t want to be at the gym for 2 hours working out, I found CrossFit workouts to be a little too short. I feel like the majority of the workouts are programmed are between 6-16 minutes. My sweet spot is in the 20-30 minute range. Even though you’re supposed to “give 100% total effort” for 6 minutes, it still didn’t leave me satisfied.
- It became a little too random for me and I wanted to do more. Over the last year I have really craved following a more specific and structured strength and muscle development program. I just didn’t feel like I was getting it from CrossFit and I could never find a programmer whose programs really spoke to me. Also, so many CrossFit WODs are couplets or triplets (2 or 3 movements repeated) and I just wanted to do more than deadlifts and box jumps (for example) in a day’s workout. I guess I wanted more balance of upper and lower body strength.
- Focus on heavy lifts and PRs. As I mentioned before, CrossFit definitely made me stronger and for that I am grateful but I also really have no desire to work towards PRing lifts or to lift super heavy in a workout. This is mostly due to my “risk versus reward” life philosophy (I need to write a post about it!). I often felt the risk of trying to PR or adding extra weight to my bar or trying to RX a workout was not worth the reward I’d get from it. I would say that I probably lean to the side of being a little too conservative when it comes to CrossFit. I also coached my athletes that way, which not everyone agrees with. I’d 100% rather see someone nailing a movement with perfect form and able to move the next day than lifting a weight that’s sketchy for them.
- Finding the right coach. I had a hard time finding a coach who I could consistently work with that a) could push me towards further developing myself as an athlete and b) understood my goals.
I’m so glad that I CrossFitted for the time that I did and I can’t say that I’ll never get into it again. I still use CrossFit-style workouts in my own programming and my clients programming occasionally but I love the way my workouts have felt in 2016 through working with my trainer and focusing on more traditional strength. I’ve also been training my clients that way and they love it too.
Remember, fitness is an evolution. Just because you do something today doesn’t mean you have to do it next year (or even tomorrow!). Constantly ask yourself how you feel, what your goals are and if you’re making progress towards them. You are TOTALLY allowed to change your mind, quit things and try new things. And you’re also totally allowed to make your way back to something after time away. I just try to stay grounded in the reasons why I workout. 1) To keep my body healthy and strong, 2) to feel good and 3) because I freaking love it!
Last Week’s Workouts
21-15-9 of the following…
Back Squats (85#) and Kipping Pull Ups
Back Squats (85#) and Ring Rows
Kettlebell Deadlifts (70#) and Push Ups
Kettelbell Walking Lunges (25# each hand) and Burpees
Note, I used a CrossFit-style rep scheme for this workout and did kipping pull ups. Something I rarely do since working with my trainer but have added in here and there.
Outdoor power yoga with Dorie
4 mile run
3 mile treadmill interval run + 30 mins strength
I’ll go to the gym for a run and lift
This Week’s Meal Plan
Eggplant Parmesan with Homemade Marinara Sauce and Spaghetti Squash
Dinner with a girlfriend
Thai-Style Cod with Rice and Chinese Long Beans
Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs with Roasted or Grilled Okra and Sauteed Squash
Alaskan King Crab Legs with whatever I figure out to do on the side…ideas?
Date night or plans with friends
I’m heading to the gym before I teach yoga. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday! 🙂