Six months ago today I stepped in to a CrossFit box (that’s a gym in CrossFit parlance) for the first time. I hadn’t had much success with memberships at other gyms in the past, but my friend had been telling me about how much CrossFit had helped him get in shape, so I wanted to give it a shot. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to.
I signed up for the CrossFit Basics. During the 5-session program the coaches step you through the basic movements that will be part of the the regular workouts. Squats, Pull-ups, Push-ups, Sit-ups and a bunch of movements with barbells and kettle bells. I was pretty terrible at all of them. And in the case of pull-ups and sit-ups, I couldn’t do any. This is where scaling comes in to play. Since I couldn’t do a sit-up, we modified the movement and I used a band wrapped around a pole to help pull me back up. I used that method for several weeks until I was able to do sit-ups without assistance. I used a similar sort of assistance for pull-ups for a quite a while longer.
You want me to do WHAT??
Once I got through the basics and started joining the regular classes, I’d show up and look at the board to check out the WOD (Workout of the Day). The next step was to figure out how I was going to scale it, because there weren’t many things I could do as prescribed or RX. (Another quick bit of CrossFit lingo. Each WOD is said to be what is prescribed; the weights, the movements, the reps, etc… To complete a WOD as presribed, for short you’d say that you RX’d the workout. For the record, it took me 2.5 months before I got my first RX workout.)
Changing my thinking
CrossFit isn’t just about strength. There’s another side to it which is all about skill. Just like learning anything new, it takes time to learn how to do the movements properly. Listening to my coaches point out specific things I am doing right or wrong has been a huge help. They suggest a small tweak to how I am doing a movement and I’ll then focus my attention on that one specific thing. It is amazing to me how focusing on one thing would free my mind up and the rest of the movement will benefit at the same time.
To say I’ve come a long way since I started would be a gigantic understament. When I first started, I’d watch other people in the gym and think “there’s no way I’ll be able to do that.” That thought no longer goes through my head. Instead I think, “I’m going to work on that.” Which brings us to…
My CrossFit Honeymoon
It was right around Christmas time when I started to notice that things were starting to click. I could string together some pullups and double-unders, I was RX’ing workouts that felt out of reach only a month earlier. When I was doing lifts, I could move far more weight than I expected. I’m hitting new PRs on all sorts of movements weekly. I keep referring to this time as my CrossFit Honeymoon.
One thing I’m certain of, the honeymoon phase won’t last forever. I’ve talked with others at my box about this time and they all say that I’m going to hit a wall where the PRs are harder. I really want to focus on technique during this time because I feel that the better I get with the movements, the longer my honeymoon phase will last. This morning I had the coach shoot video of a lift and it immediately pointed out the bad position my back was in. Sweet, something to work on.
Did you go through a similar honeymoon phase when you started working out? I’d love to hear about it.
(total side-note, but funny timing. I wrote the bulk of this post yesterday. This morning, I went for a workout and the WOD contained, among other things, 130 sit-ups. It seems like only a few paragraphs ago I was saying how I couldn't do any of those a few months back. For the record, they still suck.)