“An atheist, a vegan and a crossfitter walk into a bar…I only know because they told everyone in the first two minutes!”

So…Crossfit has a bit of a rep.  Lots of bragging muscle heads flipping tires and chugging protein shakes.  It is the epitome of the jock experience—sweat, barbells, leather lifting belts and bravado.  Who wants to be a part of that?

Apparently, quite a lot of people. There are Crossfit Gyms popping up everywhere! I have seen 4 new gyms open in the last 6 months…I know, because I pass them on my way to MY crossfit gym. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid; I started Crossfit.

 At 50, I decided I needed to do something. It wasn’t just weight loss, though I needed some of that, but when you reach that half-century mark, you start to think about how much closer the Golden Years are than they used to be, about how much you’d like to avoid canes and wheelchairs, multiple medications and a care companion.  I had always been strong and fairly athletic, so getting active wasn’t a stretch.

When a former student began to gush with the joy she had found doing Crossfit, and when I SAW what that joy had done to her body, I began to entertain the idea.  Of course, I knew nothing about the sport at all, only what I’d seen in ads and, of course, the jokes.  With the idea still floating around in my head, I happened upon a Facebook post about a Crossfit Challenge—6 weeks long with a guarantee to change my body. I signed up.

I’ll never forget that first workout—it was 8 minutes of pure hell! Despite the extreme sweating and immediate muscle fatigue (you know, the kind that makes your arms and legs feel like jello), I was struck by how much I had just done with my body in a mere 8 minutes. Maybe there was something to this torture!

Now, 7 months later, I have come to “embrace the suck” of my 3-times-per-week workout.  I know what an AMRAP is and how to do a Sumo Dead Lift. I have new friends who I am anxious to see and workout with. I am 10 lbs lighter and WAY stronger…all those squats have even lifted my 4-kids-later ass from its droopy old self to a position I don’t mind putting into yoga pants!

I also understand the desire to talk about it; some of this stuff is pretty impressive! When you finish a MetCon (Metabolic Conditioning) that asked for 6 rounds of 20 of this movement and 15 of that,  plus an added 10 of another thing, you’ve done 270 repetitions! TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY! It is hard not to want to tell someone about that!

Crossfit challenges the abilities of the human body.  It pushes the limits of what you think you can accomplish. And it does it in a most simple and straightforward way. Using the power of strength training in conjunction with cardio endurance, Crossfit pushes the athlete to improve what her body can and will do. 

Most impressive, long time crossfitters and fresh newbies can do the SAME workout and both get results. The veteran will use more weight or get more reps or finish in shorter time, but the rookie still gets the benefit. That is the beauty of Crossfit. There is a prescribed movement or lift and then there are multiple ways to scale that movement or lift to fit the athlete’s fitness and strength level.  It provides a doable workout now and a goal for the future at the same time.

I will admit, muscle heads throwing tires around and drinking protein shakes rings somewhat true. We are strong…that is kind of the point.  And as much as those of us involved with Crossfit LOVE it, those outside the box hate it. Though that discussion is for another time, suffice it to say, Crossfit athletes are in really good all-around shape…really good. And that is why we love it.

So let me tell you about my deadlift! Let me whine about leg day! Let me distress over the WOD and then brag about finishing it! Love it or hate it, I am a Crossfit Athlete!

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