by Laura Czys
Too often we take for granted our life experiences and assume that they are the experiences of others until we are forced to stop and think. I had one of those stop and think moments Monday morning at Stephens Family YMCA. I’m comfortable in a weight room as I’ve lifted weights since high school. Too often I forget that’s not true for everyone.
At 6 a.m., with a trio of friends I attended a CrossFit class led by Mackey Johnson and Danny Inigue. We were at a weight rack when my friend Marla (who is anything but weak now) shared, “I was the weak girl that refused to participate in high school gym class weight training. I love CF because it has turned me into a woman that looks forward to pushing herself and moving some weight around.”
We’ve learned that moving weight around is essential to good health. Strong is beautiful, from the inside out. It’s good for our muscles, our bones, our metabolism. I was curious about CrossFit as it seemed everyone was talking about it. This class really does attract a variety of people with a broad range of fitness experiences. CrossFit is designed to be “universal scalable” so that anyone can do it. The CrossFit coordinator at the Y, Stephanie Moore shared, “Last Friday, Tony, a wounded U.S. Marine, attended and was able to grasp the bar with both hands despite severe nerve damage in his left hand.”
Technique is essential. If you’ve done any weight lifting before, be prepared to mix it up. CrossFit requires class participants to attend a Fundamentals session. It’s where you’ll receive the form cues and body alignment corrections needed for the Olympic style weightlifting. I didn’t attend the Fundamentals class but wished I had as I tried to complete a jerk correctly, one of the components of the WOD (or Workout of the Day for us non-CFers).
Frustration is common but the concept that everyone is doing the same workout unifies the group and creates an immediate team atmosphere. Marla shared her experience, “I’ll never forget when our WOD was 100 burpees. At about 90 I thought I was going to die…die or puke. Another class member, Ron, had long ago completed his 100 but stood next to me and told me we were going to do the final 10 together. And we did.”
Speaking of the WOD, here’s what it consisted of on the day I attended. It’s all posted on a wipe board in a corner of the gym so you can keep referring to it in disbelief. We started with a warm-up–squats low enough that your behind touched a medicine ball; pushups; situps; stretching with PVC pipe; walking lunges with a torso twist. We practiced each of the moves before the WOD and completed some flexibility training which included stretching with a heavy band on the weight rack to loosen up our hips and rolling on a squash ball to “massage” our outer hips (ouch!).
The WOD was 20 Morning Glories (a forward fold working the hamstrings), 10 Front Squats and five Jerks–both of which were completed with a bar and free weights– as many reps as possible in 8 minutes. The trainers were great and came around often to provide corrections for our form.
Nikki, likes the classes because they are so small. “There are a lot of coaches, so you get a lot of individual feedback. The coaches help you get your form and technique right.”
If you’re new to working out, go slowly and be cautious. There are heavy weights with multiple repetitions. It would take a few more classes before I could decide if it was for me. Kellie says, “Every day is something different and I absolutely love that!! I am getting stronger and running is easier. I am using all of my muscles so I am not overworking one area.”
The trio has been participating for less than six months but already see results. You can even track your progress on a CrossFit app.
We are lucky to have a couple of options in the Chambana area but the workout should be the same no matter which you choose.
At the Y, there is an extra fee to participate in CrossFit. CrossfitCU has a pricing schedule posted on its website.
Whether you try CrossFit or not remember, weight training is an important part of any fitness regimen. Strong is the new skinny and strength IS beauty. Be beautiful.
Laura Czys is a busy mom that finally found gainful employment, keeps searching for an extra hour in the day and is prone to kitchen dancing with the 3E’s. She rounds out the madness with Opie, the old cat and Hope Floats, the dog that launched these posts.