After two years of refusing to try CrossFit, I was desperate to find a way to stay in shape that I could get excited about. I was very out of shape, hesitant and nervous when I entered the box, or CrossFit gym, for the first time.
In 2013, I graduated college, ending my competitive softball career. I loved the mental toughness and physical endurance that playing a collegiate sport entailed, but I hadn't found any workouts that gave me the same sense of accomplishment and kept me interested for longer than a month.
The first class is free at The Bar CrossFit in Eastlake, Ohio, so I decided to give it a try. Expecting to see guys flexing muscles in mirrors, everyone saying "bro," and women with shoulders broader than the average man's, I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived and saw none of that. There were no mirrors, no "bro" talk, and only one other person there for the class. She was not intimating or bulging with muscle like I had feared.
Two coaches walked me through every mobility, strength and WOD (workout of the day) exercise and gave instructions to modify any exercise I was unable to perform properly. I learned how to correctly Squat, Press, and breathe during the workout, all things I had previously been taught, but never so precisely or detailed.
The words of encouragement and positive motivation helped me get through the Burpees I had been dreading since I saw them listed on the whiteboard. I'm not going to sugarcoat it—I was exhausted during and after the workout. I thought I might be sick afterwards. It wasn't easy, it wasn't fun, but it was motivating and it pushed me, and that's exactly what I was looking for.
I promised myself I would go three times per week for two months and then decide whether to continue. I am headed into my fourth month and I couldn't be happier with my decision. The classes range from small (seven or eight ) to smaller (I'm the only one). I love the attention the coaches give each person. Everyone is welcoming, encouraging and fun. They are there because they want to improve themselves. It has pushed and challenged me in ways that I hadn't experienced since my softball days.
I want to be able to do Rope Climbs, Handstand Walks, Double-Unders and Pull-Ups every time I see someone else doing them in the box. It's a slow process, but knowing I am consistently improving and getting closer to my goals keeps me excited. You can always add weight, improve your time, and push yourself harder, and I love that. There are thin, thick, tall and short participants, all of whom want to work hard and have fun. That's why I plan to stick with CrossFit.
I waited too long to try CrossFit, because I thought I was too out of shape, not strong or beastly enough. There is no starting point you have to be at to try it. All you need is a good attitude and a determined mind.
There are risks involved just like there are in every other sport. Now I know why people join the CrossFit "cult." It's because when you leave the box, you feel good about yourself. You did your best and had support and encouragement around you. Though CrossFit is not for everyone, just like softball or football aren't for everyone, it's what works for me, and I encourage you to try it out and see if it works for you.
I am stronger, faster and healthier than I was before, and that's why I love CrossFit.
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