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My First Crossfit Experience
I used to be one of those people who watched The Biggest Loser at home while sitting on the couch, beer in one hand, pizza in the other, remarking on the incredible transformations I saw in the contestants and jealous of their new-found joie de vie as they almost pass out from pushing over a 300 lb tracker tire. If only I could be on The Biggest Loser, I thought. Then, I’d really have a chance to change my life, inside and out. With beer and pizza as my close companions, I was certainly on my way to making it on the show. But I wasn’t looking for a new workout plan to follow, or even the best personal trainer to guide my progress. What I was looking for was the strength to believe in myself again, the desire to push myself beyond my foreseeable limits, and to feel empowered.
In the diet and exercise department, you name it, I’ve tried it: South Beach Diet, 30 Day Shred, 30-40-40 Diet, Biggest Loser DVDs, Tae Bo, Yoga, Cleanses, Aerobics Classes, Walking to Lose Weight, even the controversial HCG diet. Some of them worked for a period of time, but all in all, my level of fitness has waxed and waned since college. Not to mention the size of my waistband. It wasn’t until after I had my daughter that I started to look at weight loss and exercise differently.
I use my body differently than I did before. I lift my daughter probably 30 times a day, squat down to pick up toys or food at least 100, get her car seat in and out of the car, the stroller, the house several times, and basically use my core muscles more than I ever have. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much core strength before pregnancy, so I inevitably herniated a disc in my back. Now all I want is to make it through a day without using a heating pad or popping ibuprofen. My quality of life and ability to function as a mom depends on my body being strong. Screw getting into the little black dress, I want run up and down the stairs while carrying my toddler, and not feel like I could serve my Jello-shaking thighs for lunch. More than that, I want my baby girl to see that I value my body and take care of it. So when I found out that Crossfit is all about making your body strong and empowering your life, I got interested.
What is Crossfit? The nutshell answer: a high intensity strength and conditioning workout that is constantly varied using functional movements. Crossfit is designed for people of all performance and ability levels. The program is designed to be broad, general, and inclusive so anyone can do it regardless of experience.
Crossfit athletes run, row, jump rope, climb rope and carry odd objects. They frequently move large loads quickly over short distances, and use powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting techniques. Crossfit athletes also use dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, kettlebells, and many bodyweight exercises.
You won’t find any magazines to peruse while doing a Sunday stroll on the treadmill. This place is for people who want work hard and get strong.
Crossfit Nation Easton is owned and managed by Leah VanHoose, a certified massage therapist and personal trainer, who, when asked how she got started doing Crossfit, explained that even after training for a marathon and spending two hours a day in the gym, she wasn’t seeing much in the way of results. After experiencing Crossfit in the form of a boot camp class, she knew she had found a new and better way to work out. “You’ll be amazed at what your body can do,” Leah told me. “We have members here that have completely transformed their lives.”
In fact, if you visit Crossfit Nation's website, you’ll see testimonials from several members, each attesting to the fact that Crossfit changed them for the better. It is this focus on personal transformation that makes Crossfit more than just another gym; a key component of the program is building a community of people who support one another’s goal to achieve optimal health. Leah stated simply, “I love Crossfit for what it is and what it does for people. It is a beautiful community of people with a common goal of fitness and well-being.”
I must attend five beginning classes before joining the regular class (thank the gods). At the start, a trainer introduces you to Crossfit’s WOD (workout of the day) and more importantly, shows you different exercises and how to do them with the proper form and technique, an imperative to success in Crossfit. On January 3rd, I went to my first class. It was fun, inspiring and definitely hard. It’s not the Biggest Loser, but it may be what I’ve been looking for to find that way back to myself and be the fit mom I want to be.
Check out Jill’s video above about her first Crossfit experience.