Andrew was right. Crossfit is hardcore. I was all set to take him to the mat on this one but after doing a month of Monkey Bar Gym and a month of CrossFit, I must say that CrossFit is definitely harder. So, here’s my breakdown, with guest appearances from all the Gym Buddies.
Body weight: -1 lb
Body fat: -0.5%
Calorie Burn: Hugely variable, depending on the type of workout
Things I LOVE about CrossFit
This workout made me feel like one seriously tough chick. It turns out I’m stronger than I thought. There is just something about heaving a huge weighted metal bar over my head and having the entire weight floor break out in cheers & applause (yeah, I know, my gym rocks).
1. It really challenged me to up my weight. Since the WOD (workout of the day) isn’t scaled down for women, we were challenged to keep up with the men. Although we were rarely (if ever) able to do the recommended weight – 215 lb deadlift, yeah right – we still lifted as heavy as we could.
2. I love that they post a new workout every day. The WOD varies in intensity and type of exercise so that over the course of a week you hit every major muscle group plus get in some intense cardio.
3. It used my competitiveness to my advantage. Seeing what everyone else posted on the website for their times and weight lifted really challenged me to push myself. Each day I’d report to Gym Buddies Allison, Candice and Mike what the average was and we would try to beat it.
4. I got to see that doing less cardio didn’t hurt my fitness at all and actually probably helped me achieve my goals better. This was a huge surprise to me. I thought I’d miss the endorphin rush of my classes but the weight lifting provided a pretty big rush of its own and there were occasional long runs. Plus I kept TurboKick. Can’t give up Turbo:)
5. People thought I was a nut. We got a LOT of weird looks. And yeah, that’s a plus in my book;)
6. But the best part is that despite not really losing any weight or body fat, my upper body has seriously toned up. MBG started the transformation but CrossFit definitely accelerated it. I can’t tell you how many people have complimented me on my shoulders/biceps/back in the past couple of weeks.
Things I Don’t Like About CrossFit
1. The worst part of CrossFit for me wasn’t the agony of a gut-wrenchingly hard workout but rather the monotony in the range of exercises selected. They stick mainly to the Olympic lifts with heavy reliance on push-ups & pull-ups. By the end of every workout my wrists were killing me. And I felt like my shoulders and upper back never had a chance to fully recover because we did pull-ups Every Stinkin’ Day. Lots and lots of pull-ups. Hundreds of pull-ups (I’m not exaggerating, today’s WOD literally said 125 pull-ups and 125 dips.) The most commonly lodged complaint against CrossFit across the Internet is this: repetitive stress injuries.
2. We did a lot less cardio than I am used to. A LOT less. CrossFit only does cardio maybe once a week. And it is always running. The only variety is the distance, ranging anywhere from short sprints to 10K. If you are really really lucky they throw in jump roping.
3. It’s very technical. You have to make sure your form is really good when trying to go that heavy with your weights. (Which is where Gym Buddy Mike, a competitive hammer thrower, came in really handy! Thanks Mike!!) Every single one of us ended up with sore wrists, knees or lower back. This is not a joint friendly workout. There is a lot of injury potential. Which isn’t even including the time I dropped an 85-lb bar on myself during a clean and jerk. Hit my chin, bounced off my clavicle and rolled down my legs. Oooohhhh the bruises from that one! Especially on my pride. Note: they still use some older lifts that have since been discarded as too injury-prone by most lifters. Several of their favorites regularly come up on all of the Top Ten Lifts to Avoid lists.
4. It used my competitiveness against me. This was both a pro and a con. It inspired me to do more but there were a few times Gym Buddy Allison and I nearly killed ourselves trying to “keep up” with those mythical half-man/half-beasts on the CrossFit boards.
5. The music in their instructional videos sucks. I’d use harsher language but all those CrossFitters could totally kick my butt. Worst music ever though. Seriously guys – try something from this millennium:)
Notes From the Gym Buddies
Allison: weight and body fat remained stable but she upped her max weight on almost every lift. She came into the experiment sure that she would prefer MBG but ended up really loving CrossFit. It challenged her in ways that no other workout has. It allowed her to really show off her strength (girlfriend is Mr. T Tough). She says she definitely wants to stick with it at least a few days a week. When I asked her for her overall opinion she just grinned and said, “Yeah, let’s keep it.”
Candice: weight and body fat fluctuated. She says that overall she liked CrossFit for challenging her but she felt like it was too difficult of a workout for her at this stage. She also said it really “showcased her weaknesses” and it was disheartening to compare herself to the numbers everyone else was throwing up. She also has time constraints and one of the downfalls of CrossFit is that you never know how long it’s going to take you. It may be 5 minutes or it may be an hour and you don’t know until the morning of. (Although I do realize this problem could be averted by post-dating the workouts back one week.) She summed up her opinion, “It just wasn’t… as fun. Not enough variety. Especially with the cardio.”
Mike (new gym buddy, just came on board for the CrossFit experiment. He’s a competitive hammer thrower and has been training track and field for years. He was a wealth of knowledge in proper lifting technique): Overall he thought that CrossFit was a very challenging but fun workout. He agrees that it was definitely less cardio intensive than MBG. He sums it up by saying, “Lastly, I had no idea how technically demanding Crossfit would be. They ask for precise movements and demand perfection! Which I happen to strive for.” Two thumbs up from him.
This is one serious workout. I loved it. I hated it. I loved to hate it. I now know that I can bang out a couple dozen pull-ups – which I definitely couldn’t do before. I can also now say that I have dropped some very heavy weights on myself and lived to tell the tale. (Not that I’m telling anyone. Hush, you.)
I will definitely keep doing it. Although I will probably break it up with other workouts (still love my Monkey Bar!) especially since you all know that novelty is the name of my game. If you are looking for a workout that will really change your shape – build muscle, particularly upper body and lean out – then this is a great workout. It is really stinking hard but definitely doable. If you decide to do it (and I hope you do!) check out my CrossFit for Newbies tips and make sure and report back to me what you think!
PS> Seriously. SO MANY compliments on my arms. Hee:)