The Top 7 Myths about Crossfit and Why They’re Totally FALSE

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I understand that Crossfit isn’t for everyone. I GET IT. But don’t let the myths about Crossfit give you an excuse not to try it, okay? If you’re even a little bit interested, I would highly recommend trying it at least 4-5 times (once isn’t really enough to get a good feel for it). It’s literally changed my life.

Myth #1: Crossfit is only for super-fit people.

Entirely untrue. One of the best and most amazing things about Crossfit is that it’s scalable to any level. I think people hear that and don’t believe it, but it’s true. We have people of all ages, shapes, and abilities at my box, and the most wonderful thing is that everyone cheers everyone else on. I’m genuinely happy when my friends get PRs or push themselves to new heights. Warm and fuzzy feelings abound in Crossfit!

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So obviously, Camille is super-fit. But you don’t have to be to get a LOT out of Crossfit!

Myth #2: Crossfit is expensive.

Crossfit is only expensive if you compare it to regular gyms. It’s CHEAP when you compare it to the cost of personal training, which to me, is a more apt comparison. I paid around $700 for three months of personal training at one 60-minute session per week. Crossfit costs anywhere between $150-300/month, depending on where you live, but you can go as many times as you want. Since each session is like a group personal training session, it actually costs about half as much as you’d get charged at a standard gym!

Myth #3: Crossfit is a cult.

GAHHHHH, I’m so sick of hearing this. Crossfit is a cult as much as any group of people interested in the same thing is a cult! We all like talking about Crossfit when we’re together because we all DO Crossfit. If you got together with a bunch of coworkers outside of work, isn’t it likely that you’d spend at least part of the time inadvertently talking about work? Same concept. It’s what we all have in common, so it’s easy to talk about!

Keep reading for Myths #4-7!

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Day 11: Exercise During the Whole30 

We made it to Day 11! Almost halfway through and pretty painless, right?

I promised you all a post on working out during the Whole30, so here it is.

I believe that my workouts only benefit from a clean diet, but I also know that if you’re spending a lot of time and energy focused on overhauling your eating, spending energy on workouts isn’t feasible. That’s okay.

Just do one thing for me during these 30 days if nothing else: MOVE. Just move. I don’t care how you do it or where you do it. Just move. Walk to places you’d normally drive. Set the timer for 30 minutes and dance around your house. Do some power cleaning. Set a timer on your work computer that goes off every 30 minutes and take a 5 minute walk around the building, or up and down some stairs. It really doesn’t matter. You just have to move your own body weight around.

If you already work out regularly, go easy on yourself during the Whole30, especially if it’s a marked change in your diet. Don’t expect to beat any PRs, and go a little lighter in general if you feel low-energy. I make a point to eat more fruit or starchy veggies on workout days and I think it genuinely helps my performance. Definitely don’t eat too little. That will make your life harder in lots of ways.

As for me, I’ve been doing Crossfit throughout this Whole30 and the last. I know, I know, I’m totally drinking the Crossfit Kool-Aid like everyone else, but the reality is, I knew I’d love Crossfit before I tried it. It’s just my type of workout. You know I love shorter, intense boot camp-style workouts, and Crossfit is that x 10. So the fact that I dove head first into Crossfit doesn’t surprise me or anyone who knows me

Many people think Crossfit is just a dumb fad workout, and while that may be true, it’s also undeniably just a great form of exercise. Functional movement, intensity, community, etc., etc. All the cliches about Crossfit are true. My little Crossfit community is accepting, diverse, and not cult-like. And they’re uber-supportive of the Whole30 (a few even joined me!).

TL;DR: During the Whole30 (or just in general), practice moving your body in whatever ways you can manage. Try intense exercise if you want, and make sure to fuel yourself well.

Find out everything you need to know about the Whole30 on the Whole9 website!

Tabata Tabata!

Okay, this is a post where I sing the praises of tabata.

What is tabata?

In a nutshell, it’s high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Tabata specifically calls for 20 seconds of explosive effort followed by 10 seconds of rest for eight cycles (four minutes).

Why tabata?

Studies have shown that it burns fat more effectively, lowers insulin resistance, and improves glucose tolerance (if that sounds like NBD to you, read this book).

It’s also over in a heartbeat! Although I promise, it will feel like forever.

You’ll feel like you got an amazing workout, yet only four minutes have passed! But you will get an amazing workout if you do tabata correctly. In those four minutes, you can actually make more fitness gains than running for an hour on the treadmill.

What kind of exercises can I do tabata-style?

Almost any! At CrossFit the other night, we did tabata squats, tabata flutter kicks, tabata sprints, and tabata planks. You can pick almost any exercise and turn it into a high-intensity tabata workout.

Things to keep in mind:

  • The idea is to see how consistent you can be during all eight cycles. If you’re doing 40 squats during the first 20-second interval, but only 10 during the seventh 20-second interval, you’re not being consistent. You want to make sure you’re pushing for consistency in power output.
  • That said, the 20 seconds should be TOUGH. It should feel almost impossible for you to keep going after 20 seconds if you’re working hard enough.

Here’s a good tabata workout* from tabatatraining.org you can try to get you started:

  • Push-ups for intervals 1 and 3
  • Body-Weight Squats for intervals 2 and 4
  • Medicine Ball Slams for intervals 5 and 7
  • Sprinting or jumping rope for intervals 6 and 8

*For more advanced exercisers, do each of these exercises for 8 cycles (a total of 16 minutes).

I’m sure tabata isn’t new to most of you, but if you actually do it correctly and regularly, you’ll feel the difference in your fitness pretty quickly!

Second Thoughts on Crossfit

Some of you may have read my Healthista Samples: Crossfit post from a couple weeks ago. Even though I generally liked it, I complained a little bit about the disorganization and the form they teach for some of the moves (it seemed different from what I’ve always been taught). I hadn’t fully fallen in love with it — yet.

Fast forward a few weeks and I’ve been doing Crossfit about 3 times a week. I think it’s safe to say I’m pretty smitten, and I have a few more thoughts I want to share.

First, I should admit, I’m a little bit addicted. It’s just so rewarding just to make it through a Crossfit workout. Even though I’m not to the point where I can speed up or add weight to any of my workouts just yet, the workouts themselves are tough enough that you feel good about just making it through, regardless of how many modifications you have to make. You do things you never thought your body was capable of.

Even though you’re really only competing with yourself, the group setting and timed workouts are motivating. Looking around at the other people in your class really pushing themselves and fighting their minds — which are inevitably telling them they should stop ASAP — is really motivating. Seeing other people do their best makes you want to do your best.

I think what I love most about Crossfit is that it’s a way to have some control over your body.There are so many ways we don’t have control over our bodies. Even though I’m relatively young, I can already tell that my body is changing from the way it was in high school or college. Sometimes, the changes are things I have zero control over. Crossfit gives me that sovereignty over my own body back, and I feel like that gives me more confidence and strength.

Finally, the focus on non-scale/weight achievements is awesome.Crossfit doesn’t care how much you weigh or what you look like — it cares what you can DO. Sure, one pleasant side effect of Crossfit for many people is weight loss and more muscle tone. But that’s certainly not the primary objective. The main goal of any Crossfitter, as I’d hope they’d tell you, is to really push themselves to do feats they never thought they could. Like I said above, just getting through the workouts is an accomplishment for me at this point, but I can only imagine when I start to actuallyimprove.

Though the price of Crossfit tends to be 3 or 4 times what you’d pay for even a nice gym, what you get out of the workouts, the camaraderie, the motivation, the coaching, and the changes you’ll notice in your mind and body are totally worth it. I only have one more class left on my Groupon, but I’m planning on shelling out the $150/month to keep going and see just where I can push myself next.

If you do Crossfit, why do you love it?

Healthista Samples: Crossfit (and 5 Tips for Newbies!)

I knew this day would come. I finally had the chance to try Crossfit, thanks to a Groupon I bought a few months ago.

I don’t know why it took me so long to try it since short and intense boot camp-style/circuit workouts are pretty much my favorite. What is Crossfit, exactly? According to Wikipedia:

Constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement with the stated goal of improving fitness (and therefore general physical preparedness), which it defines as “work capacity across broad time and modal domains.” Workouts are typically short—20 minutes or less—and intense, demanding all-out physical exertion. They combine movements such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, weightlifting, and carrying odd objects; they use barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, kettlebells, medicine balls, and many bodyweight exercises.

The idea of Crossfit appealed to me because of the intensity and efficiency of the workouts. I’ve seen it blogged about all over the place (especially since I follow a lot of Paleo blogs!), and I knew it was something I’d eventually have to try.

I’ve been to four classes so far (two of them beginners classes where we mostly just went over the moves), and here’s my take.

What I like about Crossfit:

  • The workouts! I love the focus on strength training and the efficiency of combining cardio and weighted moves. Check out sample Workouts of the Day (WODs) here.
  • The camaraderie. Everyone seems to root for each other. You’re not competing with other people — you’re competing with yourself.
  • The time they take, at least at my box, to really teach you the movements and make sure your form is correct. This is crucial because it seems like you could really injure yourself if you don’t do the moves correctly.
  • The simplicity. They don’t try to complicate things. They just focus on basic movements and arrange them in a sequence that’s super challenging. This also means a lot of the workouts could be done at home (here are a bunch of at-home WODs).

What I don’t like:

  • Even though they take time to teach correct form, I’ve seen experienced Crossfitters with horrible form — stuff that goes against everything I’ve been taught about how not to injure yourself. I’m not sure if there’s a good reason for it, but it’s concerning.
  • The somewhat cult-like environment. If you aren’t fully committed to Crossfit, I’m not sure that you’ll ever feel totally at home. I like varied workouts, so I don’t know if I’d ever be a Crossfit lifer. There are also a lot of grunters (as is often the case when you have workouts with heavy weight lifting), which I kind of roll my eyes at.
  • The disorganization. This might be unique to my box, but I’ve been a little frustrated at the lack of organization during some of the fundamentals classes/workouts.

As a Crossfit newbie, here’s what I think you’d want to know:

  • Take the fundamentals/beginners classes! They’ll probably make you do at least a few, but take as many as you can. Otherwise, you’ll be lost during the regular classes.
  • Don’t be afraid to modify the moves as you need to. A few girls in my beginners classes were trying to do regular pushups and their form suffered. I started on my knees because I wanted to make sure I was able to do everything correctly. Don’t try to show off, especially in the beginning!
  • Don’t blindly drink the Crossfit Kool-Aid. I do think there’s a few things Crossfit just gets wrong in terms of form. Do your homework if something doesn’t feel right.
  • Be prepared to spend $$. Crossfit is pricey, and to really get the feel for it, you need to try at least 8-10 classes (in my opinion). I got a great deal on a Groupon, but otherwise, I would have had to pay at least $100-150 to take the 10 classes.
  • Ask questions! If you’re a newbie like me, you’re not going to know everything. I’m not afraid to ask about modifications, if I’m doing a move correctly, etc. It’s the only way to learn.

Alright, I know there have to be a lot of Crossfit devotees out there! I want to hear from you! What do newbies need to know? What do you like or dislike about Crossfit?