Now that you've watched all of the vaguely interesting movies available on Netflix, eaten everything in your house, checked every social media site and possibly even cleaned your room, you are out of excuses — it's time to hit the gym. It's time to try out your nearest Crossfit gym and decide for yourself if this addicting workout is for you.Crossfit is becoming a major player in the sports and fitness community with approximately 8,300 gyms across 97 different countries, it has become an international fitness sensation taking the world by storm.When most people think of Crossfit, they think of extremely buff men and women that spend all their free time at the gym, intensely lifting heavy objects and grunting, the testosterone almost palpable in the air. Walking into a gym it is not uncommon to see faces contorted under the pressures of extreme effort, sweat dripping from every pore and everyone doing an insane amburpees. You find yourself surrounded by the sound of loud techno music, clanging barbells, grunts of anguish and voices of the group cheering on others to finish the workout and not give in.
I joined the Crossfit community this summer in search of a way to keep myself motivated to workout after losing the shelter of my coaches from high school. The first box I joined was Crossfit8035 in my hometown of Des Moines and then Crossfit Waco upon returning to Baylor. After my first WOD (workout of the day), I was hooked and I have been a proud Crossfitter ever since.
Here are 8 things that I have learned about why this sport is so contagious:
1. The Community: While you might have to be a little crazy to push yourself through the WOD, it is reassuring to have people around you that are doing the same. The community is the most supportive I have ever experienced. Whether you are the strongest or the weakest, there is always someone there to push and encourage you through the workout. This strong community is built around your mutual suffering together through a WOD but is sustained by the genuine kindness of the individuals.
2. The Coaches: No one is as personable, knowledgeable, encouraging or as tough as a Crossfit trainer. They know how to push you to achieve your highest potential and support your in your weakest moments. Their knowledge of Crossfit and love of the sport is inspiring for anyone that comes into the box.
3. The Uniqueness: You will not see a stair stepper, treadmill or any other typical workout machine with a television attached at a Crossfit box. What you will see is pull-up bars, kettlebells, gymnastic rings, climbing ropes and olympic lifting bars. We do not rely on man made machines because our bodies are the machines. You won't find anything like the Crossfit atmosphere anywhere near your local Globo Gym.
4. The WOD: Every single WOD is a challenge. Nothing is the same. There are endless combinations of basic, repetitive movements. Going into the gym and working through a fresh challenge is nothing short of exhilarating. Each unique WOD challenges you mentally and physically differently than others before it and surely others after.
5. The Addiction: There is something addicting about this sport and I think it stems from pure accomplishment. There is something to be said about walking into the box, looking at the workout with dread thinking to yourself, I will never be able to do this, then walking out of the box after murdering the hardest workout of your life. The best part is knowing that you can come back tomorrow and experience the same sense of accomplishment all over again.
6. The Scalability: Coming into a Crossfit box for the first time was more than a bit intimidating, but I soon learned that there was nothing to be afraid of. Each Crossfit workout can be done by a beginner or a professional. You can do the workout with a PVC pipe or your bodyweight added to the bar. You can do kipping pull-ups, strict pull-ups, or, if you're like me, pull-ups with the assistance of a resistance band. They have solutions for any kind of ailment or disability.
7. The Results: It is so easy to see the results when you improve on your time in a WOD or add weight to the bar on your overhead squat. Nothing can compare to that sense of accomplishment. It is extremely satisfying to see your results so plainly in front of you.
8. The Lifestyle: Crossfit has enhanced my life in aspects that I never thought that a fitness program would. It is my best and most valued outlet. It is what motivates me to eat better, stay motivated and live a healthier lifestyle. I am stronger mentally and physically.
For all of the aforementioned reasons, Crossfit has changed my life. Crossfit is emotional, and raw; it's intense and a release. It is an amazing practice that you absolutely must experience for yourself!