Crossfit is a gateway drug

by Jennifer Hudy on August 6, 2014

in CrossFit, Eattoperform

Crossfit is a gateway drug.

When most people sign up for Crossfit, they are tricked into thinking that they are signing up for a workout; for the high-intensity interval training, the heavy lifting, the gymnastics. The perception is that you will walk in, crank up your beast mode, suffer (or endure) a hardcore workout, succeeded by lying on the floor in a pool of sweat, sometimes accompanied by literal blood and tears. For some, this is all that you get. You have failed to explore the opportunities that could be presented to you.

Throughout my year and a half of Crossfit, I have absorbed so much information from showing up to class, learning the movements, doing the workouts. I have improved upon numerous skills and lifts, simply by taking the first step and walking into the box. But what I did not realize, and what many others don’t realize, is that within the walls of the box lies an opportunity to be exposed to so many more things that you were not before, opening up windows and doors that you never noticed before.

Crossfit is a gateway drug. Through Crossfit, you are exposed to so many more things that can alter your life. Find out more by following @winetoweights at www.winetoweightlifting.com

Community

The prime added-benefit that you encounter when you join a Crossfit box is the community that comes along with it. No matter how hard you go at it in another gym, you will never experience the closeness and family bonding that goes on at an actual box.

Not only will your fellow athletes become your second family, there are few places that you can do the same workout that the sixth fittest Master’s athlete in the world is doing, alongside the mother of four who is working out before her kids go to school, a chiropractor, real estate agent, lawyer, student, and sometimes, the unemployed. The box does not discriminate against background, race, social status. Everyone is an equal and everyone understands each other. Outside the box, these are people who you would never share a social circle with, but here, we’re all family.

Paleo.. or not

With Crossfit comes a natural introduction to the paleo lifestyle. Beyond the simplistic definition of eating real food, eliminating grains and sugars, and structuring meals around meats and veggies, paleo expands way further. It was through researching more about the diet that I opted to do a Whole30, which eventually led me to rethink everything I know about food. I discovered fermented foods and bone broth (and an obsession with my slowcooker), and way more about gut health than I ever even heard of before.

I learned about different supplements and using food to my advantage rather than just eating because it tasted good and because you have to eat. It was because of my Crossfit workouts that I chose to start basing my food choices on my performance. My wine consumption has significantly decreased, I no longer live off of pasta and tortilla chips and Chinese food.

What you eat before and after your workout will affect not only your performance, but also your recovery. What is that quote? Abs are made in the kitchen? You put in so much effort in the gym, your food choices should support it.

When a WOD isn’t enough

When I discovered Crossfit, I discovered a love of heavy lifting, and striving for PRs. Over the past 3 months, it has led to my heart being stolen by Olympic lifting. For others it has paved a path to powerlifting or strongman or looking to become more competitive.

People outgrow the traditional Crossfit classes and end up putting in time before or after class to work on skills that are lacking, to attack the “goats.” No longer is just doing the workout enough; you sign up for extra classes to help you improve upon certain skills, and you solicit the help of the coaches for extra work to help you reach that muscle-up goal. You watch endless hours of YouTube videos on progressions and technique. You buy your own jumrope and equip yourself with all of the latest clothing and shoes.

I started listening to endless podcasts to keep up with what is going on in the social world of Crossfit, but also the latest health and fitness trends, and realizing everything I thought I knew about health and fitness is wrong.

More important than the workouts

On top of the training and eating, there is so much more that goes into being successful at Crossfit, that I likely would have never put much emphasis on. With Crossfit comes a need for mobility, and a goal of striving to becoming supple. Through this, I not only have gained a greater interest in yoga, but also developed a relationship with a chiropractor and a sports massage therapist. I have made attempts to reduce stress in my life and to simplify things, though it is a long process.

It was because of Crossfit that I signed up for my first (and last) half-marathon, had the courage to do a Warrior Dash, started swimming lessons, and even gained the confidence to do a photo shoot. Crossfit has completely changed my perception of myself.

It is without a doubt that Crossfit will change you. What happens inside the box never stays inside the box.

Your turn..
What have you done that you never have done before Crossfit?

What is one skill that you have spent extra time working on?
Do you just go to class and leave, or do you put in extra work?
How many hours of sleep do you get each night?
Do you put a focus on mobility or yoga?

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links in which I may receive cash or product compensation for promoting. However, I only talk about things I love, so click on them and buy them to help support my blogging efforts. :)

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura August 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

“No matter how hard you go at it in another gym, you will never experience the closeness and family bonding that goes on at an actual box.”OK, I have to beg to differ here! My weightlifting & powerlifting gym is where I’ve made some of my closest friends, and we’re definitely a family. The secondary gym I go (MMA/UFC gym) to is similar, and if I went there more often I’d probably feel as close to those people as I do to my WL/PL friends.
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~jenniferlynn August 6, 2014 at 10:33 am

Okay, maybe that was a bit overgeneralizing.. I was thinking more globo-gym here.. I can imagine a powerlifting gym can have a quite similar bonding experience than CF!

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Laura August 8, 2014 at 8:49 am

I guess a globo gym would be less friendly, you’re right…. But you’re not the only person to say this about CF, though, and while I try to be nice about CF this assertion drives me nuts! I think plenty of people who have made firm friends via their running club or swim team (etc etc) would feel the same!
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karla @ finding my fit August 6, 2014 at 10:45 am

love this! it is so true yet people are so narrow-minded with their negative perceptions of crossfit. i’m learning the hard way the importance of mobility.
this morning i had 15 min of PT work with a PT/sports med doc and it was 15 min of ‘hurt so good’ pain. elbow scraping and manipulations of elbow, neck, and shoulders. heavenly!
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Shelly August 6, 2014 at 10:47 am

This is so true! I never thought I’d consider swimming, running races or doing yoga, but the truth is that CrossFit has made me realize that in order to be the best version of myself I need to cross-train in multiple disciplines and be willing to attacked my weaknesses head on.
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Sarah August 6, 2014 at 10:57 am

What I love MOST about CrossFit is the empowerment it gives women. WOW….look at these beautiful women kicking ass and squating twice their bodyweight, or deadlifting 300lbs. That is cool.

I would argue that even though we want to think CrossFit is for everyone, the cost of going of membership is not for everyone. Thankfully, my coaches have worked with me as I am going back to school full time, so I am basically unemployed, but I know that I need this in my life. So, that is the only bummer of CrossFit is the cost. But to me, it is worth the cost.

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Jen @ Chase the Red Grape August 6, 2014 at 11:14 am

Crossfit has become such a staple in my life – both my husband and I have gained so many friends, we are strong, healthy and even do mobility sessions together in the evening!
Before Crossfit, my doctor told be I should never and will never run (due to lack of muscle on my left knee) – but through making it stronger at crossfit, I was able to do a 5k a couple of weeks ago with no pain and no injury! :-)
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Chris @ ifailedfran August 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Awesome! I’m with you, I’ve worked out or been physically activity my entire life. Even right up until I started CrossFit, when I was going to my gym multiple times a week, my fitness mostly stayed in that gym. I didn’t actively seek out knowledge or thirst for technique assistance like I do now with CrossFit. I’m conscious of how I sit and stand because my body isn’t made to slump forward. I eat certain foods at certain times with the knowledge of how the nutrients will fuel my body and how my body will respond to them. Perhaps that’s why us CrossFitters talk about CF all the time… It is a drug that truly penetrates all domains of our lives.
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~jenniferlynn August 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm

How could I forget the talking about it all of the time and it invading every social media outlet..? ;)

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NIck August 7, 2014 at 10:12 am

Nice article,

I do think that it does not matter what form of physical activity you choose to transform your body. I went the “Globo gym”, “body-building” route and found that in order to meet my physical goals I adopted many religious practices. Body-transformation has helped me be more mind-full and aware of life.

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Nicole
Twitter: mast2mar
August 9, 2014 at 9:58 am

While I’m not a CF-er, I do enjoy my body pump classes! Challenging myself and building muscle to help with all the other training I’ve got going on :) Plus since I’m now considered a “regular” (I go to both AM classes with the same teach), I now know more about the other “regulars” and our instructor. Not as intimate as CF of a running club, but I’d say pretty good for a “globo” gym! Probably helps to take globo gym classes and having the right teacher who makes it seem more like a family :)I still totally think its great you are swimming!!! Nice recovery total body workout :)
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