In brief, CrossFit entails completing a series of exercises within a specified time frame. To see how it’s done, the curious will turn to vid-ucation via YouTube, followed closely by Instagram. You’ll see these muscular women, and super v-tapered men with etched six packs and overall just extraordinary lean physiques performing crazy and heavy lifts. Most ‘fit’ media personalities seem to have ‘spaghetti arms’ in comparison to these almost mythical beings. Thus, CrossFit is mistakenly idealised. Bearing in mind that these are extremely dedicated, professional athletes let’s try and get back down to earth for a mo. I’m a physically normal human being who just happens to be fairly obsessed with fitness so read on for 5 Things CrossFit Has Done for Me!
1. It’s not all about your body
That’s right, but how come? I wanted to start CrossFit because it could help me lose weight. Yes. Like any other sport or activity that increases overall calorific expenditure, given an adequate quantity of food. You start your first month focusing on losing weight, and you end your second month aiming for 10 unbroken pull ups. The performance comes first, then your body will begin to change shape gradually without you necessarily realising it. The focus shifts and we, both women and men, stop being so obsessed with our body and the images we see on the front cover of magazines. Becoming Mat Fraser? I wish it were that easy!
2. I learned how essential the group is
The sense of community is very strong and it engages you. It motivates you, and drives you to give your best. I’m not talking about the stereotypical gym buddy hype up. I’m talking about genuine support from your own community who want to see you do well. CrossFit is the only discipline in which even the last ones who complete the workout are applauded. No sincere effort goes without being recognised, and that’s pretty special.
3. I have learned a great deal of body awareness
Often, the workout exercises used require technique. Even a simple bodyweight squat requires a lot of attention. Who did squats for years only to discover that you didn’t even get to parallel (90-degrees) or lower? Who discovers that they can’t fully extend their arms to the ceiling without looking like my grandpa who curses or prays (depending on the mood of the interpreter)? That was me. Now I can fully relate and feel your body through every movement.
4. I have gained flexibility and core strength
You know that final moment of the gym session where you lie on the mat and start twisting in an endless series of inverse crunches, from below, from above, etc? Long after forgetting this rigmarole, you’ll realise just how much better and more comfortably you sit while busy at the laptop. Your back no longer hurts, you look in the mirror and notice a pair of beautiful vertical lines on the sides of your abdomen. Crunches? No thanks!
5. I have understood how to train my mind (in addition to the body)
CrossFit workouts often seem complicated, and almost impossible to finish. You often find yourself thinking “I can’t take it anymore”. Here is where you begin to understand the difference between true or ‘alleged’ fatigue. When you finally find yourself on the ground sweating and realise you’ve performed all those repetitions, you get a sense that those so-called ‘limits’ are only really in your own mind.