After running the marathon this year and covering nearly every inch of road in my tiny town on runs, I decided to change up my usual routine and try CrossFit this summer. I figured it would be a challenge, but it became evident immediately that I had no clue what I was actually getting myself into. By the end of my first workout, my Lululemon outfit was soaked in sweat and the smile on my face was replaced by a grimace. This was followed by at least four days of hobbling around my house and being unable to extend my arms all the way. Regardless of the pain, I quickly became obsessed.
CrossFit is designed to target ten different areas of fitness: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. With a different WOD (“workout of the day”) every time, you’re constantly using different muscles and strengthening different areas. When I started, it was apparent that I was a runner – strong quads, weak everywhere else. By combining different activities, you work out those imbalances and improve your overall wellbeing. Although CrossFit has been widely criticized for causing injury and being too rigorous, the key is to focus on your form and scale the WODs to fit your skill level.
Although you’ll feel pain in muscles you didn’t know you had, CrossFit is surprisingly addicting. While some WODs measure how quickly you can complete everything, others give you a certain amount of time and your score is based on how many rounds you can complete. I’ve had 6-minute WODs and I’ve had 45-minute WODs (namely “Kelly”, five rounds of a 400m run, 30 box jumps, and 30 wall balls) and they’re equally agonizing. However, the sense of accomplishment is unmatched and every milestone feels like a big one.
More than once, I’ve been struggling through my last set of burpees or hand-release push-ups when other people from the box have come over to finish with me. “How many do you have left?” they’ll ask as they join in, despite the fact that they’ve already finished the entire workout. It’s been said that CrossFit is the only sport where you cheer the loudest for the person finishing last, and I can certainly attest to that.
Fortunately for BC students, Justin Wright ’12 and Mike McConville ’11 started a class at the Plex with CrossFit-like workouts. While Justin is now one of the head coaches at Reebok CrossFit Back Bay and Mike has joined the Army, current BC students have stepped up to continue their legacy. If you’re up for a challenge, check out the CrossFit class at the Plex this fall. Pretty soon, you’ll be talking just like this. And trust me – if I can do it, anyone can.