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CrossFit My First Experience

A friend of mine recently opened a CrossFit gym called Square One CrossFit.  Located in Mississauga, my involvement started when I offered my assitance in helping them create a website, far from my specialty but I’ve always been a jack of all trades.  Since being involved in creating the website and coupled with my constant search for information I started to learn more about CrossFit and finally decided to give it a try myself.  Before going into more details I should start off with what on earth CrossFit is, to that end I suggest you read this.

Knowing you didn’t read the previous link I will go into a small general explanation.  The easiest way to explain CrossFit would be: A back to basics approach to physical fitness.  One where machines don’t rule (aside from rowing machines) but hard intense effort is rewarded with well rounded fitness.  Push-ups, chin-ups, Squats, Sit-ups, lunges, Weighs, kettlebells, rowing, running, the list goes on, are all employed by the CrossFit athelete.  One doesn’t speacialize, every workout is unique.  The workouts are intense, but are generally comprised of what is called the “Work Out of the Day” or “WOD” for short.   Many of the standard WODs as posted daily by Crossfit.com have names.  An example of a WOD would be “Tyler” which comprises five rounds for time of, 7 Muscle-ups, 95 pound Sumo-deadlift high-pull, 21 reps.   The following day the WOD might look something like this:

For time:
21 Hip-Back Extensions
Run 400 meters
18 Hip-Back Extensions
Run 400 meters
15 Hip-Back Extensions
Run 400 meters
12 Hip-Back Extensions
Run 400 meters
9 Hip-Back Extensions
Run 400 meters
6 Hip-Back Extensions
Run 400 meters
3 Hip-Back Extensions
Run 400 meters

The next day would be equally something as grueling, rewarding, and different.  CrossFit is NOT about speacializing, just the oposite, the goal is being a rounded athelete.  For example, someone doing CrossFit would more than likely not try “Tyler” again for 2-3 months.

Ok, now that you know what CrossFit is you might ask yourself why on earth someone would try this.  Quite simply, it works, but I have to admit, it isn’t for everyone and so brings us to the point of this post, I’m giving CrossFit a go.  I started yesterday. First I should give you some background about me, I’m 6’3″ and 225lbs and not in great shape, not completely out of shape since I started running about 3 months ago, but I’m far from in shape too.  Cardio wise I’m starting to improve but when you’re a life long geek that hasn’t had much if any physical activity in 15 years, it takes a while to get back on the horse.  My road to better health started a few years ago, I was at 260lbs and had high cholesterol and HAD to do something about it, mostly through diet I dropped down to 225, lost 6″ from my waist and had my cholesterol under control in 6 months.  I noticed recently that I was starting to “fall off the horse” – My weight went up to 237, so I started to eat better again and started to run 3 months ago.  My goal is a weight of 205 and with CrossFit’s help maybe another 10lbs of muscle for a total of 215, I’m 6″3″ so I don’t want to be too skinny.  So yesterday I started with Crossfit.

Yesterday’s workout started with a “simple” warm up:

  1. Suicide
  2. 10 Sit-ups
  3. 10 Push-Ups
  4. 10-Pull-Ups

Do the above twice – That was the warm up, for someone not in the best of shape that isn’t just a simple warm-up.  After the Warm-up we moved onto some instruction on how to do a proper squat, it’s harder than it looks, and a push press (see this Youtube video for what a push press is).  We then moved onto Saturday’s WOD:

  1. Row 200m
  2. 10 x Front squat 65lbs
  3. 6 x Push Press 55lbs

5 Rounds of the above.

Honestly it doesn’t sound like much but I promise you no matter who you are it will KICK YOUR ASS.  Unfortunately I couldn’t finish the WOD, not because I ran out of steam, but rather due to previous injury, a series of breaks (5 of them) to my wrists and various parts of my hand from when I was younger.  Unfortunately the squat and push press involved weight on a bent wrist, something my wrists can’t handle.  I got through 2.5 rounds of the WOD and had to stop.  Does that mean I can’t do CrossFit?  Nope.  CrossFit is all about scalability, I spoke with the folks at SquareOne CrossFit and we discussed what I could do next time to get around my injuries.  We’re going to change the barbell in the push press for a pair of kettlebells which will allow me to do the press without needing to bend my wrist.  Likewise for the squat I can start by holding a medicine ball or some other substitute for the weights.  Scalability is one of the hallmarks of CrossFit and one of the reasons this works for young and old alike.

I have to admit even though I wasn’t able to complete the full workout I’m still feeling it like crazy the following day.  Interesting my previous experience with weights was quite different with muscles hurting in very specific areas – one day was upper body following day lower body – However with this CrossFit WOD I don’t just feel it in one muscle but just about EVERY muscle.  My quads, my abs, traps, glutes, and various other smaller muscle groups were all woken up like nothing I’ve ever felt.  Oh, and I FEAR the stairs today, my legs think I’m insane.  But it feels GOOD!

Will I stick with CrossFit?  It is too early to tell, it is VERY intense and I can tell you it certainly isn’t for everyone.  That said, I’m going to give it a fare shake and hopefully get rid of this extra 20lbs, and ideally put on that 10-15lbs of muscle in the process, if I decided it isn’t for me, I’ll always have my running.

Another post to come later in the week following my next WOD.

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  1. October 21, 2009 at 8:58 pm
  2. January 16, 2010 at 3:21 pm

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