To those following my social media accounts, you’d most likely seen quite a few posts related to my CrossFit journey. A couple of years ago, I got bored with my usual gym and outdoor run routine that I nervously tried CrossFit – a seemingly intimidating and hardcore workout not fit for someone who was never athletic and was an obese majority of his life.
Today, I’ll be the first one to disagree with my misconception. Sticking and getting addicted to the ‘CrossFit lifestyle’ is one accomplishment that I’m quite proud to wave not only because it’s a source of personal fulfillment, but also my way of inspiring others who aim at starting a healthier living.
Though very far from being an expert (still got tons to learn!), my progression over the last 24+ months are proof points that it is never too late for anyone to give CrossFit a chance and eventually get hooked to it. Why? Here are my top 10 reasons.
1. You look forward to the WOD (workout of the day). You do something different everyday making it exciting unlike your typical and predictable gym routine. An hour WOD will have the right balance of warm up, strength, high-intensity and cool down exercises that’ll power up your day. If you come to the box (it’s CrossFit’s term for gym) five times a week, you’d have five very different workout types. How fun is that?!
2. You try to learn something new all the time. All the moves are dynamic, skill-based and scientific. To make the most out of each, you’d be encouraged to perform every movement accurately as every routine targets certain muscles and body parts. For instance, I used to think that there’s only one way to do sit ups – to my surprise, I’ve learned lots of variations and intensity to target certain parts of the abdomen.
3. You aren’t embarrassed to make mistakes. Coaches (not fitness instructors) lead the hour long session with your co-athletes (yes, it’s a sport). They are there not to intimidate but to teach, help and push you to be better. As you perform every physical challenge, you’ll make mistakes and that’s totally fine. To date, I can’t even do a handstand nor be comfortable with snatches – instead of being embarrassed, I just keep on trying.
4. You keep track of your progress. You don’t compete with anyone but yourself. Since there’s a way to measure your performance, you’ll be amazed to witness your visible progression. Plus, every activity can be scaled based on what you can do. True story, when I started, I can’t even lift myself to do a pull up so did ring rows, then moved to a thick band, then thin band, then jumping pull ups. Now, I can manage a few kipping pull ups – and hell yeah, I’m proud of my development!
5. You enjoy the friendly and perky atmosphere. Unlike the usual gyms, one of CrossFit’s pillars is its community atmosphere where members are friends and are sincerely supportive of each other. We celebrate every athlete’s achievements, big or small. We wait for everyone to complete the WOD before we go and keep cheering on for each other. And wherever you go in the world (yes, it’s like a global organization – you can drop-in at boxes wherever you are), you get the same vibe and feel.
6. You develop self-confidence and self-fulfillment. If you’ll leave your ego out the door, keep a ‘can do’ attitude, listen to your coaches and don’t do a half-hearted performance in every session, you’ll end up fulfilled and confident. Since you’ll see your glaring imperfections, you can decide to thrive in humility and not give up til you experience the thrill of finally doing the right moves. Tip: while performing the WOD, remember that it’s a mind game coupled with managing your emotions well.
7. Your lifestyle changes for the better. Once you start experiencing the CrossFit high, you’ll start adapting a better lifestyle. You’ll eventually realize that eating right (not less) will give you the needed energy and help your metabolism. You’ll also aim to have enough sleep to rest and develop your muscles. Proper discipline will kick-in without anyone enforcing it, but you’ll decide to embrace it and aim for holistic development.
8. You develop goals and commit to achieving them. Ringing the bell (literally, there’s a bell) every time you make a new PB is orgasmic (PB or ‘personal best’ happens when you beat your previous record for the same movement)! It’s not showing off, but celebrating success for making the effort and nailing it. I’ve made my list of challenges, turned them to goals and now start ticking them off – best example is double unders! I literally hated, cursed and got frustrated with it til I finally managed to do one! At the end of the year, I’m aiming to do 20!
9. You are better at time management. You’ll develop the ‘fear of missing out’ mentality once you’re hooked so you’ll make time to train. Life’s always busy, but same as all other tasks, the key is to find time for things to work. For some, working out early mornings to power up and get it out of the way is perfect, while I do mine straight after work. As the WOD’s time bound, you’ll find yourself transferring the discipline in what you do, in turn helping improve your time management skills and productivity levels.
10. You are happier and have a more positive outlook. May be psychological or due to the release of endorphins as you train, but you’ll feel unstoppable, pragmatic and happy after every session. Imagine devoting just an hour every day that result to an over-all positive mindset that develops that amazing feeling inside and out. Personally, I feel younger and stronger and become more patient, open, persevering. Definitely, ticks off one of my many ‘happiness’ definitions.
Don’t just take my word for it, but do yourself a favor and experience the ‘CrossFit effect’. Just an hour daily of a life changing journey will help create the better version of yourself. Once hooked, there’s no turning back and you’ll just be glad you’ve decided to jump in.
THE CROSSFIT EFFECT
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