Why did I sign up for my first CrossFit class? It wasn’t because it seemed cool and trendy on Instagram (ok… that might have had an affect). I was plateauing physically and mentally with my inconsistent and lackluster workouts. Keep in mind, I have always excelled in sports and am a Kinesiology student with an emphasis in fitness. If it weren’t for two knee injuries and five concussions, I was assured to play college soccer. With that being said, I believed I was capable of pushing my body; I just needed a big (read HUGE) push to get motivated again.
If it weren’t for Jason, a CrossFit coach and friend of mine from school I am not sure I would have even tried CrossFit in the first place. At the end of every human biomechanics class, he would always suggest I take the plunge and try one of his classes. So, I thought, “Why the hell not! If it will get him to shut up about CrossFit, I’ll do it.” To get myself hyped up for my very first class, I found myself on social media watching the a few of the current CrossFit powerhouses, Sara Sigmisdottir and Mat Fraser to name a couple, perform snatches, thrusters, AMRAP workouts, double unders, muscle ups, and other ridiculously challenging exercises. Too much enigmatic CrossFit lingo for you? Yeah, me too. Here is a handful of the more basic CrossFit terms that may help you:
- Box: a CrossFit gym.
- AMRAP: “As Many Rounds/Reps as Possible” in a specific time period.
- WOD: workout of the day.
- MetCon: short for “metabolic condition;” these types of workouts are designed to train one’s endurance and stamina.
- Rx: “as prescribed;” one performs the workout as originally planned with no modifications to weight or movements.
I have to admit that I googled “CrossFit terms for beginners” because I AM that beginner! There is so much to learn, and quite honestly, it is rather frightening. I remember walking into the box for my very first workout feeling very intimated and nervous. There wasn’t too much to the box – just a handful of barbells, rigs, medicine balls, ropes, and infinite supplies of plates and weights. It looked like a warehouse at first glance. I soon learned that I had no reason to be nervous. I was quickly introduced to the rest of the class and they were eager to welcome me with open arms and huge smiles. Aaaah, what a relief!
Jason, and the entire class for that matter, kept a close eye on me to ensure my form was correct and to make sure I was comfortable and having fun. It was amazing. That was probably my favorite part of the entire experience. We all went through a gentle warm up, reviewed (and in my case, learned) form for a few heavy lifts, then had 15 minutes to build up to our 1 rep max (the maximum amount of weight you can lift for one repetition) in heavy snatch. Because I was new, Jason spent the whole 15 minutes coaching me through the snatch. For those of you who do not know what a snatch is, you basically yank a heavy barbell over your head and hope for the best. Yep… that is the exact CrossFit definition of a “snatch.” I loved the friendly competition that the WOD brought. The WOD was four rounds of a 400m sprint, 15 tricep dips, and 100 double unders (jump roping except the rope goes around you twice before your feet hit the ground for time). It was refreshing to see athletes of many different shapes and experience levels. I felt more comfortable knowing that others are still learning. I finished the workout in the middle of the pack gasping for air, drenched in sweat, but grinning through the temporary pain knowing that I absolutely killed my first CrossFit workout! An immediate sense of pride and accomplishment swept over me. From that moment on, I was addicted.
At the end of class, most members stuck around after to take off all of their gear and chat. I just sat there with them and listened. They all knew many details about each other’s lives and wanted to get to know mine. They asked my questions about school, my upbringing, and begged me to come back. As cliché as it sounds, it truly is like a family in the box. We cheer each other on, are supported, and provide support in hard times. The best part is that there is always something new to learn, and always something you can improve upon. CrossFit has taught me the importance of camaraderie, trusting my capabilities, setting realistic but challenging goals for myself, and celebrating every little victory. For anyone that is scared to start, like I was, know that everyone starts somewhere. Learn to embrace the journey and learn to let others help you reach your goals. CrossFit is a very community-driven sport, so please know that you are not alone.
Julia Callow | Writing Contributor
B.A | Kinesiology | Cal State Univ, Long Beach
Julia Callow, born in Santa Barbara, CA, is a fourth-year Kinesiology and Gerontology minor at Cal State Long Beach, emphasizing in fitness. Julia aspires to obtain a Master of Science in Gerokinesiology to help older adults become stronger and more independent. She became an AFPA Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Senior Fitness Specialist at the age of 18, then starting teaching spin classes shortly after. Embracing her red hair and love for clean eating, Julia created a health food blog on Instagram named @gingajulia, which emphasizes the importance of eating whole foods, practicing gratitude, and staying active. In her spare time, she enjoys trying out new sports and activities like rock climbing and slacklining, cooking, traveling, and being Blake Griffin and Lionel Messi’s number one fan. Instagram @gingajulia | View My Articles
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