When you hear “CrossFit,” the mental image is often of an intense, hostile environment full of jacked-up personal trainers yelling workout commands at their clients; and crazed fitness junkies doing endless amounts of reps with the heaviest weights imaginable.
This was pretty much the exact image I had in my head as I drove to the Carolina CrossFit gym. However, immediately after walking through the door I realized my perceptions of the CrossFit experience were wrong.
While there were several muscular men and women walking around, no one was yelling, and everyone seemed happy to be there. The overall environment of the gym was very inviting and actually made me excited to work out. The workouts did look intense, but enjoyable, and all the trainers were continually motivating their clients and congratulating them on their progress. It felt more like a community, rather than the hierarchical trainer and client situation I had imagined.
I took the introduction to CrossFit class, which is free and great for anyone interested in CrossFit training, no matter what fitness level they’re at. Before starting the workout, my instructor explained the three main aspects of CrossFit: constant variety, functional movements and high intensity.
The high intensity, which is the most well known aspect of CrossFit, is actually not something that happens every workout. The varying levels of intensity prevent overworking your body. Learning about these aspects dispelled my previous perception that this kind of workout is not safe for your body. In fact, the creators make sure that you are exercising in the safest way possible.
After explaining how CrossFit really works, Josh led the class through a warm up, which included a few minutes on a stationary bike, lunges and dynamic stretches, or moving as you stretch. Then we moved on to the good stuff — the actual workout. I was very eager to get my first taste of CrossFit and excited to see what was in store.
The routine was pretty simple; there were no complicated moves or weights. It consisted of intervals of squats, sit-ups, pushups and pull-ups. All the moves also had several variations to accommodate for all fitness levels. For example, using rings to pull yourself up at an angle instead of a full vertical pull-up, or doing pushups on your knees or at an incline, which is what I had to do. Josh encouraged all of us throughout the workout and did a great job explaining how to do the movements and the different modifications.
By the end of the class, my arms were sore and I was sweating, but I felt great. I had conquered CrossFit, something I never imagined happening in my life. It’s definitely not as scary as most people think. Although the monthly rate is a little pricey, I highly recommend at least trying the intro class to anyone interested in CrossFit, or just looking for a fun, effective workout.