Friday, August 17, 2012

The Experts Weigh In: CrossFit, We Won't Quit!

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CrossFit is a combination of constantly varied, high-intensity functional movements. What does that mean? It's basically a principle strength and conditioning program. In a nutshell, it's a mixture of Olympic weight lifting, gymnastics, flexibility, rowing, running, swimming and biking, to name a few. CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program but instead a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains... Cardiovascular and Respiratory Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.

I was introduced to CF by a friend a little over 3.5 years ago and haven’t been back to the 'globo gym' since. I'd been doing the same workout routine for 14 years and was ready for something different. I was eager to get off the plateau I had been stuck on and to see results again, rather than just maintaining the body and fitness that I had for so long. The program worked. I have been a CF Trainer for a little under a year now. I love training clients and helping them reach their fitness goals, while sharing my love and passion for CF with new people. 

I love CF, not only because of the amazing workouts and results, but because the CF community sells itself and keeps people coming back for more. I've made some great friends at the gym and ones that I now call some of my best. Everyone at a CF gym is there for the same reason: to be pushed hard, to reach their goals, and to step outside their comfort zone. That being said, it all gives us a common bond. Although we are very different people from all walks of life, we all strive to be fit (and both mentally and physically strong), which bonds us more deeply that I ever thought possible. The community is great. It is so motivating to go to the gym everyday because you know all of your CF buddies will be there to hold you accountable. Not only that, but you want to go in and compete everyday with them to see where you stand. The bragging rights don't hurt either. This forces me to workout harder and push myself way more than I would if I was working out alone.

The biggest changes I have seen are not necessarily on the scale, as I've gained more muscle mass and muscle weighs more than fat. The real changes are how my clothing fits and how my body looks. I have a lot more muscle tone, stronger abs and definition all over my body. I feel good and I love it. When I started CF, I weighed 250 lbs. and now I weigh 225 lbs. So in my first 3 months of CrossFit, I lost approximately 25 lbs. I CF so I look good naked!  

Lol, just kidding...  I saw that on a t-shirt not long ago. 

As for the guy vs. girl thing: our workouts are the same but the weight is adjusted depending on the person. The guys are very competitive against each other, but the women take the competition very seriously too. I will go on the record and say that CF chicks are HOT!  

Crossfit has become a huge part of my life and I highly recommend trying it, especially if you've found yourself in a workout 'rut'. Hey, I love CF so much that I hope to open my own gym and train full time.

Bubba Brocard is a special education teacher at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia, a CF Level 1 Trainer at CrossFit East Cobb and a competitive wakeboarder and extreme sports junkie. He aspires to open his own CrossFit gym this year and in the meantime, you can find him on the water, the slopes, the streets... basically anywhere the adrenaline kicks in!


LADIES! Listen up. Forget any current horror thoughts you might have about CrossFit. I am NOT... I repeat, NOT a meat-headed female version of a male, nor do I go to CrossFit with the intention of lifting obscene amounts of weight. I am not buff. You would never look at me and think I missed my calling in women's weight lifting competitions.

Image courtesy of CrossFit RVA
So now that we made it through the disclaimer (phew), I go to CrossFit to get toned, raise my heart rate to fat-blasting levels and work my body out in ways that I didn't even know possible (hello, arm, ab and leg muscles!). Not to mention, the social aspect of CrossFit is an added bonus. As you may have heard, it's kind of like a 'cult', but with hot, sweaty boys running around with their shirts off. Yes, please! But before trying CrossFit, I was (maybe) like you - terrified and intimidated, not wanting to end up looking like I had recently taken several doses of steroids. I gave it a whirl though after my friend talked me into trying it. "Just go once, just once!" was all she kept saying.

Image courtesy of CrossFit RVA
Fast forward six months to now... I am so glad I went 'just once' because that experience turned into a CrossFit membership, something I look forward to every week! I go 3 times/week, and it is SO MUCH FUN. Every day and every workout is different. You're never bored and your body never plateaus, which is the perfect combination in my eyes.

Image courtesy of CrossFit RVA
I have seen quite a bit of change from my 'I just usually run' body - more definition all around, a firmer derriere and increased endurance during runs. I love the personal challenge it brings - 'Can I do this faster or better than I did before?' - and the complete kick in the butt I get after such a short workout. Let me say that again... SHORT workout. It doesn't get any better than that. Short and sweet and oh so effective!

There are definitely things that I completely suck at. Let's see... handstand push-ups (do what?!?), box jumps and double unders, to name a few. But everyone says that you struggle with the workouts no matter who you are or what type of body you have when you start. It's made for ANYONE. You can be overweight, avoiding workouts for years, OR you can be a dedicated fitness feign who watches their diet. There are ways to scale EVERY exercise for your particular body type and skill level.

CrossFit really is a great concept, and now I understand why so many people jump on the CrossFit wagon. It's totally addicting. I am enjoying my 3 visits each week and am so happy I tried one of the best workout phenomenons since the days of Richard Simmons! Come on, ladies! Don't be scared to join the fun!

A native of Chicago, Kristen Schloegel is a surgical/trauma ICU nurse at VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. After being lured to CrossFit by an old friend, Kristen loved it so much that she never looked back. She now goes three times a week. When she's not at the gym, Kristen enjoys exploring her neighborhood, cooking new recipes, drinking coffee like it's her job and indulging in her ritual evening cocktail, gin with cucumbers.

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