CrossFit: Four-Month Progress Check

On May 6th, my husband and I started CrossFit Elements at CrossFit Falls Church and have been attending CrossFit at least twice a week ever since. In the 4 months we've been members, and since graduating Elements, I've attended more than 40 classes and did things I never thought I'd do: things like 100 hang power cleans at 55lbs, a 185 lb backsquat, and rope climbs! CrossFit has been a whirlwind to say the least, and I wanted to take a time-out to share the good, bad, and ugly of it since I started this journey.

The Good:

I'm stronger!

// You can see it in my progress pictures! I've NEVER had a bicep (not even a baby bicep) but you can definitely see one popping through now! I also love the way my shoulders and chest have leaned out. We do a lot of shoulder-to-overhead lifts so it's no wonder I see a difference there.

IMG_6848November 2012 // August 2013 IMG_5220

I've lost weight. 

// I've been meaning to share a little about my own post-wedding weight loss because within the last year or so, I've dropped the 10 lbs I put on after our wedding. I lost the first bit before our cruise (around the time we started CrossFit Elements) and the last bit during the Paleo challenge. I need to take another side-by-side comparison photo to see if I look any different than I do in these photos taken back in August. (I should seeing as I just finished the Paleo challenge!)

Did I mention I'm stronger? 

2013-10-22 15.30.03

My endurance has improved significantly. 

// A sure way to know how I'm really feeling physically is to workout. You know when you go into the gym after months off and try to run or take a yoga class, and you feel immediately depleted? I've been there! But recently, my trips to the gym have been exhilarating! When I see my trainer at work (I go to the gym on my lunch break and meet with a trainer about twice a week), I feel stronger and faster than ever before.

Mentally, I'm stronger, too.

// I still have a long way to go to break several mental barriers, but in general, I'm much more confident than I used to be. I think this has to do with the fact that I've continued to go to Crossfit, even though it's often scary and challenging, and I might suck at whatever we're doing that day.

Better Everything with Aaron. 

// Sharing the experience of CrossFit with my mate has had so many amazing benefits. I'm really glad we have similar pasion for something, and can connect and talk about something we both love all the time. I've also really enjoyed watching Aaron get stronger and faster (he's kicking ass y'all!), and connect so well with the community (everyone at our box loves him, I swear). Sometimes we compete during workouts to see who can finish first and the friendly competition drives us both. We always encourage each other, too. I think CrossFit couples rock!

IMG_6910^^Aaron has been trying to help me with my handstand push-ups!^^

Working out alongside real athletes

// I really enjoy the enviornment at CrossFit. Classes are small and coaches are really invested. I also feel really lucky to workout alongside some serious athletes - that wouldn't happen in a regular gym - a lot of our coaches are former Division 1 athletes, yet we're all able to do the same workout. I think that makes me a better athlete too.

The Bad:

It still sucks sometimes.

// There's a few exercises that I don't enjoy like deadlifts (call me crazy!), pull-ups, and wall balls and when I see those things on the workout of the day, I definitely hesitate to show up. (Especially when it's something I can't do at all, like 7 rope climbs or 30 pistols!). But, I think that's the point. I think I've gotten stronger and more confident by showing up and giving it my best effort. Aaron has been a huge help in getting me to CrossFit consistently, too.

Making the time to go.

// I never thought I'd have trouble just getting to CrossFit but I do! I am so used to the convenience of having a gym at work and working out at lunch, physically getting across town in time for a class is tough! Also, when friends and family want to get-togther during a time when I'd usually go to CrossFit, it's hard to say no (though, I'm getting better at it)!

It is kinda like a cult.

// I say that because I find it hard to connect with people about working out who don't do CrossFit. I mean, of course, I can talk to anyone about working out, but I love talking about CrossFit. I think that's why it connects me and Aaron like it does - we have each other to talk t oabout it consistantly. I really want some of my friends to get involved with it, but I know it's not for everyone.

Crossfit 1

The Ugly:

I get really awful bruises sometimes.

// As much as I love CrossFit, I don't love the disgusting bruises and cuts I've gotten as a result of some workouts. The ones on my collar bones are especially gross - someone told me they look like hickies! Ugh! Interestingly, the bruises come from working with the barbell and I LOVE the barbell. So, I guess it's worth it in the end.

2013-08-25_0030^^ This is totally disgusting, I know! ^^

And I have ugly hands.

// It's so true! CrossFit is the sport of ugly hands. Whether it's from pull-ups or work with the barbell, it's easy to scrape up your hands. I don't think this is a big deal, but I have had to learn to take off my wedding band for certain workouts. Otherwise, I end up with some really painful cuts!

2013-10-29 14.59.28^^ Eww! ^^

Oh, and sometimes there are butt sores (better known as "raspberries").

// They joke at my box about "raspberries," also known as little rashes that form from your butt rubbing against the floor during situps! I remember getting them the first week... I thought I was the only one until Aaron mentioned he might have a sore on his butt! Come to find out- we had matching berries! Lol! Talk about hilarious! We had a good laugh over that one. (See #5 above!) But, I have to say, I really hate these things and while they were funny the first time, they aren't every time. Nowadays I put a yoga mat down to protect my butt during situps.

So there you have it, the good, bad and ugly of CrossFit as I know it about four months in. Sometime at the beginning of November I plan to do some benchmark workouts and time my 400 meter run so that I can do more comparison down the road. Overall, though, there's no doubt I love CrossFit and for almost every bad or ugly thing, there's a positive to outweigh it. I imagine the gains in strength and confidence will soon overshadow anything negative there is to say about my new favorite sport. You can't argue with progress!

Do you do CrossFit? How long have you been going?

What has been your experience?