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There have been many other articles like this one, and there will be more. There has also been many articles that argue the opposite, and there will be more. Before I go into my personal experience, I want to explain that it is just that…my personal experience. Everyone is different, and what works for you works for you. I know CrossFit gets a lot of love and a lot of hate. I think the majority of the hate is directed towards those that act like CrossFit is THE best thing out there, and that they are the best because of what they do. I get where that feeling can come from, that “badassitude” is something that a lot of CrossFitters seem to acquire, which is actually one of the feelings that keeps me coming back (I’ll get more into that a little later in this article). I don’t agree that CrossFit is the best program, and don’t think others should preach it that way either. It may be the best program for myself, but we are all different. While I don’t enjoy swimming laps or doing sets of different exercises at a gym or participating in an aerobics class, that doesn’t mean that those aren’t great ways to exercise and stay in shape. If you are enjoying yourself and being active, then I am all for that! Do whatever makes you happy! 🙂
That being said, CrossFit is what makes me happy! 😀
Before I joined CrossFit, I spent up to two hours in the gym doing whatever program I was trying at that moment. It was good, but I was bored, and had a hard time pushing myself. I didn’t look forward to going to the gym and I just felt like time was dragging while I was there. Even with my music blasting over my headphones, I just didn’t enjoy it that much. I would see others that seemed to be enjoying themselves, but to me I just thought moving from machine to machine was tedious and boring.
Then there was the insecurity. I battled with insecurity my entire life and I still had bouts of it while at the gym. I’d continuously watch others and compare myself to them. Then I would be the only girl in the free-weights section and feel self-conscious about what I was doing, like many other women.
I also had a really hard time pushing myself. It was difficult to be to be excited about an exercise or movement or have the drive to do it without someone telling me to do it.
Enter CrossFit. I had heard about it and always wanted to give it a try. Especially since they do a lot of barbell exercises, and I had really wanted to be a girl that lifted barbells (and Planet Fitness didn’t have any barbells..or squat racks)! So I went to a class…
and it kicked my butt! At the end of a 10 minute WOD (workout of the day) I was exhausted and covered in sweat….. I loved it instantly!
So I kept going. The workouts are a lot shorter than what I was used to–they can be anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. But I feel like I am accomplishing way more in those 5 minutes than I did when I spent two hours in the gym before. It was unlike anything I had ever done before. It was intense! At the end of a workout, I am usually breathing hard on the floor in a pile of sweat. But I feel like a badass, because I did it!
That’s the “badassitude” I was talking about that keeps me addicted. I feel strong and powerful and accomplished after every workout I finish, no matter what my time was…I mean, I just did some intense work!
I believe that badassitude is what led me to have the confidence I do nowadays. I may not be the strongest or the fastest in the class, but I am still working hard. I never pay attention to anyone else’s times or scores, I only ever compete with myself. But the fact that I stuck it through and finished the workout is enough to make me feel awesome!
That’s the biggest part of CrossFit that makes me happy. I have this new confidence in myself that I didn’t have before! The fact that I am consistently working hard and getting stronger and better makes me feel really great about myself…and that makes me feel very happy! I rarely have any bouts of insecurity anymore, and I believe CrossFit has played a huge role in that.
The changes in my body have been pretty good too. It’s difficult for me to gain muscle in my arms and legs, but my arms and my legs are starting to take a little bit of shape. I’m still trying to figure out a macro-nutrient ratio that works for me, so my stomach still needs some work, but that is the very last place I will lose any body fat. The changes might be a bit subtle since my limbs are naturally small and building visible muscle is difficult, but they are there!
From left to right: August 2013 (before starting CrossFit), September 2013 (picture taken a week after beginning CrossFit), and February 2014 (5 months after beginning CrossFit)
Subtle, yes, but I can see some changes. I also have been experimenting with different macro-nutrient ratios to find one that works for my body. I will hopefully start to see more results from my better eating habits, but I am proud of the hard work I’ve done and the little changes I have seen! 🙂
The community of CrossFit is a great thing too. I am a pretty introverted person, but I have no problems making conversation and bonding with my fellow CrossFitters!
But I also find it easier to talk to people in the real world. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m now an extrovert, but I can converse with people better than I did before and am not as quiet and awkward (I am still a bit awkward since I’m a nerd thought). I think this is due to the increased confidence I have. I feel stronger physically, and mentally.
So all in all, for me, CrossFit has been a positive and uplifting experience. I have more confidence than I did before, and I don’t ever have thoughts of going back to an unhealthy lifestyle of eating disorders..I want to perform well and try to get enough nutrition and calories to do so. CrossFit is high-intensity, so I need to consume more than I used to in order to perform well. And I try to do so with real, whole foods.
CrossFit is working well for me at the moment and I intend to stick with it for a while 🙂