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Five things gained from Crossfit - other than muscles I didn't know I had

Five things gained from Crossfit – other than muscles I didn’t know I had

My first interest in Crossfit happened as an ex and I were idly flipping through the channels (what else would I be doing on a random Tuesday night?) and witnessed the Crossfit Games on ESPN. I was recently riding the high of PR’ing my deadlift at 100# after picking up a dumbbell for the first time only six months earlier.

I cannot remember exactly what the workout was. All I remember was seeing some hot blonde with a barbell (who I now know as Annie Thorisdotter).

And her abs.

And her arms.

And her smile.

And wow.

I want to be her.

Seemingly that was such a far-fetched goal, as I had barely any experience with lifting weights, had zero endurance other than running a 5k months earlier (took 6 months to do the 8-week couch to 5K). The thought remained idly in the back of my mind for a while until one day while randomly scrolling through the countless number of Groupon deals that flooded my inbox- there it was:

Hines Park Crossfit – Northville: Six Crossfit Classes - $39

I knew when I briefly searched the fascinating world before, there was a bit of sticker shock, but this had me clicking <BUY!> so quickly, I didn’t have time to second-guess anything.

Despite it taking almost 3 weeks to complete the six intro classes, and 4 phone calls from the gym owner asking me when I was going to finally sign up – I took the leap and there was no looking back. What happened from there - I didn't expect. Other than getting fitter, I was surprised at what else I learned over time.

Posture and Confidence

I remember one of the first things the gym owner told me when I started at my box was to stand up straight, shoulders back, chest out. I don’t exactly remember the rest of the conversation but it had something to do with how you shall now carry yourself as an athlete. Me? An athlete?

From then on, I paid more attention to my posture. As my progress in the gym went up, as did my confidence. Every new PR and new skill, every new muscle and lost inch, the confidence grew even more. And with that..

Crossfit opens new doors

Once you Crossfit, you do can anything. Or at least, you think you can do anything – and why shouldn’t you think so? After having just about zero athletic background prior to Crossfit, I immediately became Super Woman. I signed up for my first mud run. I don’t like mud. I don’t like running.

I signed up for a 10k. And another 10k. And somehow landed myself at the starting line of an international half marathon, which I never in a million years would have had the confidence, strength, endurance, or mindset to even train for! I have seen people do Tough Mudders, Strongman competitions, Olympic Lifting and Powerlifting competitions. All of a sudden– you can do it all! And WANT to do it all!

Not only does it start to alter what you think you can and can’t do physically..

Crossfit changes your life outside the gym

Crossfit makes you stronger, fitter, more confident. Your body starts to change – but then you realize there are things you can do to escalate or enhance the results; to make the transformation even faster or easier. The more that you workout, the more you become in tune with your body. Tracking food, learning about macronutrients, nutrient timing. Pre-workout, post-workout, intra-workout. Paleo, Zone, Carb Backloading, Eat to Perform.

You sleep more. Stress less. Stretch more. Discover chiropractors and massage. Find balance. Revolve your world around your workouts (oh, and the impact on your love life? That’s a completely different article.. ;) ). The nights that were spent at the bar with drinks are now spent with a barbell. Okay, maybe sometimes a beer or glass of wine ends up in hand post-wod..

Crossfit brings people of all backgrounds together

I don't believe there is any other environment where you will have doctors, lawyers, students, car mechanics, baristas, accountants, burger flippers, teachers, and full-time athletes all in the same room. Everyone is suffering through the same workouts together, whether 18 or 88. It's truly a judgement-free zone where what happens inside the walls of Crossfit often stays within the walls.

Often it’s not until you make friends with the people on Facebook or hang out outside of the gym that you even realize that they wear real-people clothes and have real jobs. In the box, we are 100% equal in social status.

The support system is unlike any other

Have you heard the term “Crossfit Kool-Aid” or “Crossfit Cult”? While some people view these as negative terms, I like to think that there is a special bond that forms within the walls of a Crossfit gym, or even across the globe among Crossfitters that is unlike any other. After you suffer through thrusters, wall-balls, or burpees with these people, and literally put yourself through blood, sweat, and tears, the bond becomes unbreakable.

These people become close friends and a second family. If you are the first or last to finish, the cheers are just as loud. As you hit a new PR or develop a new skill, those who have done it before are proud of you and those who are not quite there yet envy you. Every single person is there to support one another, which tends to trickle outside of the box as well.

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While it took me a long time to debate whether the cost of Crossfit was worth it, the investment I made in myself has given me so much more than fitness and that is priceless. There is no comparison between Crossfit and other gyms, as what you will gain and learn is invaluable.

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Jennifer Lynn Hudy has been doing Crossfit for three years in the Detroit area and chronicling her journey along the way through blogging at winetoweightlifting.com. Jennifer received a Personal Trainer certificate from the ISSA Institute, is CF-L1 certified, and obtained an Eat to Perform Coach’s certificate. With a passion for motivating and inspiring others to lift for the confidence that it brings inside and out, she can be found personally on Facebook or on all social media outlets as @winetoweights (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, snapchat).