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Ask Roni: The CrossFit Edition

Posted Jul 08 2013 6:36pm

It’s no secret, I’m CrossFit obsessed. It’s more than working out for me — it’s a sport, and I enjoy the challenge of it. I’ve never felt this way about anything athletic before except maybe running, even though I’m pretty slow compared with any competitive runner.

This week I signed up for my first ever local CrossFit competition . It’s my way of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, again. I’m nervous but excited. It’s a scaled event and I’m going in at the lowest level because I still can’t do unassisted pull-ups. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do unassisted pull ups, but I digress.

This weekend a few CrossFit questions popped up in my inbox and on Facebook so I decided to round them all up in a post.

Hi Roni!

I’ve been following your blog since 2005!

I have a question… Have you gained weight since you started CrossFit?

Has your body composition changed?

Can you do a post about just CrossFit and why you love it and how you’ve progressed?

I just started CrossFit two weeks ago.

One more thing can you do a post about workout wear? what do you wear to CrossFit?

I never wear shorts and the only way i would wear shorts instead of capris to workout in is if i wore shorts under shorts…any advice would really help!

Thank you!!!

You’re the best!

– Erica

Hi Erica!

You have been reading for some time! Commenter names are like faces to me. I rarely forget. :)

As for your questions, here goes:

Have you gained weight since you started CrossFit? 

I believe I have, which is a big reason I stopped weighing in for the time being . It was becoming counterproductive for me. I work out 5 days a week first thing in the morning and there is no doubt I’m gaining muscle.

Has your body composition changed?

I believe so but I haven’t gotten it measured. My gym just mentioned they were going to bring in the POD, which I did last year , so I’m curious to do it again to see how it compares.

I will say both The Husband and 8-year-old make comments about my arms all the time, so there is visual “proof” I’m gaining muscle. I also feel leaner and, well, tighter.

Can you do a post about just CrossFit and why you love it and how you’ve progressed?

I’ve written one so far that focuses on the whys. Click here to check it out . As for how I progressed? It’s amazing to me, honestly. I’ve been going consistently now for 7 months and I’ve easily increased at least 20-30 lbs in most of the Olympic lifts. I can now do 2 toes-to-bar in a row, I can actually do a run of double unders (jump roping) and the bands I need to assist my pull-ups keep getting thinner. If you push yourself just slightly every class, you can see yourself making progress weekly. That’s another reason I love it.

I just started CrossFit two weeks ago. 

AWESOME!! :)

One more thing can you do a post about workout wear? what do you wear to CrossFit? 

It is so funny that you asked this when you did because it’s when I decided, again, to push myself out of my comfort zone and wear what I call “The CrossFit Uniform.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 11.13.47 AM

That was the first time I wore  shorts without baggy cover-up shorts on top, and the first time I had the guts to wear knee socks. I’m not going to lie, I felt like a complete poser, BUT while working out it was super comfy and I liked the compression on my calves.

That said, for the past 7 months I’ve worn running capris and tank tops almost every day. It’s what I’m most comfortable in.

I hope that helps and thank you so much for continuing to read my blog! Keep me posted on your CrossFit progress!

– Roni

Hi Roni,

I am a long-term lurker of your blog and find your health and fitness writing really inspiring.

I’ve been going to Body Pump classes at the gym for a while. I’m about to start beginners Military Fitness (boot camp) training in preparation for a Tough Mudder.

I’ve also been looking into CrossFit. The Olympic lifts etc are quite intimidating (your pretty bad ass!). Is CrossFit suitable for a relative beginner to strength training? Or are there any workout moves (or core skills) you’d advise someone worked on prior to joining a CrossFit class?

I want to be sensible but at the same time not be a total wuss! :)

Thanks for your time.

Kind regards,

Georgina

Hi Georgina!

You sound like you are in a similar place I was last year. I was taking Body Pump, training for the Tough Mudder and considering CrossFit.  Thankfully a CrossFit gym opened by me and they let me try a free class. So my first suggestion is to scope out the options near you and reach out to the local gyms to see if you can give it a try. Every “box” is different and you want to see if they are a good fit for you.

As for the Olympic lifts, I still find them intimidating! I’m not sure you can really prepare for them without some coaching or a trainer who knows what they are doing. We work on them a lot in small groups and my gym actually offers a special lifting class every other week.

Some core moves I’d work on to prepare yourself for CrossFit would be:

  • Box Jumps
  • Kettle Bell Swings
  • Jump Rope
  • Sprinting
  • Push-Ups
  • Burpees
  • Air Squats (full range of motion)
  • Pull-Ups (assisted)

We do at least 1 to 2 of these per workout mixed in with the lifting.

I hope that helps and do NOT worry about being a wuss! You’ll be fine especially if you been taking BodyPump. That’s all the experience I had when I went in too. Don’t forget, not everyone at the CrossFit gyms are experts. Many are just starting out as well!

Good luck! And what Tough Mudder are you doing?!?

- Roni

Michelle on Facebook asked: Is CrossFit worth the money?

It depends on you. For me it is. Based on how many days a week I go (5) it ends up being $6 a class and the class sizes are pretty small in the mornings. Sure you can find WODs online or on YouTube, but I know I would NOT do the workouts alone even though I could. I need the class atmosphere and I love it.

That being said, if you are only going to go 2-3 times a week then it may not be worth it.  I left my “regular” gym for CrossFit because it cost the same and I’d rather take classes then go and use machines alone. It really comes down to your workout style and commitment.

If anyone else has any CrossFit questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. I’m not an expert by far, but I’ll answer the best I can. I don’t think CrossFit is the end all be all for everyone, but I really do enjoy the structure of my classes and there is no doubt I’m getting stronger, more flexible and just fit overall. 

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