CrossFit: What It's Really Like

Oh, CrossFit. Who doesn't have an opinion about it? By now, we've all seen enough 'personal best' Facebook statuses to know that the acronym "WOD" stands for "Workout Of the Day." We've also all likely seen at least one status lambasting the program followed by a string of comments so vitriol-fueled it makes us think "this is definitely not a thread I'm getting involved in." After all, the good people of Facebook do not play when it comes to their fitness talk. 

Moral of the story? CrossFit is popular, regardless of which way you view it. And it's not going anywhere any time soon. So, in order to provide a fuller picture, naturally I had to go check it out myself. 

While home for Christmas break recently, I decided to visit our local CrossFit gym with my friend Erica for a trial (again, this is my previously-introduced friend, better known as "Quik Chek Chick." I shouldn't have to tell you this.) After a wild, Asian-driver-induced detour, Erica and I made it Ocean CrossFit with a few minutes to spare before class. We strolled in, lattes in tow, looking super hard. Time to get swoll.

Since we were newcomers, Ryan (one of the owners) stuck with us the entire class, helping us with various technique modifications and assuring us that if we were to actually sign-on full time, there would be an "on-ramp" program that helped us learn every move and feel comfortable according to our own strengths, injuries etc. Um, really? To me, this indicated a high sense of quality.

I mean, I've taken yoga, pilates, boot-camp, spin classes - you name it - and never have I been individually walked through an entire class let alone a full program in the interest of safety and precision. And if you think that's because those classes are less injury-prone, you're kidding yourself. You know how the saying goes: big tree-pose fall hard.


The class was broken into three parts: a warm-up, a technique/skill, and then the WOD. For the warm-up we did a few sets of burpees and thrusters. For the technique, we did this thing called a "power snatch" which admittedly sounds like the name of a demon vagina, but don't worry. It's not. Then, for the WOD, we did "Fran" which consists of 3 sets of 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull ups. Since it's difficult to explain, I'll just show you the video of me crushing it at the last CrossFit games in '12. My hair was shorter at the time.

It's important to note that Fran does NOT have to look like that in real life. Erica, myself (and many other folks at the gym) took a series of breaks during the first set of 21 thrusters. As for the pull-ups, we both did different modified versions.

The verdict? CrossFit was a challenging, full-body workout that, if anything, parallels a bootcamp class, only with some more weightlifting and an emphasis on athletic precision. The people are NOT exclusive meatheads, as often rumored. In fact, they were super friendly and welcoming (we even did a mini icebreaker at the beginning - how fun is that?!). And as someone who has been exercising regularly since middle school, this is something I am psyched to get more into.

So, basically, look out for WOD Facebook statuses coming to a feed near you...

For the full lowdown, take a quick look at my Q&A with Ocean Crossfit owner Ryan Sherman below!

1.      People have a lot of opinions when it comes to CrossFit. What would you say the biggest misconception people have is? 

The biggest misconception about CrossFit is that people get hurt doing it. The problem is that there’s definitely poor coaching going on at some CrossFit gyms – but that isn’t the norm. I like to describe CrossFit gyms like restaurants. While there are many out there, some are of much higher quality than others. Our gym is a higher quality gym. We have experienced coaches who know what they’re doing and we pride ourselves on putting our athletes through an intensive program. This ensures every member properly learns the movements and techniques and can address any pre-existing injuries. That’s what you need in any gym, but especially a CrossFit one.

2. On that note... what are the top 3 most important things a newcomer should look for in a CrossFit Gym?

1. Coaching. 2. Facility (equipment, cleanliness, space) 3. Community. 

 3. So, can you do a crossfit workout from home? 

The reason you need a gym is because you have expertscoaching you. Coaches, similar to other trainers, can help scale workouts, and teach strategy, technique, etc. Another reason would be the top-notch equipment.  For instance, our gym is outfitted with the same type of equipment that you would find in Ohio State’s Football Facility. You can’t get that at home or even at your standard gym facility.

4.      I’ve been hearing about this “CrossFit Lite” thing – can you explain? 

CrossFit Lite is a high energy 45-minute class, similar to boot camp. It's perfect if you're looking for a non-stop, action-packed workout, without the heavy weightlifting. Each class is different and can include activities like running, body weight movements, kettlebells, wall balls, or box jumps. Each class is coached by one of top notch coaches. 

5.      And just for fun, what’s your favorite CrossFit Workout? 


5 Rounds for Time:                                             

400m Run

30 box Jumps (24”)

30 Wall Ball Shots (#20)


New Year's Resolutions!

The Top 3 Resolutions & How To Keep 'em

New Year’s Resolutions. Even if they aren’t publicly broadcasted over social media, most of us have them. In fact, a whopping 40% of Americans make a resolution around this time of year (for comparison, only 30% watch the Super Bowl). But, how many of us actually end up staying true to our word? According to Forbes, the answer is only 8% of us. In a society geared toward extremist tendencies with an affinity for instant results, it’s not difficult to see why we have so much trouble sticking to our goals.

Below, I’ve taken up 3 of the most common New Year’s Resolutions with traditional advice on how to keep them, versus what really works. Do you have a resolution? Weigh in below!

1. Lose Weight and Get Fit

Traditional Advice: Enroll in a gym membership or hire a personal trainer and go on a serious diet.

What really works: The New Year should be a time we look forward to and embrace. It shouldn't be something we approach with dread and fear of failure. So, instead of aiming so high (and spending so much money) that you end up psyching yourself out within the first month of the New Year, try a different approach.

Working out with a partner is proven to be one of the best motivators for exercise. If you have a roommate or live with a family member, enlist them to join you for just 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week. Whether that time is spent in the gym with exercise equipment, in your living room with a DVD, or around the block for a jog doesn't really matter. It's just about getting into a healthy and positive routine. Plus, with a partner, you can hold one another accountable and enjoy the perks of social time together. If you don't have anyone to exercise with, just figure out what it is you love to do and do it. Don't worry about what all the fitness magazines tell you. 

As for eating healthfully, let go of the restrictive aspect of dieting and focus, instead, on the fulfilling aspect of being alive. We need nourishment to survive. So focus on what you want to fill yourself with. For instance, instead of telling yourself you're going to stay under 1200 measly calories and avoid carbs like the plague, aim to eat a vegetable at every meal and two servings of fruit a day. You'll be shocked at how much a change in mindset can alter the food choices you make as well.

2. Save Money

Traditional Advice: Don’t spend any! Obliterate any and all unnecessary costs.

What really works: Instead of focusing on not spending money, try focusing on spending it wisely. Carve out the time to sit down, look at your spending habits honestly, identify your triggers and craft a budget. Just like working out, have a friend or significant other get in on the plan with you! Positive reinforcement is huge when it comes to sticking with our goals. When the urge to spend arises, ask yourself if you would rather spend the money on item X (new pair of shoes, a round of $10 drinks) or put the cash aside toward whatever it is you’re saving for (a vacation 6 months from now, the security to leave your job, a new apartment, etc.).

For a few oldies but goodies, check out my posts on how budgeting is just like exercise, and how money CAN buy happiness.

3. Drink Less

Traditional Advice: Don't go out!

What really works: Find your passion! When we find what it is that we love to do, drinking and wasting money on going out takes a natural back-seat to things. For those engaged in the 9-5 grind, few times are as full of ease, inspiration and energy like a glorious, hangover-free Saturday morning is. Whether that free time is spent hiking, painting, going to the local farmer’s market or working on your blog from bed (ahem) is really beside the point. It is simply a matter of granting yourself the time you deserve to enjoy life on your own terms and grow as an individual. The more of this free, easy time that you allow yourself, the more fulfilled you will become. You’ll also weed out the people in your life who add no value while making more room for the ones who do.  So instead of concentrating on not drinking, concentrate on the person you want to become and the life you want to lead. Then, participate in the activities and lifestyle choices that align with your vision. C’mon. You got dis.


What are your New Year's Resolutions? Agree or Disagree with above? Feel free to comment below!