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)