Am I seriously a Crossfit(er)?

2013 February 13
by Grace Boyle

My whole life I have been pretty invested in athletics.

I grew up being outside, to our backyard, to the gymnastics rings, to the pool, to to the basketball court, to my yoga mat, to the track, to the farm and competing with my horse. These activities were part of my life, everyday.

As I shifted to college and away from formal group athletics and owning my own horse and competing for years (two of the best things I could have had for leadership and growth growing up) I found myself struggling to find a workout “regime”.

Sometimes I went to our college gym. I even worked there one Summer while I stayed in Vermont, but it was sporadic. College definitely ensued four years of the most unstructured time (except for class schedules per semester of course) for me.

Don’t get me wrong – I worked hard. I graduated with almost a 4.0 and I had a lot of internships and jobs. But being active? Kind of fell short. I definitely gained weight (thank you kegs of beer and booze) but I wasn’t wildly unhealthy, I was just enjoying my time and being a bit more carefree than I am now. Studying abroad in Italy and eating gelato or pasta almost daily didn’t help. Oops.

As I graduated college and moved to the land of everyone runs marathons, hikes 14,000 feet in the mountains or skis all weekend, every weekend in the winter (aka Boulder) I was hit right in the face with why I was so attracted to move here in the first place. I love being healthy and pumping my body with endorphins. We always ate organic and healthy growing up, it was just a reminder of what I remembered.

I immediately joined a yoga studio, got my snowboard pass, hiked out my backyard and was stoked about getting back to my roots and feeling healthy.

Crossfit EVERYWHERE!

After my fourth year in Boulder, I couldn’t ignore my brother or some of my closest friends poking me about Crossfit this, Crossfit that. Even with my background of being active, I don’t feel like a bad-ass. Compared to most Boulderites, I’m not as hardcore (my mom would tell me this is self-defeating belief, and she’s probably right), but it’s how I feel.

crossfit

I’m also okay with admitting I was intimidated. I was scared. I also knew it was a monetary and serious time investment so I had to be totally committed.

In September last year, I was in LA with some of my closest girlfriends for a weekend getaway and also seeing my little brother who lives there. He brought me to a Crossfit class at his gym so I could get a feel for it. He will tell you that he and my other Crossfit girlfriend asked me 20 times that weekend before I agreed to join them. I hadn’t brought the right clothes or shoes and wasn’t planning on a workout on my weekend getaway.

As soon as we began, my nerves dissolved and even if I didn’t know what we were doing the whole time, I was guided and could scale to my own needs. During the WOD (workout of the day) I felt on fire. It was surely intense but while you’re in it, you’re just focused and digging in to something deeper.

The next day I couldn’t walk, I was so sore.

I laughed to myself but realized I got out of it alive and actually, enjoyed most of it.

Next month, in October I said fuck it. I believe in doing things that scare you and getting outside your comfort zone. That’s when you really grow. Always. So I joined a Crossfit gym here in Boulder and took the month-long intro, Foundations course.

After our first class, I came home and cried. I didn’t think I was that out of shape. I’ve worked out most of my life! I felt pathetic and ashamed. It was so difficult I didn’t know if I could go back.

But I did. Each day. Each class.

For the first month or so, I got knots in my stomach I was so nervous about walking into class. I spoke to my friend Tara who has been doing Crossfit for 3+ years at the gym and her stories and support helped me realize I wasn’t alone in my plight or nervousness.

Now, it’s February. I’m just a few months in, but I find I’m stronger than I’ve ever been before and I know that I’m growing and learning rapidly. Some days I still am so confused or I’m doing something I’ve never done before and I’m scared, but the community is fantastic, the coaches are fun and supportive and I’m compelled to keep growing and pushing.

It’s not as if it gets easier. You just get more used to it.

The intensity level is always high. But one of the things I appreciate the most is my mental sharpness that has evolved. It’s like one big psychological lesson. Crossfit is almost more mental than physical for me because I think in my head, “There is no way I can finish that,” or “100 push-ups just to start the workout, no way,” but then you do it.

You just do it.

You may take longer than anyone else, but I always finish. Maybe I scaled and next time I’ll try more weight or what’s actually prescribed.

I don’t believe that Crossfit is superior to other forms of working out but I do know that the cult-like following is for a reason. It works. It’s powerful. And for now, for me, I’m totally digging it and proud of my consistency to working out more than almost ever.

I’m also a testament that anyone can do it. People of all ages and sizes go to Crossfit and like I said, I’m no marathon-goer-crazy-workout-freak. Hardly. But I’ve been physically and mentally pushed more than ever and it’s the best feeling. It doesn’t hurt to see your body toning up and muscle in places you didn’t know muscle existed before either. Right?

Thanks Crossfit Roots. I heart you longtime for kicking my ass and showing me the ways.

But this doesn’t mean I like burpees. At all.

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  • Ali

    you go girl!! Proud of your taking the plunge and joining the rest of us crazies around the world!

  • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

    Loved this post! I am absolutely loving Crossfit too — now 8 months in, and just went to the box in Chiang Mai yesterday. It’s amazing how you can show up in any city and find that same sense of community, drive and personal challenge. I love it! It’s the perfect compliment to all the yoga too :)

  • http://mikelewis.me/ pescatello

    Great post Grace. Got get ’em.

  • http://twitter.com/doniree doniree

    Love this post, Grace! I keep saying I’m going to check it out, but just haven’t made that commitment yet. Perhaps this summer once I’m closer to a gym I’ll give it a shot :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    It’s definitely the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done. EVER. But it’s just so cool to feel and see a transformation mentally and physically. Yoga is still my heart and favorite, but you seem to get two very different things from each :) Let me know if you want any ideas or tips if/when you start 😉

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Thanks dude. Come back to Crossfit :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    That is awesome! It’s so cool that you can pick up anywhere in the world. Yes, I felt I needed something alongside my yoga. It’s like the inner and outward pieces of life combined :) Thanks for stopping by girl!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Love you Ali! You’re one of the people that encouraged me to go most! It is TOTALLY crazy but it’s nice to feel like I’m not totally flailing 😉 xo

  • http://www.samdavidson.net/ Sam Davidson

    Ha! This post is awesome. I’ve been doing a fitness bootcamp for the last 18 months and I’ll never stop now. It’s hard and nuts, but awesome at the same time. What gets me through is the other people in the class – the community we’re building. And, the results do speak for themselves. :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Yes any type of group workout is really amazing and so motivating. I love being alone, but it’s harder for me to be truly motivated while being alone working out at least :) Thanks for stopping by and enjoying!

  • Lisa

    This is AWESOME!!!!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    WOO. Thanks Lisa :) You’re an inspiration!

  • http://talltara.com/ tarable

    Sorry for my late reply to this post but I am SUPER excited that you’re doing Crossfit. In addition to seeing your smiling face at the end of my workout, I’m just so proud of you for sticking with it. It can be hard but like you already know, growth isn’t easy. Congrats on the new muscles and rediscovered strength! xoxox

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Thank you :) Its a beatdown but growth isn’t comfortable and that’s usually what feels good! xoxo Thanks for all the support

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  • Rachel

    I’m curious …are you still doing crossfit?