Why CrossFit isn’t Scary

Are you one of those people who ask me (or other CrossFitters) a hundred questions about CrossFit because you seem to be fascinated by it but you’re too terrified to try it?

I know I’ve written about it before but I just got into yet another conversation around a week ago about this same exact subject. To the social media fan, CrossFit does in fact, look terrifying. Huge lifts, hundreds of pounds over people’s heads, pull-ups too fast to count, and people walking the length of the gym on their hands. Of course that sounds fun…..and terrifying!

But CrossFit isn’t always what you see on social media.

When I was chatting with my hair dresser the other week, she asked me about CrossFit. I think she wants to try it, so of course, I encouraged her. She mentioned that she always thought you had to be “a certain type of person” to do CrossFit, however as she watched our members run up and down the street (her shop is right next door) she said, “everyone looks like a normal person!”

CrossFit is for everyone and I can’t stress that enough. And when I read Ericka’s post last month about CrossFit being for every stage of life, I thought to myself, my readers really have to see this.

Without further babble from me, here’s Erikca’s post. ENJOY!

CrossFit at Every Age and Every Stage was first published on The Sweet Life with Ericka, March 17, 2015.  Thanks for cross-posting, Ericka!

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When you hear “CrossFit,” the first people to cross your mind probably aren’t senior citizens. But at Trident CrossFit, there’s a class dedicated to the older demographic and they are pretty happy it exists.

Constantly varied high intensity functional movements are what define CrossFit. The great thing about that definition is that it can work for anyone. While CrossFit has some benchmark workouts and is known for heavy power lifting, it can’t be put into any box, which makes it the perfect workout for everyone.

Every Tuesday and Friday at Trident, a group of older athletes gathers for a 45-minute class that caters to their particular fitness needs.

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Pat Welch is one of those participants and he’s going nine months strong. He values the positive atmosphere and encouragement he receives each time he comes in. Sounds pretty similar to what many younger athletes would say about their own CrossFit experiences.

“It’s made me stronger and it’s just fun coming in,” said Welch. “There’s four of us in the class and so you feel some kind of commitment to the other guys to show up.”

Welch is aware of some of the negative rumors that are spread about CrossFit, like that people are prone to injury and some have called it a “cult.” He denies those things are true at Trident because the coaches are very cautious and “don’t push you beyond what you can do.”

One of Welch’s favorite exercises is the slam ball and he was actually the first member of the class to start coming. Then, he got another friend to join, who encouraged another friend and so on.

“Even if you are 70 — no matter how old you are — this can work for you,” he said.

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Fellow classmate Roger Digilio is actually 72 and has been coming to the class for over six months. He says a friend invited him and he took him up on it because he has trouble working out on his own in the winter due to the cold.

“I don’t really like gyms very much, because it’s solitary,” he said. “You know, I’m not like everyone else in the gym because I’m considerably older…so I gave this a try and it was fun and there was some great camaraderie.”

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Diglio has been a rower all his life, so he enjoys spending time on the Erg rowing machine, a staple item found in a typical CrossFit box.

“I discovered that unless I kept myself at a rather high level of fitness, I was having all sorts of physical problems,” he said. “I thought I had to change my behavior so this was a great opportunity.”

Diglio pointed out that CrossFit is a great workout because it’s a total body workout if you stay consistent.

“Put it all together for a period of some months and you’re in a lot better shape, and your muscles are much more tone all around,” he said.

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Trident owner Andrea Smith taught the class I attended and spent time working one on one with each of the students. Anyone who goes to Trident knows Andrea is a force of positivity and encouragement everyone she goes — and solid coaches with great attitudes make all the difference.

CrossFit’s expanding outreach to children through CrossFit Kids, teens and senior citizens continues to make them an appealing brand of fitness.

You’ll also find disabled athletes participating in classes, often members of the military who have lost limbs since CrossFit is so intertwined with the military. One of the most inspiring members of the CrossFit community today is Kevin Ogar, who was paralyzed two years ago in a freak accident with a barbell. He continues to participate regularly and his latest Instgram video proves that [nothing is impossible]:

After 12 1/2 minutes of trying I’ve never been so happy to get one single rep in my entire life!! This single Muscle up Allows me, for the first time since the @crossfit Open started, to post a score on the @crossfitgames site. Thanks @thedavecastro for putting MUs first so I could get a score! @cfunbroken @barbellsforboobs @reebok @refactortactical @natebehavior #thankheavensImtopheavy #teamtopheavy #wheelchairgang #FirstLegitOpenScoreSince2013 #Repost @natebehavior with @repostapp.
My friend @kevinogar’s a pretty cool dude. Just did the @crossfitgames Open Workout 15.3 Rx. Total Reps: 1 @crossfit #15point3 @cfunbroken @sherwood215 @swoodland53 @thedavecastro

A video posted by Kevin Ogar (@kevinogar) on

Hopefully more and more people will find their personal fitness by participating in CrossFit in a way that works for them!

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Ericka is a runner, CrossFitter, social media lover — living her life as balanced and joyfully as possible in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to stop by her site! 

Your Strong Figure Conditioning Workouts for the week:

Workout One: Every minute on the minute for 12 minutes-

  • 20 seconds max effort pull-ups
  • 20 seconds max effort push-ups
  • 20 seconds rest

Set up a stop watch or a timer so that you can keep your eyes on the clock. Each minute start with as many pull-ups possible in 20 seconds, going right into max push-ups in 20 seconds. Finish out each minute with 20 seconds rest. If you don’t have access to a pull-up bar, you could row a barbell or alternate dumbbell/kettlebell single arm rows. You can sub ring rows, or if no equipment, sub squat jumps.

Workout Two: As many rounds possible in 14 minutes-

  • 10 burpees
  • 10 weighted step-ups (alternating legs)

Hold a single weight at chest, two weights at your side, or even a barbell. If you have no weights, perform 20 step-ups.

Workout Three: 10 Rounds for time-

  • 5 renegade rows each arm (row a dumbbell from plank position, each side 5 times)
  • 5 thrusters with the same dumbbells

If you don’t have access to equipment, perform 10 rounds of 5 push-ups, 10 squats, 15 hollow rocks (or sit-ups).

When it comes to trying CrossFit for the first time, what’s your biggest fear? And for those of you “been there, done that,” what advice would you give those who are scared of trying it?