Category Archives: Getting Started

My CrossFit Journey – Day 1

My CrossFit Journey Series

Have you been hesitant to come give CrossFit a try?  Back in 2015, our guest writer, Hayli, wanted to share her unfiltered experience and was kind enough to document her first month with us at CrossFit Regeneration. What follows are her words. You can read all of her posts here. Originally posted on her website.

I am sweaty mess. But I lived.

When everyone awkwardly arrived to the class and greeted each other for the first time, we sat in what the CrossFit Regeneration team calls “the 3rd Place.” Charlie introduced everyone and talked to each person as if he’d known them for a long time.

Before we began the workout, he explained we would not be doing the movements I saw every day at work. He explained the class is actually an “on-ramp” course, in which we will progress to CrossFit Games level in about 10 years, give or take. Essentially, that level is not expected of us.

Phew.

What was expected was that we try and be open to learning and changing movements.

Next, he had us define CrossFit. Like a definition to the barbell lifting, barbell dropping, box jumping workout. The first two words that came to mind were heavyweights and intense.

Instead, Charlie used Greg Glassman’s, the founder of CrossFit, definition.

CrossFit (n) [Cross-Fit]: constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity.

My whole athletic career has been focused on endurance. Running to get in shape. Increasing mileage. Decreasing time. Sure, agilities had been a part of that, but lifting heavy things had never really been.

As I got ready to hear about our first workout, I was thinking of only terrible things that could be asked of me.

AS MANY FRONT SQUATS AS YOU CAN WITH 30 LBS BARBELL.

20 HANDSTAND PUSHUPS

PULL UPS, WHICH WE ALL KNOW YOU CAN’T DO

But I was wrong. The workout was going to be intense, but Charlie explained when we finish all workouts in the course, we should be tired but able to say, “Yeah, that was hard. But I could do it again.”

Our first workout was going to be for time. Then, on our last day, we would do the same workout for time, and see how we’ve improved. The goal of the entire class is to improve our average time by a full minute.

The WOD (CrossFit slang for Workout Of the Day) was:

Run 200 meters
15-12-9
Squats
Push-ups
Sit-ups
Run 200 meters

Everyone has heard of these movements and probably performed them. But this is when I figured out I have been doing squats wrong my entire 22 years of existence.

Apparently, I look like Bambi. Which is hilarious. I bend my knees in and lean toward the left, presumably because of stupid grandma hip.

But Charlie and another Coach (capital C, because CrossFit lingo) took the time to come over and show me a proper squat and what I was doing wrong. It was a lot harder, but it felt right. They took the time to help others scale, modify and correct their movements as well, so that they were doing it safely and correctly. I realized, this workout wasn’t to see who could get it done the fastest and impress everyone. It was so we performed each movement correctly to get the best workout and not injure ourselves. And the Coaches were experts in the field. And far better than my two-a-day soccer coaches.

Squat

 

But also, they pushed us. The Coaches weren’t just going to let us do push ups, like bending your arms as much as you can. No, you had to put your body on the ground, lift your hands up, and then push yourself back up.

Then the workout began. Because of an immense downpour, we couldn’t run the 200-meters, which made me sad because it was the only part I could do OK-ish. But also thankful it wasn’t so cutthroat he was going to make us run in the downpour.

I sweated. A lot. Doing those movements, I didn’t think they were a big deal. Squats with no weights. Push-ups will always suck. And sit-ups were OK. But the added pressure of time and doing them in a relay-type row, I was dripping. I was gross.

I finished in 5:32. And it was hard. But I could do it again.

Not only was I proud to have finished the workout, but the other people next to me started cheering me on when they were finished. Then I, in turn, did the same for others. We were already forming this little community everyone had told me came with CrossFit. I guess that’s what happens when you sweat together.

In a Nutshell: I am a sweaty mess. But I could, and will, do it again.

My CrossFit Journey – The Day Before

My CrossFit Journey Series

Have you been hesitant to come give CrossFit a try?  Back in 2015, our guest writer, Hayli, wanted to share her unfiltered experience and was kind enough to document her first month with us at CrossFit Regeneration. What follows are her words. You can read all of her posts here. Originally posted on her website.

On July 7, 2015, I started a new job as a staff writer for Peake Media in Louisville, Kentucky.

After freelancing for 7+ months after graduating college in December, 2014 and working at my church, I was beyond ecstatic to finally have a full-time job where I would be able to write.

I also loved the concept of Peake Media. It is a small publication company in Kentucky that is focused on fitness. PM is the parent company to three magazines: Box Pro Magazine, Campus Rec Magazine (which will have its first print issue out next month!) and Club Solutions Magazine.

For those of you who, like me, had no idea why a magazine would be named “Box Pro,” it is because CrossFit gyms are referred to as Boxes. Yes, I am writing for a B2B CrossFit magazine.

Also, those of you who know me are very aware that I have the weakest arms, but have always been competitively active. I played on a co-ed soccer team in high school, which trained me to be tough and resilient. Then I picked up running in college.

After working at the magazine for less than a month, my editor convinced me to try out CrossFit at the Box she works out at three days a week. I was nervous, but it seemed important to her. And gaining arm muscle was important to me, so I’m trying something new.

CrossFit

I’ve done my research. I have been writing about CrossFit for three weeks at this point and have become familiar with the slang, the movements and a few random facts about nutrition. My editor even made me try a protein shake.

I’ve seen men and women lift heavy weights, run a mile with weights on their backs and rest barbells on their collarbones (more on that later). And I cannot do any of these things. In the weightlifting practices during my cheer days, I could not lift the bar.

  • I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of new people in a new area.
  • I cannot lift heavy things. Period.

Today, the day before I begin the Foundations for Fitness classes, I met Charlie Sims, the Affiliate (CrossFit-slang for owner) of the Box. Before the Foundations course, he encourages people to come in and meet him and see the gym. He sat me down at the gym and talked through what this “on-ramp” course was like. He stated that expectations were low – people from all different levels of fitness were going to be a part of this class, but were all going to get in shape.

Another reason for new CrossFitters to meet Charlie was to fill out a questionnaire about why you were starting the class, and what goals you had. He asked real, honest questions. And, it essentially wanted to get to the “why” I was doing CrossFit, what I hoped to gain from it and what my fitness goals were.

CrossFit

My answers were simple. I was doing it to learn more about the sport, since I was going to be spending the majority of my time now writing about CrossFit. I was honest about wanting to gain arm muscle and the fact that I work out to make up for poor eating habits (never will anyone make me give up my 9 p.m. treat). And my goal was simple: I want to do a pull up.

He also asked if I had any past injuries or conditions that he should be aware of, as we go about a high-intensity workout. My stubbornness and inability to show weakness made me not want to tell him, but I did let Charlie know about my “grandma-hip” that does pop out of place when I run. That is how nervous I am about starting CrossFit.

Not only did I appreciate Charlie wanting to show me the gym, but, whether intentional or not, he made me feel less nervous about the class tomorrow. I’m sure it is going to be a tough workout and I am going to sweat a lot, but now I have a connection there. And he wants me to meet my fitness goals, without injuries.

I sit here, on my coach having just finished a short run, very nervous about what tomorrow could bring. Sweat, I’m sure, will be included. But I’m hoping the community aspect of CrossFit that everyone talks about.

 

 

Allow me to re-introduce myself

My name is John. You might have read my first post. I also help Charlie out with the Top Notch Podcast. I’m (relatively) new to this whole CrossFit thing. When I walked into CrossFit Regeneration at our old location in October 2014 it was the first time I had ever set foot in a CrossFit box. I met coaches Charlie and Moira. My wife and I went through the foundations class and two months later I was a full time CrossFitter. Before I tell you about how I fell in love with constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity I think it’s important you understand my fitness background (or lack thereof).

My weight peaked at 285 pounds multiple times in my life. First as an 18 year old high school football player and as recent as 2013, the summer of my 35th birthday. During that same span of time my weight has varied 80 pounds. I’ve been as low as 205 but mostly staying around 250-260. These peaks and valleys paralleled diets and workout plans I tried (and eventually quit). At 6’3″ I can hide a lot of weight on my frame. I can say I’m a former football player and most people won’t think twice about it. Bottom line, I wasn’t healthy and none of the dieting or traditional exercising worked for me.

John, before and after

Oh what a difference 6 years (and 9 months of CrossFit) can make!

So close but yet so far away

So many things came close. P90X is varied and had high intensity but doing it alone in my living room wasn’t sustainable. Couch to 5K seemed like a great idea but after a couple weeks my feet and knees started to hurt. Planet Fitness, LA Fitness and Louisville Athletic Club are all nice places. They have clean equipment, lots of machines and free weights for weightlifting. Some of them even have group classes and personal training. But I never felt like anyone there really cared about how often I showed up or took the time to fix things I may be doing incorrectly. I’m sure those places are great for some people. They just didn’t work for me.

The one place that has come close to my CrossFit experience was a TRX / cross-training class I took at the Louisville YMCA. I had a coach. It was a small group setting. It was a lot of body-weight based movements. I started to feel better, but it wasn’t enough. I needed more than 3 days a week. I needed to be pushed. I needed to build strength and endurance. I needed a plan to increase my work capacity across a broad range of time and modal domains. I needed a bigger community of athletes to support my efforts and help hold me accountable. What I really needed was CrossFit. I just didn’t know it.

Before and after

Me, before and after starting CrossFit. Still have a long way to go.

Finding a home at CrossFit Regeneration

So 10 months into my training at CrossFit Regeneration and here I am writing blog posts about how much I love it. If you’re reading this maybe you’re looking for what I was looking for. Maybe you need to be trained not just exercise a couple days a week. Maybe your tired of running on a treadmill for 45 minutes and seeing little results from your efforts. Maybe you need a workout buddy (we all need workout buddies). I needed all of that and I got so much more at CrossFit Regeneration. I’m down to my leanest weight since college, 220 pounds, but I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. And my endurance is as good as it’s been in 15 years. I’ve stopped obsessing over my physical appearance and started obsessing over the number of rounds I complete in “Cindy” and how many minutes it takes me to complete “Murph”.

I’m having a blast. I’m hanging out with my new friends from the gym. My family is all doing CrossFit. I’ve been told I’m still in the honeymoon phase and maybe that’s true. But this is longest I’ve ever sustained a fitness and health program. The more I do it the more I want to do more of it. I believe in the approach we take at CrossFit Regeneration. Maybe, just maybe, you might too.

Our coaches introduced a new process for getting started called a “No Sweat Intro“. You sit down with a coach for a few minutes and chat about who you are and what you want to do with your fitness. This is exactly what I did that first day I walked into the gym before it became an official process. I quickly figured out the coaches here are truly vested in the success of their athletes. They’ve helped my family define an achievable path to get stronger and healthier. They can do the same for you.

“But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”