First time at CrossFit

 Hi!  Thank you again to Garmin for the fantastic giveaway opportunity and to all of you for the wonderful entries. So many of them touched my heart, and a few brought me to tears. You all have amazing stories to tell, and I was so inspired to read of your reasons to be active. Even on my toughest days and most challenging workouts, I’m thankful to be healthy enough to get out there and try.

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So, I tried CrossFit last night.

I didn’t really want to like it. I’d seen videos and wasn’t impressed with the form for many of the movements, had been kinda blah about the whole “drink the Kool Aid” kinda atmosphere. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.

Well, I tasted the Kool Aid….

And it was pretty good 😉

I got a GREAT workout, had a lot of fun, and was surrounded by motivating people who pushed each other and were kind enough to take me under their wings.

Of course, there’s no way to make a full assessment after only taking one class, but here’s a little bit about my experience, my initial thoughts and how they compare to my previous perception of the workout.

I got to the gym (or “box” as they like to call it) and I knew what to expect from seeing pictures online: a no-frills atmosphere with rings, blocks, kettle bells, barbells, rowing stations and pull-up bars. Everyone was already grabbing supplies and getting set up, and I stood at the small desk awkwardly waiting to talk to someone and sign a waiver form. It was the longest 3 minutes… I felt really out of place and not sure what to do.

Crossfit 3

Thankfully, Aly, one of the coaches, came up and was so helpful and kind- she made me feel welcome. Another coach went over the warm-up, which consisted of moves I’d never seen before, like walking across the gym with kettlebells, some pull-up jumpy thing and a couple of other things (can you tell I skipped most of it?). He went over everything SO fast, and everyone just got started doing the movements on their own time. I was kind of waiting for him to say “Ok, team! Let’s go!” turn on the music and instruct us along, but nope, that’s not how it works. You do everything at your own pace during the allotted time and however many you finish, you finish. 


(I took a couple of pics following the class I took – there was no way I was going to be walking around snapping pics during a class)

I hesitantly did a few of the only moves I knew, the Turkish get-ups, and then went to the powder room as I felt my eyes sting. I knew I should have gone to a beginners’ class, but I messed up looking at the schedule (beginners is TODAY, not yesterday) but they kindly let me take the class anyway. Tom was home watching Liv and I told myself I had to try it at least one and stick it out, even if I was wayyyy out of my comfort zone.

When I came out, I did a couple half-hearted burpees, and then a girl from class came up and told me she read my blog. She was awesome, and helped me with the rest of the workout. We did some barbells squats (adding weight each time) in a team -everyone cheered each other on and the girls introduced themselves to me- and then as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of the following:

-200m run

-5 pull-ups

-10 push-ups

-15 air squats

I knew how to do all of those, thank goodness, and made it through 5 rounds. I also felt like my body was going to explode. It looks easy when you write it down, but going for time was INTENSE.

Afterwards, we stretched, I thanked Kirsten for helping me push through the workout, and I felt like a million bucks when it was over.

I now have a better -and slightly different- opinion of CrossFit.

Crossfit 2


-Functional training. I love the fact that the exercises are designed to replicate actions that you would normally do. If you think about it, traditional strength training can be awkward (or frilly) and many of the movements have no real life application. The hardcore CrossFit workouts can help build strength to increase power in everyday tasks. 

-Every day is different. Change creates change, and CrossFit reduces the likelihood of plateaus by constantly changing and evolving workouts. The fact that your scores are recorded can also provide inspiration to improve performance the next time, and encourages your muscles to keep guessing and changing instead of kicking into cruise control. This can also help reduce boredom since you know you have a new and exciting workout to look forward to. 

-Team environment and encouragement. There’s an amazing camaraderie between CrossFitters and I can definitely see why that would be inspiring to stick with it. It’s a huge reason why I love group fitness so much- I thrive off the energy from training in a large group. This in itself was enough for me to really enjoy the class. 

-Physical gains– but I can’t help but wonder if they’re more closely related to the specific type of training, or the diet they suggest? I’m a believer that working out is critical and helps to shape your physique, but fat loss is largely attributed to changes in diet. CrossFit devotees follow a Paleo style of eating, and if you make drastic dietary changes (including ones that eliminate entire food groups, as Paleo does) chances are that your body will respond. 

-It’s marketed as a lifestyle. Anything that has the potential to become something you stick with over the long term is a good thing. I don’t feel like CrossFit preaches unrealistic results, and I appreciate the fact that it gives participants measurable goals to achieve. I firmly believe that we shouldn’t be punishing ourselves at the gym doing things we hate -so if CrossFit is something that you really love and want to make a part of your lifestyle, I’m cheering for you the entire way. It’s just not going to be a part of mine. 

Why I’ll be adding CrossFit into my life, but not on a regular basis:

-I love the fact that CrossFit encourages lifting and strength training, especially since women don’t strength train nearly enough to protect and promote bone health. That being said, and please don’t get mad, but I have no desire to do Olympic-style lifting. Like my good buddy Ron has said (he’s also known as Mr. Georgia), it doesn’t matter if you lift 50 lbs or if you’re trying to lift 500 and about to hurt yourself. It’s about following a quality training plan with good form and awareness of your personal limits. While I do think it’s important to push yourself, and I like to lift heavy weights, I think it can get a little ridiculous. There are diminishing returns after a certain point, and instead of continuing to pile on weight, I recommend changing the exercises you’re doing (different variation, alternating tempo, static holds, pulses) instead of putting more strain on your joints with insanely high weight. 

-I’m not a huge fan of barbell training, and prefer dumbbells, pulley systems or kettle bells. With barbells, I can easily “cheat” by using my stronger side to perform most of the movement. I find that I like the results of dumbbell training and pulley training, especially since I have muscle imbalances that I’m working to correct, not encourage.

-I feel like there’s a focus on quantity over quality since the workouts are timed. This, in addition to the form that’s allowed-I don’t think you should have to “snake” into a pull-up or up from a pushup- can possibly lead to injury. While I know what my personal limits are and how to safely execute the movements, looking around, the trainer in my brain was having a panic attack. But, after I was shown how to properly do the movements, they felt fine (challenging but not like I was hurting myself).

I also see how it can be beneficial to have timed workouts, too, because it encourages you to really push yourself. Both sides make sense to me for this one, especially because I believe that if you’re healthy and are taught proper form, your chance of injury is far less likely. It’s also worth noting that “proper form” is different across the board: you’ll see different cueing methods and techniques in BodyPump, TRX and CrossFit. 

-Time and financial commitment. CrossFit is expensive, but I think it’s one of those things where if it’s really enjoyable to you and you see positive results, you’re more likely to pay the higher cost because you’re making it a priority. It’s not really worth the long-term investment for me, especially since I have a gym membership with awesome childcare and can also work out at work. 

-Different body types will have various responses to all of the training styles out there. It’s up to each of us to experiment and find the best method for our bodies. For me, a combo of everything I enjoy gives me the best results, mentally and physically, since they challenge me and I love the variety: yoga, spin, running, HIIT, strength training and ZUMBA!

For CrossFit, I enjoyed pushing myself in a different way, and definitely think I’ll be back to take another class.

All in all, I think a clean diet (whole, unprocessed foods, with lots of lean protein, produce and healthy fats) has the most impact on physical results- it’s just a matter of finding your best training style, that you enjoy, to go along with it. 

Have you tried CrossFit? Love it, or decide it’s not for you?

I’m excited to hear what you think!



Interested in more info? Check out this CrossFit Focus On post, from a CrossFit regular

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  1. Sarah on September 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

    What a great post. It’s so nice to see someone with a nuanced review of Crossfit, since everything I read about it is so over the top positive. Ugh, and I hate that feeling of not knowing what you’re doing and being the outsider…brings me back to childhood! 🙁

  2. Chelsea @ Dine & Dash Diaries on September 12, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I agree with Sarah—it’s nice to see a healthy living blogger who isn’t absolutely obsessed with making CrossFit their life. I get that it’s a lifestyle thing, but I’ve actually been scared away from CF due to other bloggers getting “in too deep.”

    Maybe I’ll give it a try—I love that it’s focused on functional training, and though my pocketbook might not be happy, I think I’d enjoy giving it a try.

    Thank you again for the honest review.

  3. Laura on September 12, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I have not tried cross-fit and it is just too expensive for me to keep up long term since I have 2 gym options and one that has a lot of classes. I was interested in reading the post bc I think it would be fun to try out, but it would not become my normal form of excerise. On the other hand, I had not taken a class for around 4 years and I have been reading your blog and decided I wanted to try them out again. I also wanted to focus on more strength training so I took a muscle works class once and now have taken it 4 times in the last 2 weeks! Now I have a crazy scheudle so I’m going to keep up some of m reg workouts but I loved it so much that I am going to try to take a class twice a week! Thanks for helping me get back into the group exercise!

  4. Ali @ Peaches and Football on September 12, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I’ve been hearing so much about cross fit and I guess I’m kinda leery simply because I like the more “coached” atmosphere and while I like working at your own pace, some of the things I read about seem so advanced that there isn’t a place to start for people who aren’t already in really good shape.

    For example? ALL the personal trainers at the fitness center I go to now do crossfit. Every single one. And yes, they are all in amazing shape but I guess I would prefer something not so intense? Not sure that makes sense. However I don’t think I’d be opposed to trying it out once just to have the experience and see what the kool-aid is all about.

    • Anon on September 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      There is DEFINITELY a place to start for people who aren’t in shape – that’s one of the basic principles of crossfit. 🙂 Can’t do a pushup? They’ll say do it on a box. Can’t do it on a box? They’ll have you do it standing up against a wall. The point isn’t to compete against the other “more in shape” folks but to have a way to track your own progress. I was really surprised at how accomodating they were for super not-in-shape people (I started last week). You really can walk in and start anywhere.

  5. jessica @ Fit Talker on September 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I’ve never been one of the first to comment. Exciting! (it’s the little things)

    I really liked your review because it was honest. I personally am not drinking the CrossFit Kool Aid and a lot of my reasoning is similar to yours.

    I have no desire to do a clean and press or a jerk. Thanks but no thanks. But even more so, I find the cost really prohibitive. At least around here, I can buy at least 3 gym memberships for less than 1 CrossFit membership.

    Thanks again for the honest review!

  6. Lea on September 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I love, love, love, my CrossFit box! I started CF in January and don’t see myself doing anything else now besides yoga. My first few times were definitely intimidating but then you get over it. Everyone is usually pretty nice and you learn all of the moves in no time. I love CF because there is always room for improvement.

  7. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance on September 12, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Thanks for the review of Crossfit . . . I’ve been nervous to try it. It looks amazing–but by amazing, I also mean super challenging. And then I wonder if I can do the exercises that they describe.

    I’m a little injury prone, so I’m always nervous about my knees, and high-impact moves. Do you think, if that’s the case, that I should stick with my own strength training routine, or actually give Crossfit a try?

  8. Jessica on September 12, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Contrary to popular belief, there is no “official” CrossFit diet. While many people do adopt some proportion (usually 80/20) of the Paleo diet, people have also adopted Whole series, Zone or just a simple Pollan approach. It really just depends on your goals, as well as your body’s needs in response to the intensity of the training you adopt.

    That being said, there is the old saying that results are 70% diet, 30% exercise, so whatever you choose will play a huge part.

    Thanks for the well-written and balanced review of your first time. Far too often I too find that HLB’s portray an unrealistic, over-the-top enthusiasm that misrepresents CF and the majority of our community.

    • mary on September 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      That’s what I thought about CrossFit and paleo– they kind of naturally go together like maybe yoga and vegan do but there’s nothing official or even encouraged.

  9. Averie @ Averie Cooks on September 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I’ve never tried Crossfit and it seems so popular in the last year or so. I have some friends who have been into it for about 5 years and it seems to have changed their life, their lifestyle, how they eat, etc and they are like walking testaments for it! Great review, Gina!

  10. Danika F on September 12, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I just started doing CrossFit this month. I won a raffle where I got a month for free. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet as I’ve only done 3 classes. The workouts are definitely hard and since I am so, so, so not in shape compared to everyone else there, it’s intimidating. Plus, like you, I’m not so sure I care for the Olympic lifting. That being said, I like the intensity, but it’s so expensive. Here, it starts at $110/month for the Ladies pass and then it only gets more expensive if you want to be able to drop in to any classes. As I’m in medical school and don’t have the money, I think once my free month runs out, I will just continue with my $30/month gym membership – much more affordable and way less intimidating!

  11. Rebecca on September 12, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Reading about your experiences, I feel oddly relieved.

    It seems that everyone is drinking the CrossFit cool-aid, lifting super heavy and embarking on a Paleo-esque diet…and I find myself kind of annoyed by it.

    I really like that you addressed the issue of diminishing returns from lifting too heavy-it’s a very real concern that I don’t hear discussed often. All of the pro-CrossFit info out there starts to make it seem like you have to lift heavy. I’m all for challenging myself, but I think that can be done in the gym/outside/at home without the Box or 200lb weights.

    Excellent post!

    • Pinky on September 12, 2012 at 11:23 am


  12. Jessie on September 12, 2012 at 11:21 am


    I rarely comment on posts because I feel awkward but I really wanted to on this one. A little over a month ago “I drank the Koolaid”. When I first walked in, I felt the exact same way you did, and then I did the work out. For me, exercise has always been a way to control or lose weight and to “cancel out” what I eat. You see, I have had an eating disorder since high school (still have a struggle with but thankfully out of the throws of it) and all of the confidence issues that go along with it. I originally started Crossfit because of my drive to lose weight but the more I do it, the more it is about challenging myself and being able to prove to myself and that little voice in my head that I can do this. No, I can’t complete WODs as fast as everyone else (esp when running is involved!!) and I am not setting records for the amount of weight I can lift BUT I can walk away feeling like I finished something that I never thought I could. I also love that Crossfit has completely changed the way I look at my body now. Partially because the women there are more concerned with how much they can lift or run and not with the size of their jeans. I understand that Crossfit is not for everyone and that everyone falls in love with different forms of exercise but I do think that everyone should try it if they can! Yes we’re all a little weird about the sport but we’ll cheer you on and make sure you push yourself!

  13. Donna on September 12, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Well I had taken my 2nd elements class and then I broke my arm. I wasn’t at a class but I was trying to do a handstand at home knowing that we would be doing handstand pushups one of these days. Talk about a handstand fail! My poor husband woke up to me running into the bedroom at 5:30am screaming that I broke my arm. It will be 4 weeks tomorrow that i did this. It’s absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. I’m an avid outdoor cyclist and talk about ending my season early. I’m not sure how long I will be out of commission but I haven’t decided whether I’m going to continue with Crossfit or not. I did enjoy the 2 classes I took, it made me work really hard but after this I may just decide to doing my own thing. I was at a point where my eating was spot on and I loved the way I looked, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

  14. Johnna on September 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I’ve been doing Crossfit since March. I had checked it out back in 2010 but was too intimidated by the price and the movements..although at the time I was in the best shape of my life (or so I thought). Since March I’ve seen many improvements in my overall physical abilities. My mile pace has decreased, I completed a local 7 mile road race that was on my bucket list, my stamina has increased and I can RX the majority of the WODS (workouts). On the downside, I’ve experienced several injuries..not to the fault of any of the trainers. I am one of those who likes to keep up with everyone..unfortunately most people at my box are in their 20’s and 30’s. I’m almost 44!

    I can’t see myself ever going back to a traditional gym. I like walking in, being told what the workout is, having a trainer by my side encouraging me and then working my butt off to complete it as prescribed. Yes, it’s expensive but it’s well worth it. Excuse me while I try to wipe off my kool-aid moustache. 🙂

  15. Lena on September 12, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Okay so maybe this is a silly question, but I’ve been dying to try CrossFit, and my new neighborhood has a gym right around the corner- but do I have to be able to do an unassisted pull-up? Because that is definitely not happening any time soon 🙂

    • Anon on September 12, 2012 at 11:59 am

      NO. 🙂 A lot of people make it their goal when they start to do one pull-up unassisted!

    • Sam on September 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      No, if pull ups are in the wod then you’ll start out by either doing jumping pull ups (jumping from a plyo box) or using the bands. Once you have progressed, you’ll probably learn the kipping pull up.

    • D on September 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      Nobody is ever expected to be able to do every movement fully unassisted when they start. There are many options to scale a pullup, or any of the movements for the matter. Don’t let being intimidated by the movements keep you from trying it. CrossFit is meant to be universally adaptable to all levels and abilities!

      • Fitnessista on September 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

        that’s what i saw from my experience, too. it’s possible to build up to different levels depending on your personal fitness abilities

  16. Kerry @ Totes My Oats on September 12, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I’ve been wanting to try CrossFit for a few months. I inquired about it at my local CrossFit and it’s too expensive for me right now; even the student rate. I love this post! I agree about quality over quantity and the importance of switching up exercises. Good stuff 🙂

  17. olivia on September 12, 2012 at 11:43 am

    i just bought a living social deal for crossfit and am nervous to try it out but you’ve definitely motivated me to give it a go!

  18. Jordan K on September 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I tried CrossFit for the first time this past January because I was getting so bored at the gym with the same old group fitness class routines and just not being motivated enough on my own to really push myself. I still like to run a couple times a week, but CrossFit has completely replaced all other forms of working out for me (aside from maybe the occasional yoga class). I have developed some awesome new friendships and have never felt better! CrossFit is scalable to everyone and anyone! I hope more people would realize that when poor form is seen, it should be blamed on the trainer and the person performing the movements incorrectly and not on CrossFit as a whole. Each box is a little different. I have to say that I see myself doing CrossFit for a long time to come! The higher fee for it does sort of stink, but it also works as motivation to go to classes and get my money’s worth! I hope you continue to try out classes Gina! If nothing else maybe it will give you some ideas for your own training! 🙂

  19. Katie @ A Full Plate on September 12, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I’ll be joining CrossFit next week! I tried one class with my boyfriend’s sisters (who love it) and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t think it was too different from a bootcamp class, except they have more badass equipment. I’m excited to join and try something new 🙂

  20. Mallory on September 12, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I’m so glad you tried CrossFit. I’m a beginner too and have only been doing it for a month. I’m addicted. I’m still learning all the moves. I read the workout of the day before I go and when I’m at work *model employee* I youtube the moves so I know that I’m doing and go in feeling a little less lame. Everyone is super sweet.

  21. Carly on September 12, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Ahh…crossfit. I think the ideas/theories behind Crossfit are great, and that it likely would be a very good workout. I feel what I do at the gym follows similar patterns – variety, fullbody and natural movements- (for much cheaper).

    My opinion based purely on what I have heard: What I don’t overly enjoy about it is that the Koolaid seems cult-like – often my crossfitting (new word?) friends talk to me about CF like I should know what WODS are and what I RX’d at. They are also of the opinion that CF + Paleo is the be-all and end all. Perhaps it is just my stubborn nature, but those strongly voiced opinions get to me, and therefore I think I have a more negative view of crossfit. While I would not be opposed to trying it out, I don’t believe I would become a regular. I like switching it up!

    Thanks for the neutral post about it!

    • Jordan K on September 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      CrossFit is ALL about switching it up!

  22. Claire@NavigatingNorth on September 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Way to go on completing your first class! That’s awesome! I did Crossfit in college for about three months (it was all the rage), and did it regularly with a group of friends at our college gym. The workouts were so INTENSE. I remember being on the verge of puking quite a few times…or I would be so sore the next day I couldn’t move.

    I have family members who do Crossfit and truly love it; their physical fitness has certainly increased, and they also follow the Paleo lifestyle. I have never tried Paleo (primarily because I am not really a meat eater, and well, that would defeat the point lol), and probably never will.

    I love the idea of Crossfit being quick and accessible with such a positive environment, though. For me, I’ll probably dabble with it on and off, but not commit 100%. Like you said, I love to incorporate other workout styles as well!

    Thanks for the re-cap!

  23. Tara @ Sweat like a Pig on September 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I am SO pleased you’re not jumping on the CrossFit bandwagon like so many other HLBs. I really appreciate your honest review, and can agree with many of the points you made. I don’t see a problem with consistently increasing your weights to lift heavy. HOWEVER, I’m talking about increasing weights over a period of years. I know there are exceptions and some better quality boxes out there, but it seems most places are just concerned with you lifting the highest amount of weight possible with little attention paid to form. I can think of one particular blogger who has gone from lifting nothing to pulling advanced level figures in just a few months. Without even seeing her box, I know her form would be terrible.

  24. Camille @ MTL Fitness on September 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    i understand what you mean about form and all but technically everybody had to attend Crossfit 101 classes before joining regular classes. That’s where you learn about technique and learn the basics. It’s usually about 6 classes. Good job on the WOD too! You met “Cindy” (the name of that WOD) 🙂

  25. Krystina on September 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I agree with others who have said it’s refreshing to have a blogger not become obsessed with Crossfit. I’m sure it’s a great exercise program, but right now it’s definitely a fad. I think, for the majority of people, a simple exercise regimen combining cardio, strength and stretching is perfect. We don’t need to run marathons or heavy lift to be healthy. Unless we WANT to be marathoners or fitness competitors, then we don’t need to do those things. Simple is best.

    I actually always commended you for doing more “basic” exercises because I (and the majority of people) relate to them. Most people don’t do Crossfit, run endurance races or do Bikram yoga every day. It’s refreshing that the bulk or your exercise comes from HIIT/Zumba and basic strength training.

    • Krystina on September 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Also, I really dislike the superiority complex a lot of Crossfitters have. I’ve met so many people that think Crossfit is the be-all-end-all of exercise and that anyone who does anything else is beneath them. A guy I know who is a CF coach would actually judge/laugh at people at the gym who were running on treadmills or using free weights. I know there are always bad eggs in everything, but the overall attitude in CF is definitely not for me.

      • D on September 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm

        You’re right, there are bad eggs in everything and it’s those individuals who give the program a bad wrap. It is very important to shop when looking for a CrossFit gym, just like any other investment. It’s unfortunate that you and many others have this perception of CrossFit. It is not the be-all-end-all to fitness, just one of the many options, but an option that has proven to be very effective.

      • Kerry on September 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm


  26. Anon on September 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I started doing Crossfit last week too and I have to agree with you on a few things: walking in an hoping to hate it because the kool-aid is annoying, and then being surprised when it’s not awful. Frankly everyone who hates the koolaid and writes it off for that reason should TRY IT! 🙂 I was surprised at how “normal” the workouts are, nothing totally crazy like you said – burpees, air squats, pushups.. okay, I have done this stuff before. I’m in my 2nd week now and definitely get the appeal. I love the small groups + personal attention + someone planning TOTALLY different workouts for me every day. There is NONE of the bravado at my box (hehe) about “pushing hard” and focusing on weight over form. Yesterday we did power cleans (or something, I can’t keep the names straight) and I only had 35lbs to lift. I told the coach “I think this is too light” and he made me do the whole WOD with light weights because, and I quote, “it’s more important for you to practice your form at the beginning – once you get it right, you can start to add on more weight incrementally”.

    I think the bottom line is saying “I go to Crossfit” is like saying “I go to the gym”. All boxes are different. All coaches are different. Even their approaches are different. There are kool-aid-free boxes that are NOT that competative and where coaches DON’T want you to get injured. I was surprised when I started that I wasn’t beginning at the very bottom of the weight rung, thanks to my previous gym background, and it’s true it’s all scaleable. There’s a 62 year old woman in my class every morning and she’s stronger than I am. 🙂

    Anyway, I love that you went and just giving my feedback as another CF-N00b who also has been staying away because of the cult thing, and was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong.

    • Jordan K on September 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Well said! I totally agree!

  27. Molly on September 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I love this review. I like the idea of Crossfit as interval training and a cardio/strength hybrid. BUT I don’t think it’s for me. First of all, I’ve tried eating paleo-ish a couple times, and I really just don’t like eating that much meat. Second of all, my body type is tall (5’10”) and lean but not muscular, and I like myself that way. I think muscular women are beautiful, but it’s not my body type. I may never be able to do a pullup, and I’m cool with that.

    And speaking of pullups, I think “kipping” is kind of a weird concept. Using your momentum doesn’t really serve a purpose except getting more reps (as far as I know).

    Finally, I’m a firm believer in efficient strength work. I think you can get results by doing proper heavy weight for the proper amount of reps- why keep pushing the weight to the point where your form is crap?

    • Molly on September 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Also, I think it’s funny to watch trends go across the blogisphere.
      I feel like a few years ago, most healthy living bloggers were vegetarian, if not vegan, if not raw vegan. Now I feel as though the latest trend is Paleo (many vegan bloggers have even switched to Paleo, which is kind of bizarre). I mean, I respect anyone’s right to eat how they feel best, but it’s just interesting to see the trends.

  28. Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings on September 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I love this review! I have yet to try Crossfit at a box, only a bootcamp and it’s fun to mix up the workouts! I would have been so intimidated walking in there by myself, good job to you!

  29. Brittany @ Little b's healthy habits on September 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I can totally relate to the stepping out of your comfort zone, uneasy feeling. Trying something for the first time is always the worst, not knowing where to put your things, where to go, how to stand, it’s all terrifying! I’m so glad someone helped you through (that’s the best) and that you stuck with it!!

  30. Liz @ Southern Charm on September 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I tried CrossFit about a year ago. My box has a beginner teaching program where you go twice a week for a month before they allow you to take class with others. It was really cool and I felt so strong after, but I, like you, am not really a fan of Olympic lifts or barbell training. It’s just not me.

    That being said, I think it’s an amazing workout and my friends swear by it 🙂

  31. Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness on September 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I’m so happy you enjoyed crossfit! I really appreciate how honest your review is! I am a crossfit addict and I have to say I think the box you go to can make all the difference! It sounds like your experience was very positive! One thing that concerns me though is you mention you were taught to snake out of a push and that is not typical crossfit form! My coach would freak out if any of us snaked up from a push up! Every box is different just as every coach is different! The personal trainer in me notices things like this too and trust me I’m always watching for it! I’m so happy you were really open to trying Crossfit and am glad you liked it!

  32. Sarah W. on September 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for this! I’ve heard/read about CrossFit but was trying to figure out if I was even interested. And I totallllllly get that first time there jitters where you know NO ONE. It’s the worst feeling in the world!

    That being said, my job offers a TON of fitness classes and I’ve signed up for a TRX class this fall. Not sure what I’m in for but looking forward to doing a bit more strength training…have any insight or opinions about TRX classes?

  33. Julie on September 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I haven’t tried it because (a) I’m a fraidy cat and (b) I feel like I’ll injure myself. Both are not the case though because I’ve done things I never thought I could so why not? Now it’s just the matter of finding a box.

  34. Lisa on September 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Congrats on your first Crossfit Workout! I truly believe CF is so addicting because you see results FAST. As someone who played collegiate soccer, I could never replicate the type of intensity and fitness that comes from double days and competitive college sports until I found CF. BUT, I stuck with it for 3 years and found that my body changed more and more… I backed off and started craving more body movement, yoga, booty barre, spinning. Crossfit is a great workout but it’s important to balance it with stretching & cardio, especially to avoid injury.

    Love the new blog!

  35. Lori on September 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    You obviously did NOT go to a good CrossFit gym. If they let you start out anywhere besides the beginner’s class, when you are a beginner, is not a good gym. My husband owns a CrossFit gym and prides himself on great training from the start, so that when in the middle of a WOD, you don’t let form crumble just to get a fast time. You practice repetitively each movement so that you can’t do anything other then the correct movement each and every time. Some gyms can just pay the affiliate fee and slap CrossFit to their name, while others take the time and take pride in the the training they provide. My recommendation is to research the CrossFit gyms in your area first to see the reviews and ask around. People know when they are getting good coaching and will be the first to tell you if it’s a joke. Hope you continue, but somewhere else to get a good foundation!!


    • Sam on September 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      I’m not really surprised at all. Gina is clearly not out of shape, and although she is a beginner to xfit, she is clearly not a beginner to strength training. The wod she did could easily be done in a beginner class – maybe in 8 minutes instead of 12, but because of her high level of fitness 12 minutes was probably NBD to her.

  36. Jessica on September 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Gina, thank you for a really refreshing review of CrossFit. Seriously. I am SO glad you won’t be doing these workouts all the time — I’ve honestly stopped reading blogs like that because I just can’t relate. I work out with a trainer and we do lots of CrossFit-inspired workouts, as well as group boot camps with kettle bells, box jumps, etc, but she makes SURE my form is spot-on so that I do not injure myself — and I truly value that. Now, that’s not to say that people who do and coach CrossFit always have poor form or anything, but I have been hearing about lots of injuries from people who either didn’t do the movements correctly or tried to lift too heavy and no one stopped them… Sure, that can happen anywhere, but the CrossFit culture seems to be all about push-push-push and I think it’s important to respect your limits. This comment is totally not intended to offend anyone — this is just my opinion.

    So sorry for the long comment, but I really enjoyed your fresh perspective.

  37. Rachel @ The Mallory Report on September 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Gina, I really enjoyed reading your review of your CrossFit experience. I belong to a CrossFit gym and enjoy it, but think that some people do become obsessed. I also agree with you about the diminishing returns of lifting very heavy weights and that many of the changes that people see in their bodies from CrossFit can be attributed to dietary changes. I think it’s fun because it reminds me of being on a sports team again, but I also enjoy other types of exercise. I’m glad that you tried it out!

  38. Becky @ on September 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I’ve been doing Crossfit for over a year now and I love it. Previous to joining my box I was doing whatever bootcamp classes I could find but eventually it just got too easy because it was always the same general thing. With Crossfit I have been able to improve so many things and achieve so many goals, every day in the box is different.

    I have seen people completely change their body, even without adopting the Paleo diet or doing super heavy lifting. It’s really been an amazing journey there and I’m excited to be a part of it

  39. Cara @ I Don't Believe in Diets on September 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I definitely want to try crossfit but cannot afford it. But… I have been doing a lot of the workouts at my own gym. I feel like I can’t do all of them though because I am terrified I will do the form wrong on some of the heavy lifter ones and then hurt myself. I think it might be worth it for me to at least try it for a month so I can learn them from a real trainer and not just videos I watch on youtube.

  40. Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily on September 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I have heard so much about Cross Fit, but I’m pretty sure it’s not for me. I agree with other commenters that it’s nice to read a very honest pro-con review of Cross Fit!

  41. Ron on September 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    This is a really great review of Cross-Fit. It’s good to read a balanced review of it rather than one where they are either over the top for it or alternatively vehemently against it.
    I think with any fitness routines it is important that you find them enjoyable and get something from them and they help you get more out of your life.

  42. Jamie on September 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I love that you tried crossfit and love it. And being a crossfitter for a little over a year, I know what you mean in each of your posts. The one thing I love about my box is that one coach cares about time, the other coach just wants you to have a good workout. Everytime he starts the WOD, he’ll say something about the clock not mattering. I love to know my times to see where I benchmark with myself. I’ve been keeping a doc with all the workouts and times. Overtime, I’ve seen myself improve in speed and weight. It’s a great boast to my self confidence. I hadn’t strength trained until I went to crossfit last year. And I’m so glad I did.

  43. Stephanie on September 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I think it’s really difficult to speak to Crossfit having only gone to one class. It kind of sounds like you didn’t really give it much of a chance! Olympic lifting and doing things at high intensity might sound intimidating.. but it’s beyond rewarding and trust me… if you lift heavy weights the right way.. you wont get injured.. but you will get a rockin body and feel awesome about yourself.

    You mentioned you like dumbbells – you should note that dumbbells are incorporated in crossfit just as barbells are.

    I think it’s also important to note that not all work outs are timed.. Crossfit varies every single day. The coach at the box puts together a program thats well rounded and incorporates endurance, flexibility, strength and power. One day might be a 3k run.. one might be 5 rounds of 100M sprints, 10 kettlebell swings, 10 push ups for time.. one day might be a full strength program of benching, squatting, etc.
    All workouts are scaled to the athletes ability and coaches (good coachs) ensure everyone does thing safely.. if your form starts to go halfway through the workout.. you’re out! and need to scale back. Crossfit IS the definition of a well rounded athletic training program. It’s expensive.. BUT you get 2-3 coaches ensuring you are safe and progressing.

    I guess lifting heavy weight is a choice.. but I have to say (as a long time yogi) it feels great to know how strong I am. I might not be the strongest girl around but now I have the confidence that I might be able to kick some guys ass or at least out run them if I’m ever in a situation where I need to. If I can throw 150 pounds of weight around… you better be right that I can kick some guy where it hurts really hard! Ha 🙂

    Knowing you can do things you never thought possible… (pull ups, climb a rope to the top of a cieling, run an 8 min mile, 20 push ups on your toes!) is sooo empowering and helps in every aspect for your life! If you want to see REAL changes in your body.. (and no I am not paleo)…. commit to crossfit and its guaranteed you’ll like what you see and what you can do after a few months of dedication.

    Everyone can do crossfit.. but crossfit isnt for everyone. it takes a certain time of mentality and mental strength to really do it!

  44. Samantha on September 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I tried CrossFit when I got a Living Social deal for a month, and kind of walked away with the same feelings as you. I really enjoyed it when I was there, and it was definitely challenging, but it wasn’t worth the price point to me. I get enjoyment out of spinning at SoulCycle the most, which is expensive as well, and would rather pour my money into that. I feel I can adopt CrossFit-style workouts and incorporate them into my daily routine when I workout with friends, and escape the heavy cost. And same as you, I have no interest in Olympic-style lifting and prefer dumbbell/kettlebells to barbells.

  45. Amanda on September 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I have done a bit of CF here and there, and I like it mainly as a way to shake up my routine! I like a lot of variety, like you, and getting a groupon or a living social deal for a local crossfit box has been a fun (and cheap) way to change things up.

    When my coupons run out, I tend to incorporate some of the moves I’ve learned into my regular training, with friends. I don’t plan on lifting heavy-heavy weight, but there are some olympic style lifts that are shockingly effective. I am still really amazed at how an overhead squat feels, even with just a dowel in my hands. Holy abs and back! I love learning the new moves, even if I never plan to lift more than 70 pounds or so…

    So…I can definitely see the draw of CrossFit (I mean, just look at their bodies — you can see they are strong), but I am always surprised at what people are willing to pay for a membership. I would encourage people to wait for a groupon deal, and then try it out. I can assure you that beginners will have a place in most CF boxes. I’ve seen all sorts of people at various fitness levels, at the places I’ve been to. There are ways to accommodate everyone.

    And to conclude my rambling comment, I also want to say that, yes, enthusiasm can be really annoying, no matter what kind of enthusiasm it is. But I think most people really are genuinely excited about it, and simply want to share. I haven’t really met anyone who told me that crossfit was the end-all, be-all of fitness. It’s just something that works for them, and I think we should encourage whatever people choose to do to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

  46. Marcy on September 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Gina, glad you came in and for the most part, had a good first CrossFit experience. It was nice to meet you.

    As the owner of the gym she attended, I’d like to add a few details that were not covered. First, we require folks who have not done CrossFit to attend beginners classes first as well and Gina did email me and told me that she scheduled child are on the wrong day and asked if she could attend the regular class. I told her she could not (until last night, I had no idea who Gina was although that would not have changed my answer). However, when I arrived at the gym, Gina was working out. Aly, our manager, told me she granted Gina am exception because she knew her and knew her level of experience was sufficient for the workout of the day. This is not our normal protocol and I am sure Gina will tell you that I told her no. So, regardless she attended a class where the expectation of understanding the movements was at a higher level than in our beginners classes.

    Also, Gina did the workout scaled (jumping pull-ups). Her form was great and she did fine. It was clear from watching the workout that she was fine. :).

    For all of thr posters, if you are new to CrossFit, you need to start in a beginners class or with one on one sessions. It provides you with the basics to be successful to do CrossFit for the long haul. There’s no expectation that everyone be able to do strict Pullups or any other movements. It’s our job to teach you and help you learn to do that. 90% of people walking through our doors are folks who Can’t do a strict Pullup so you are in good company!

    • Fitnessista on September 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      hey marcy,
      thank you so much for your comment- it was so nice to meet you and i really enjoyed my first experience.

      to clarify, since i was trying to be concise as possible with an already very long post:

      marcy did email me to tell me no, but i got the email 10 minutes before class started and was already at the studio. her email said i could watch, so i was just planning on watching and then maybe going to acupuncture when i walked in. when aly came up to the desk, i asked her where it would be ok for me to watch -i was pretty scared an intimidated once i got there and looked around- but since she reads the blog and knew i could handle it, she granted me and exception. if i go back, it will definitely be to a beginners class so i can learn the proper form for all of the lifts. i felt comfortable (but very challenged) with everything i did yesterday.

  47. Kelli Preston on September 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Your reaction to cross fit is exactly what I was afraid of. For some reason it scares moi to death. I think it is awesome you stuck it out and wrote such an honest post about it. You rock!

  48. Nicole on September 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I agree with everyone after starting 5 weeks ago. I love it for the personal empowerment, coaches by my side and varying workouts every day. I never thought I would be able to do the things I’m doing and love that feeling!

    Personally, I’m not a gym person. I don’t have the skills or motivation to go and “workout”. I like Crossfit because all I have to focus on is getting stronger than before.

    My box focuses on form and they will not let you lift heavy while you are a beginner (your first three months according to them). They also focus heavily on scaling for you.

    I also am tired of hearing about the cost. To go x3 week, my box is $135-150 (depending on your package). To me that one dinner out with the hubs, a shopping spree at Target, so some other purchase I don’t need. Yes, it costs more than regular gyms, but for me, I get 2-3 coaches (like personal trainers) every time I go, different workouts and motivation from my class mates.

    If folks are interested, please research your boxes and go try out a class. Then if you choose to commit – commit!

    • Fitnessista on September 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      that’s a really great point- i blow that much at target once a month for sure

  49. mary on September 12, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I see what you mean about diminishing returns from insanely high weights but I find it interesting that some conditioning ‘experts’ say that’s exactly why we should not waste our time relying on a lot of cardio for fitness but instead do more and heavier strength training– because you just keep adapting to running, cycling, whatever and have to go further and faster for a workout. Why not leverage time and just challenge your body by adding weights instead of miles?

    I’m not a fan of dumbbells because I think kettlebells and body weight exercises are much more functional and efficient. But barbells are just fun sometimes. : )

    Thanks for the review.

    How far did you have to go for that class? It sounded like Tom had the baby alllll day!

    • mary on September 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Never mind, it sounds like you went after work (hence the long dad-sitting day)!

      I’m surprised CrossFit gyms are expensive. You could do a Bikram membership for that much! Aren’t the WODs on the free web? It seems like most of the stuff they do, one could do at home. Of course, you wouldn’t have the trainer and group atmosphere and funner toys.

      • Fitnessista on September 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

        i’m surprised they’re expensive, too. i don’t have any of the equipment we used yesterday at home, so it would be tough to do here :/

    • Fitnessista on September 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      yep, but on the same token, you can change up by adding more incline or speed into your cardio to make it more intense without having to workout longer. same goes for weights- change it up, or add weight. cardio and weights are both extremely important for very different reasons.

      the box was 25 minutes from our house, plus the hour class, so it takes a lot of coordination for me to make it to a class during the day. this is why i usually just workout at night because liv’s asleep and tom is home

  50. Eva @ Committed2Nutrition on September 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I am so glad you posted this, Gina! I am a fellow zumba instructor, and my boyfriend is obsessed with crossfit. With that said, I just can’t seem to get myself to a crossfit class. I love how zumba has toned every single muscle in my body, and I admit, I am intimidated by crossfit. I hate how fast the work outs go, and I know for a fact I’d struggle with form. I know this way of exercise REALLY works for some people, but just not for me. I think it is definitely all about finding what works for you and finding what is some work out that you look forward to doing, regardless of cost, etc. I feel like this is exactly how my write up would be if I tried my first xfit class, which I still can’t decide if Nick can persaude me to do {yet}.. ha. GO ZUMBA! (hehe)

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