Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Crossfit Akron Experience

Thanks to my friend Katie (better known to Akron CrossFitters as Kat, but she was introduced to me as Katie so it will take years for my brain to adjust), I was recently able to check out CrossFit Akron on a bring a friend day.  I kind of had mixed feelings about attending, since CrossFit has the tendency to come off as a little cultish intense in certain blog circles.  Plus the whole concept seems kind of odd to an outsider ("I worked out so hard I puked!  I am so sore I want to die!  I can't wait to go back!")

However, I am not really one to knock something unless I've tried it.  And I know enough about myself to know that there are certain elements of CrossFit that would totally appeal to me.  I may be a shitty runner, but I am definitely capable of feats of strength.  My body is totally built for this!  And, as you have probably gathered from my excessive beauty sample habit, I have a bit of an addictive personality.  I could absolutely see myself being one of those people who get WAAAAAAAAAY into CrossFit.  I can't really say that about too many other workouts.  

I basically bugged Katie at various book club meetings until she invited me to go.  Her class is at 5:30 in the morning (gah!) but it's not like I sleep much past that anyway.  Justin agreed to get the kiddos ready that morning, and I was off to class.  

The South Hawkins location is a really nice building in a fairly crappy area.  It's really too bad they moved - the old building was right by my house.  However, the facilities are really nice.  I was kind of in awe as I looked around - it's just so DIFFERENT from the normal gym setup and atmosphere.  Weird equipment, cold room, flat screen TVs where you can sign in and track your statistics, giant signs with messages congratulating local CrossFitters for their accomplishments.  Katie later explained that the banner was for our classmate and my partner for the warmup, Betsy, who was the 2011 CrossFit Masters World Champion and got second place in the CrossFit World Games this summer.  Pretty impressive!

We started off jogging a few laps, then everyone who couldn't remember my name had to do some burpees.  We partnered up and one person did planks while the other person jumped back and forth over their legs for 30 seconds.  I was SO SCARED I was going to jump on my partner, but that didn't happen.  I can't say the same for her though - thankfully she was tiny :)  By the third plank I had to rest my legs a few seconds, and by the fourth I could only stay up about half the time.  The jumping was worse though - the cold air in the room was really making my asthma act up.  I knew I was in for a crazy workout when I could barely make it through the warmup.

Here is the WOD info, for those of you who are fluent in CrossFit:

I was fine with the deadlifts; I lifted 73 pounds and could have done a lot more, but I wanted to start low so I could learn the right form and avoid injury.  The walking lunges were KILLER - I only had a 10 pound weight and I wanted to die by the third lap around.  

I was a little confused by the prison walks / wall balls / farmer's carry.  I didn't realize we were doing it for time, or I would have gone a lot faster.  Also, we were apparently only supposed to go down and back and down, instead of 3 full laps each time (so I did more than double of what I was supposed to do before Katie realized what happened at let me stop).  The wall balls (throw a medicine ball up in the air, catch as you crouch, pop up and throw, repeat) were actually the hardest part for me; it was really hard to keep going and not stop.  Farmer's carry (hold kettlebells down at your sides like you are carrying buckets and walk) was the easiest, as my years of pack mule mom training came in handy.  The prison walks (that thing the girl in the pic below is doing) were kind of a bitch after all of those lunges. 

Image courtesy of CrossFit Akron.
I was a little worried about the whole "people will watch you until you are done and cheer for you and make you finish" aspect of it, but honestly, that part wasn't weird at all.  I obviously finished last since I was doing too many laps for the prison walks and farmer's carry, but it's not like people were staring at me or judging me or anything.  Katie picked up some kettlebells and did some laps with me, which was very nice of her.  If I didn't know anyone and it was someone random finishing it out with me, that wouldn't have been too awkward either.  Everyone in the class was really nice and supportive and positive.  JP, the trainer, was very motivating, yelling out if he thought people could use more weight but it was all in a "you can do it" sort of way, not in a Jillian Michaels yelling in your face sort of way.    

Image courtesy of CrossFit Akron.
JP took a pic of the class with me in the middle when I was done, which seems to be part of the CrossFit experience.  The website has a lot of pictures of people doing the workouts, so I think having your picture snapped when you are red and sweaty is part of the deal.
Image courtesy of Katie :)
I walked out of there feeling a HUGE sense of accomplishment, since I made it through the workout and didn't die.  I got a little woozy a couple of times (after the lunges) but everything was definitely all in the realm of my ability.  I was INSANELY SORE for about 5 days after the workout (stairs were a killer) but my joints actually felt fine.  I thought for sure the lunges would result in knee pain but all was well.  

I see why everyone who does CrossFit wants to talk about it so much - it's kind of hard to think about anything else when your body is constantly reminding you of what you did.  Plus it's pretty cool to push yourself to the limit and succeed.  You SHOULD feel proud after finishing a CrossFit workout - it's NO JOKE!

I would absolutely like to join CrossFit, but I think it's probably cost and schedule prohibitive for me right now.  There is not enough information on the website to make an educated decision, which is a little disappointing.  I think they expect to hook you in during the free Intro session, then they sign you up for boot camp before telling you how much the class actually costs.  I think I could handle either a 5:30 M-W or T-Th class, since I got back before 7am.  However, that would be pretty unfair to Justin until he stops working second shift on Mondays and Tuesdays (no end in sight currently) since the girls rarely sleep until 7.  Night classes on Mondays and Tuesdays are definitely out as well since I'm a single parent those days.  I'd almost have to see if I could arrange to come Wednesday and Thursday nights, but I don't know if they are flexible like that or not.  

Any CrossFitters out there - how much does your class cost?  


Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I don't know when CrossFit started, but I feel like it's become a commonplace term only in the past couple years. Way back in 2008, when we were getting ready for our wedding, my husband and I went to a facility that offered workouts very much in the realm of CrossFit. We both wanted to puke on more than one occasion. I had a love-hate relationship with those classes, but adored the instructors and also loved pushing my body beyond what I'd ever do alone. That said, it's totally cost-prohibitive in our house. Hope you can make it work for you.

Mama Bub said...

I don't know why you're not screaming, "I WENT TO CROSSFIT AND DID MORE THAN I WAS SUPPOSED TO." To me, that's the takeaway here - you're superwoman.

Kathleen Hardy said...

You did a great job! And I agree, if you could go 3x a week you would DOMINATE the weighlifting! The best thing about the WOD that day, though, is you could really do it at home. If you liked the HIIT aspect of the workout (which gives you great results in a limited amount of time 10-30 min), there are lots of WODS programmed for home just using bodyweight (sit ups, burpees, planks, jumps, duckwalks, inchworms, pushups)or even a bag of dogfood for weight..or a kid! Invest in a few pieces of equipment (medicine ball, a jumprope, an abmat) and you have even more choices. For instance, when I am on vacation and can't get to Crossfit Akron, one of the WODs I do: 5 rounds for time: 200m run (once around the block) 30 sit ups, 30 pushups, 30 squats. You could sub burpees in for something, too. can help to generate home WODS..but scale to your taste, of course!