I’ve dabbled in Crossfit for probably over a year now. Recently, I bought a number of classes and started going a little more regularly, as in, once a week. Crossfit is expensive, yo.
I decided to make it part of my exercise routine because I was feeling like I needed a bit more of a challenge. I’ve been doing the same high-intensity workouts since I moved to Chicago and wanted to challenge myself to try something that incorporated heavier weights and different moves than what I was used to.
While I knew I would learn more lingo and moves to add into my own workouts, I didn’t expect to learn non-fitness lessons along the way. I’m about two months in, but here are 4 lessons I’ve learned from Crossfit.
1. Slow down
I am used to going balls-to-the-wall, short rest, and sweat everywhere. What immediately made me uncomfortable about Crossfit is that there are longer rests — sometimes multiple minutes. Because you are working with heavier weights, the body needs more time to get back to baseline before working again or you’ll start to experience diminishing returns and put yourself at risk for injury.
I was really impatient in the first couple classes I took — “what do you mean rest for 90 seconds? I don’t need 90 seconds!” — but over time I adapted to this new way (for me) to work out. While some parts of a Crossfit workout are for time and require you to complete movements as quickly as you can, others teach me to just slow down and concentrate on what I’m doing.
As someone who has been teaching high-intensity classes (and taking them) for over a year and a half now, I’m going to toot my own horn and say that I’m a little above average when it comes to working out. Working out at the same place you teach also pushes you to work harder since you want to look like you know what you’re doing in a group full of people who know you’re an instructor (or maybe that’s just me). I’m comfortable in those classes and tend to fall on the more advanced side of things.
Enter Crossfit. The classes I teach don’t involve Olympic lifting (think heavy barbells and movements such as cleans and snatches), and although I will use barbells for certain movements, I’m certainly not throwing around hundreds of pounds. During my first couple Crossfit classes, I was the one with the lightest amount of weight. I had to go get a lighter bar from another room so that I could still handle it when I added on weight. I had to learn very quickly that everyone is doing the best they can and it’s ok if I’m not the best one in the room.
3. There’s always room for improvement
On a related note, humility taught me that there’s always room for improvement. There are moves I still have to master and improve upon. Rather than frustrate me, it actually makes me happy. Sometimes in my current routine I feel like I’ve hit a plateau and Crossfit shows me that there’s so much more I can achieve if I keep working for it. I get excited to go to class and use a heavier weight than last time or finish a workout faster than before.
4. Ask questions
I advise this of everyone taking a new fitness class. If something doesn’t make sense or you just need a better explanation, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re only doing yourself a disservice by assuming that you know the answer or just waiting to watch someone else do a movement.
Since many of the people in the class are regulars, there isn’t a lot of explaining of certain movements. More than once I’ve asked the coach to demonstrate or walk me through something so I understand it better. With moves involving heavier weights, this is a must for me. After hurting my back earlier this year, I want to make sure that I take all precautions to ensure that that won’t happen again.
I’m sure I will find other things that this new routine will teach me, but for now these are a few that come to mind. I’d love to hear about life lessons YOU’VE taken away from workouts in the comments!
- What non-technical things have you learned from a workout routine?
- What’s your favorite type of workout?