CrossFit. The fitness “trend” that has taken the world by storm. But is it really a trend? CrossFit is now a staple in communities. It is a breeding ground for not only forging elite fitness, but also forging friendship, motivation, self-esteem, and belonging. At 37 years old, I am now into my 11th year of CrossFit as my fitness program of choice and 10th year as an owner and coach. And even though my fitness goals, performances, and competitiveness may have taken a turn because of age, injury, running a business, Emma & Brady, and just life in general, I still to this day absolutely love CrossFit and what it has done for me and what it has done for my gym members. I’ve found CrossFit training has its ups and downs, but I’ve learned through the years it is a fitness journey of change and adaptation and not just a quick fix to fitness — another reason it’s been my training of choice for so long.
Reflecting back on my journey:
I found CrossFit through a co-worker of mine. It came at the perfect time because I was bored with my current routine in corporate fitness centers and I wanted something new and exciting. I think most can relate to this as people who do CrossFit love to talk about it. I tried out a class at CrossFit Philly and was immediately hooked. Learning new skills, getting stronger every day, constantly making progress makes CrossFit seems like God’s gift to fitness…and it is. Since I was in the industry, I started shadowing one of the best in the area. I taught early morning classes at CrossFit Philly and did my workouts there. I began experimenting with eating Paleo because that is what I researched on how CrossFitters eat. I found my peers and mentors drove my success in this new world of fitness and I was constantly motivated to crush myself because for the first few years, it works that way. I opened CrossFit Generation in 2008 with Jocelyn and both of our fitness levels took off and we started gaining clients month by month. We did local competitions, made it to Regionals a few years, and the CrossFit life was sky high….until….
“Why I am not PRing anymore?”, “I feel I have hit a plateau”, “My *insert body part* kind of hurts”, “I don’t feel like going today” might be starting to happen. At times, I felt burnt out, overworked, lack of energy, and just flat out run into the ground. This is when I needed to start planning and tweaking my training and nutrition. I thought about what I wanted my goals to ultimately be. For a while I focused on Olympic lifts, then basics in gymnastics then increasing my endurance with running and rowing. I tried adding in light training weeks and even, dare I say, actual REST weeks. I realized that I cannot go 100 miles an hour doing CrossFit for the rest of my life, but damn, I loved these workouts and the people I have met who I now call friends. This is when I sat down and really created a plan so I could continue my journey and stay with CrossFit.
Year 5 and onward
I have now settled into CrossFit and know how to adapt it to my ever-changing life. I have a program and system that works for me. I know specific stretches and warm-up drills that keep me in the game long-term given my specific needs. I know workouts where I need to tone down the volume and intensity of a certain movement, or just simply sub out a movement because that exercise is not healthy anymore for my body. I finally have a grasp on the concept of “This is for me and no one else”. I can still “compete” in fitness and maybe still do a couple local competitions, but I have found I now know when to push the envelope and when to seal it for the day. My training intuition came to the surface and that is what smart training is all about. (For CFG members this is where your coaches can help. Your coaches know you better than you know yourself sometimes and can help decide what the right path to success is for you.)
This was my journey. Can you relate? I think it may speak to some of you as well. Most of your CFG coaches have been with us since the very beginning and I am sure can vouch for a journey similar to this one as well.
My last piece of advice on your journey is this: CrossFit can either make you or break you. It is up to you to create a plan with your coaches so that CrossFit can be a part of your life for years to come. Because in the end, it’s just fitness, man. Thanks for reading, everyone.