Hello, hello! I’m Meghan and I hail from my own little blog, TheMeghaMix, where I post recaps of my workouts and reviews of my latest fitness forays. I also include the requisite photos of my eats, and elaborate tales of the things I do for fun (road trip!).
From kempo karate to hot yoga to half marathons, I like to try all kinds of workouts and then evaluate the hype based on my personal experience. About 11 months ago, I took what I thought was a one-time visit to a local CrossFit box…but then I got hooked.
I’ve noticed a lot of other Carrots ‘N’ Cake readers have had questions about CrossFit, so I thought it might be fitting to share one of the key aspects of the sport that converted me:
Like a lot of bloggers, I tend to set (sometimes unrealistic) goals, and then become elated when I achieve them and crushed when I don’t. When I was training for races, I found only two ways to measure progress: distance (which can take over your weekend) and speed (I’m naturally incredibly slow – poop). In hot yoga, I could either try to nail a certain pose or try not to compare myself to the gal next to me who did nail the pose while I almost fell on my face. Even with my regular strength training at the gym, the only measurable that I cared about was my body fat percentage…which didn’t always go down as quickly as I wanted it to. (Sensing a little impatience and type A? Same here.)
With CrossFit, things were different. There was so much variety in all the workouts that I had a ton of mini goals I could set any day I went in for a WOD, and if I wasn’t progressing in one area (like double-unders), I could see progress in another area (like moving to the next band on my pullups).
Here are some of the types of movements involved in typical CrossFit workouts:
- Body-weight exercises – after two full years of work, I slowly but surely moved through four different band levels (they’re like big rubber bands that make pullups easier) until I could do one unassisted pullup, and now I’m doing multiple unassisted pullups in the actual workouts. My next body weight goal? To crush full-range-of-motion handstand pushups.
Pushups – always a great body-weight exercise!
- Gymnastic skills – It took almost eleven months, but last week I final did a WOD with double unders. Next on my list? To nail rope climbs like I did as a kid.
- Cardio – Burpees came to me really easily (I was the only one at our box who was excited for the 7 minutes of burpees workout). Now I’m working to improve my form and speed on running and rowing.
- Weight (Olympic) lifting – I currently designate at least one day a week to work on strength. I squat-cleaned 100 pounds recently, and now I’m trying to up my deadlift one-rep-max to 180 pounds. You always have a one-rep-max for each lift, no matter how light you start, and with good nutrition, form, and persistence, you can improve it!
- Benchmark workouts – By this time, you’ve probably heard of “The Girls.” These are CrossFit benchmark workouts designed to kick your butt. They also allow you to measure your fitness against the elite and your biggest competition – you. Some times they are heavy (think 30 repetitions of a complicated lift at 95 pounds – 135 pounds if you’re a dude) or meant to test speed (think jumping rope combined with situps). Since CrossFitters do a different workout practically every day, it’s hard to measure progress by comparing your time for a 400 meter run with the time it took you to do 20 pushups. But if you do a benchmark WOD (rumor has it they’re named after hurricanes or ex-girlfriends), you can call your CrossFit buddy in Baltimore and say, "Hey, I had a time of 12:42 for Helen!" And they can say, "Sweet! I did Helen last week and finally got her done in under 10:00!" When I started CrossFit, I couldn’t do a single girl unless I scaled the weight and the movement significantly. I RX’ed my first Girl (“Jackie”) after 9 months of CrossFit and have been able to do more of “The Girls” since. My goal this month is to RX “Grace” for my birthday.
Pullups without a band for "Jackie"
I love CrossFit because almost every class marks a tiny victory for me in some way. In the short term, it keeps me motivated to come back for the next workout, and in the long term, it’s pretty empowering to have goals besides a number on the scale or the body fat tester. My mindset has shifted a little so that I focus less on comparing myself to others and more on improving my own capabilities. I never regret a WOD and I’m always excited to see the stronger, fitter me that I know I’ll find tomorrow.
So…whether you run, lift, yoga, or Zumba (those are all verbs, right?), make sure you set a variety of goals so you don’t get discouraged focusing on only a few things. Remind yourself of the improvements you have made, and remember that smart consistency does pay off.
And if you still get frustrated…well, there’s always CrossFit.
What goals do you set for yourself? How do you stay motivated and fight discouragement when you don’t progress the way you planned?
A huge thank you to Tina for “having me over” to guest post! Enjoy your trip to Seattle!