CrossFit Q & A

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Hi, guys!

Fun and exciting things are happening here today!

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The CrossFit Open officially started last night, so Mal and I are gearing up to do the first workout tonight, which is a 7-minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible) of Burpees.

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Mal loves Burpees (he actually hoped that the first WOD would include them), but I sort of hate them. Even still, I’m wicked excited about tonight’s workout!

Lunch

Today’s lunch was a random mix of goodies from the refrigerator, all thrown together into a big salad. I love using up leftovers just for this reason!

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In the mix: arugula, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, avocado, truffle oil, and fried Brussels sprouts.

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Snack

A couple of hours later, I snacked on a container of plain Greek yogurt with granola and fresh blueberries mixed in. I need energy for tonight’s Burpees!

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I love that so many of you are interested in learning more about CrossFit. I’ve received a ton of questions from you guys lately, so I decided to do a little Q & A on CNC. If I missed any of your questions, just leave a comment on this post, and I’ll do my best to respond!

CrossFit Q & A

When you do the WOD in Crossfit and it only takes say 9 minutes, are you done? Do you just go home or do you repeat it? It’s crazy to me to only work out for 10 min even though I know it’s a great one.

The WOD is just one part of a typical CrossFit class, and they can range from 2 minutes (if you’re an animal) to 30 minutes (or more). Each day that I go to CrossFit, I plan to be there for an hour.

Every CrossFit class is different, but here’s what the majority of them might look like:

  • 10-15 minute warm-up, usually done as a group
  • 15-20 minutes spent on either practicing a skill (rowing technique, handstands, jump rope skills) OR strength (deadlifts, overheat squats, Olympic lifts)
  • 10-30 minutes for the Workout of the Day (WOD). At my box, 90% of the WODs are done in under 20 minutes, but they’re no joke.
  • The last 5-10 minutes of class are spent on mobility and improving range of motion (stretching, foam rolling, etc.).

How many calories do you think you burn at CrossFit?

CrossFit doesn’t estimate calories burned because there is so much variation between classes and WODs, but Health magazine (January/February 2012) estimated you’d burn about 200 calories per 20-minute session, such as one of the longer WODs.

I want to try CrossFit, but I don’t know if there’s one near me. How did you find yours?

Check this out: Find a Local CrossFit Location. All of the boxes listed are independently-owned CrossFit affiliates.

I’ve checked out a few CrossFits near me, but their rates seem really expensive. If you don’t mind me asking, how much do you pay?

Every CrossFit is different, so the membership rate varies quite a bit, and it depends on a number of factors, including the location (city versus suburbs), how often you go (unlimited, 3 x week, 2 x week), number of members and coaches, how long the box has been open, etc.

Mal and I joined CrossFit 781 as a couple, so we pay $300 ($150 each) for an unlimited monthly membership. (We can attend as many classes as we’d like during the month.) The regular (non-couple) unlimited membership rate is $175/month, and there are other membership options that cost less as well as discounts for students and those who are members of the military and law enforcement. Similar pricing options exist at other CrossFit locations.

From what I’ve heard from other CrossFit-ers, our monthly rate falls somewhere in the middle of the pricing spectrum. I’ve heard of people paying as little as $60/month as well as more than $200/month for an unlimited membership. Every CrossFit is independent of each other, so prices vary quite a bit, which means you’ll need to contact your local box to see what the going rate is.

I can’t believe you pay so much for CrossFit. I could never justify that amount. Why do you pay so much to workout when you could run outside for free or join a gym for so much cheaper?

I agree, CrossFit is expensive, but for Mal and me, it all comes down to our priorities. Fitness is a huge of who we are and what makes us happy, so we decided to “invest” our money in this area of our lives. We told ourselves when we signed up for CrossFit and made such a substantial financial commitment, we’d take full advantage of it””meaning now we attend 5-6 classes each week, we cleaned up our diets quite a bit, and we go out to bars and boozeface a lot less.

CrossFit is also like no other workout I’ve ever done, especially one at a regular gym. Even in group exercise classes, I wasn’t able to push myself like I can at CrossFit. I used to be the fastest/strongest/most coordinated person in group exercises classes, but at CrossFit, I typically fall toward the bottom of the pack, which means I’m constantly motivated by my peers to step-it-up, which makes me fitter overall.

Additionally, it depends on the CrossFit, but, in my experience, the classes are typically small group personal training, which, for the money, is actually a really good deal. My box has about 50 members and two coaches, which means the average class has anywhere from 6-15 people. Our coaches are awesome and really want people to succeed, so they’re constantly checking our form and encouraging us, which is something I don’t get on a run outside or workout at the gym.

I really want to try CrossFit, but it’s so expensive. Don’t they have one I can do at home or at my gym?

Yep! CrossFit Headquarters posts their WOD every day on their website. Additionally, check out my post about At-Home and Budget-Friendly CrossFit Ideas!

Do you wear those special CrossFit shoes? Do you think you really need them?

I wear the New Balance Minimus shoes for my CrossFit workouts. Initially, I didn’t think I needed to have “special” shoes for training, but they make all of the difference. Check out this post about what type of shoes you should wear for CrossFit.

I love your posts about CrossFit, and I decided to take an intro session. I’m going to my first CrossFit class this weekend. What should I expect?

Again, it depends on the box. Most CrossFits have intro sessions to teach you everything you need to know before you join a regular class. For example, my box has a CrossFit 101 course, which is (6) one-hour long sessions where our coaches go over just about everything you need to know: essential movements, barbell safety, Olympic lifts, rowing technique, how to modify movements and scale weight according to your ability, and how a typical class runs. At the end of each session is a workout.

If you’re interested in giving CrossFit a try, contact your local box and ask about these intro sessions to get you started.

I have the itch to try Crossfit, but I AM SO NERVOUS! I am scared to give up cardio, I am scared I won’t be able to do anything, I am scared I will fail and be disappointed in myself, I am scared I will hold others back in the class. Any words of wisdom for me? 

Don’t be nervous! CrossFit is so fun! I actually felt pretty intimidated by CrossFit too, especially because of the way it’s portrayed and talked about (Pukie the Clown, bleeding hands, etc.), but, from my experience, it’s not that way. It’s actually a very supportive and friendly environment.

As for giving up cardio, CrossFit is cardio, plus SO much more! You’ll get more out of a 15-minute WOD than you will peddling away on an elliptical any day! Trust me!

As far as thinking you won’t be able to do anything or you might hold people back, you won’t. I promise. Every move at CrossFit is scalable to your abilities, and it’s not unusual to see people taking advantage of these modifications. I’d say more than half of classes at my box have members doing some sort variation of exercises/movements in order to complete a WOD. Plus, tons of people do Level 1 and Level 2 WODs. I actually kind of like that I need to work my way up to prescribed WODs because I know I’m getting stronger, faster, and fitter!

My advice for your first class(es):

  • Have fun.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help and/or clarification on exercises, movements, form, concepts, etc. Remember everyone started as a newbie at some point, so most people (obviously, the coaches) are happy to help.
  • Along the same lines, start light and get your form down before adding weight. Don’t worry about that beast deadlifting 485 next to you.
  • Remember that you are competing against yourself, not others. Strive to improve on YOUR time, YOUR weight, YOUR skills. 
  • Know that it gets easier”¦ sort of. No CrossFit workout is truly easy, but you’ll get stronger, build up a greater aerobic capacity, and become more mentally tough overtime.

It seems like you’re overdoing it with CrossFit. Why do you go so much?

Honestly, I just really love it. I’m getting stronger, faster, and fitter each and every class and the community aspect is what keeps me going back day after day. I’ve met some amazing, like-minded people, and I really enjoy spending time and working out with them. 

You’ve been doing CrossFit for a few months now. Have you seen any changes?

I sure have! Check out this blog post for specifics.

What is the CrossFit Open?

The CrossFit Open is a competition that is “open” to any CrossFitter from anywhere around the world. There are five Open WODs, which are announced by CrossFit Headquarters, once a week for the next five weeks. Each participant has seven days to complete the WOD in that particular week. Your scores/times are then recorded and you can see how you rank against other CrossFitters. The best of the bunch go onto compete in the CrossFit Regionals and CrossFit Games.

And I’m off for tackle Workout #1! Wish me luck!

P.S. It’s National Dog Biscuit Day today! Murphy celebrated appropriately!

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101 Comments

  1. I just did the first open workout at lunch….holy burpees!!! You are going to do great and that painful nauseating feeling in your throat will go away soon…at least I hope so!

  2. I wear my heart rate monitor to CrossFit, and I tend to burn between 400-600 calories in an hour long session, from the warm-up through the extra credit and cool down.

    Also, it drives me bananas when people are like “I can’t believe people pay so much for CrossFit, ugh!” yet nobody bats an eye when bloggers are obviously registering for multiple races a month…registration fees and running shoes add up fast, too, people! For what it’s worth, I only pay $60 a month and I’d happily pay double that.

    1. @Brie: You’re absolutely right. At first, I thought it seemed way too expensive, but most of us are willing to spend money on what’s important to us. And we’re more than willing to make sacrifices in other areas so we can do what we love.

  3. the training I do is very similar to a crossfit structure and i get asked the same about price (I pay right about the same as you). People always seem blown away and comment on how it is rediculous but i look at it about the same as you do – its a priority for myself and honestly absolutely LOVE it, it works better for me than just going to the gym by myself, and it is the extra push I need!

  4. I know people think it’s crazy to spend that much on CrossFit, but at least if you price around (US AND Canada), it’s pretty comparable for prices. That way you know that it’s pretty universal and won’t be surprised!

    I thought at first I didn’t like CrossFit, but after my husband got a job where I could do unlimited CrossFit with a teacher that I actually liked, it becomes addicting! Thanks for clearing up the whole CrossFit Open thing because I briefly read about it somewhere and wondered what it was all about!!

  5. it’s funny that people are like, I can’t imagine only working out 10 minutes and then in the same breath saying that you are overdoing it. I think Crossfit is one of those things that you won’t understand until you do it. It’ the type of workout where that’s all you ever have to do and your body composition will change significantly. It’s about a million times better than just banging out cardio IF YOUR GOAL IS AESTHETIC/performance based. While it is expensive, it’s less equivalent to that of a regular gym and more like having a personal trainer. That’s why it costs so much.

    If someone wants to do it at home, i would suggest they go to a gym and learn some fundamentals (which I think you’ve said that too)

    Love your blog! And your puppy!!

    1. @Wendi @ A Southern Yogi: I think the whole “if your goal is aesthetic/performance” is a really good point. I’ve visited Crossfit with friends who are members and it’s not really for me. BUT, my goal with exercise isn’t aesthetic/performance but rather to enjoy moving my body. For me running, hiking and bootcamp/circuit workouts I can do at home are much better suited to my exercise goals.

  6. I’d love to try crossfit but it’s way out of my budget (even if I found a $60 a month one!) so hopefully once I graduate law school it’ll still be a big deal (in a year and a half…) and I can join in! Right now, I’m getting into running and loving it! I have my first half in a month or so and I signed up for the Chicago Marathon!!!

  7. ahhhh 7 minutes of burpees?!!? holy moly, woman! i almost died doing 50 in our filthy 50 yesterday! good for you, though 🙂 can’t wait to hear how it goes…. and i was skeptical at first as well, but am officially on the crossfit bandwagon. it really is amazing how you see the results, and quickly!

  8. Very informative post! I think fro each person it depends on where they put their priorities…I can’t figure out why people pay so much for drinks, eating out, and fast food –but those things don’t interest me at.all. So I don’t spend very much (if any) $$ on them. So it sounds like you’ve found something you like and you pay$ for it. Good for you for putting your health first!

    I have to say though, each group ex class and instructor is very different…..so if you have a motivating class and/or instructor, you can push yourself to past your limits. I’ve seen it in my own life and the lives of those I teach. So I just want to throw that out there to people who like the ‘gym’ feel or group ex feel. But CF sounds awesome and like such a nice, fun group to be in! It just does not fit my schedule right now at all, to try it. But maybe one day!
    Thanks for the helpful tips!

  9. Good luck with the first open WOD!!! My hubby will be knocking it out as well…sounds crazy intense. Right now I am only Crossfitting 2x a week (and really like it) but I felt like doing the WODs for the open would be a bit much for me.

    Let us know how you do! I’m impressed that you are giving it a shot!

  10. Love love love this post! And I am crazy about CrossFit, I’ve seen my body change so much in only one month of doing it three times a week!

  11. Oh wow, I can’t imagine 7 minutes of burpees. I’d probably pass out after the first minute! Love all the info about Crossfit. It sound really interesting. I can see how the small group environment would be motivating. It also sounds like the workouts are varied and much more interesting that jogging on a treadmill. As far as the higher cost, if I had the money and I really loved it, I would pay it.

  12. Hey Tina — thank you thank you for posting this. I’ve been considering Crossfit forever now it seems. I went to an intro class a few weeks back and really liked it. Then I cancelled my gym membership and was waiting until March (when I had no gym payment) to start my Crossfit membership. I was still wavering and I’m still really nervous but reading this made me feel better. I appreciate you taking the time. You’ll be reading about my experiences next week if I decide to take the plunge!

    -Ericka

  13. For several years I’ve been a follower of your blog and I’ve gained so much knowledge and inspiration from it. I probably will continue to read, however, the CrossFit chat seems to be getting a little excessive. Every single post seems to have some mention of a CrossFit workout you are preparing to do or have just done, plus all the detail from it. I’m typically am a non-commenter, but I just had the urge to say something this time.

    Instead of CrossFit remarks everyday, I believe it’d be more beneficial to read some how-to workouts for nonCrossFit readers every week or couple of weeks.

    1. @Kayley: I totally understand where you’re coming from, but if she was posting about running everyday do you think people would be saying the same thing? I highly doubt it. I don’t run, but I still read blogs like Meals and Miles and Healthy Tipping Point. It seems as if Meghann runs everyday or even posts about running everyday, but just because I don’t run doesn’t mean that I can’t relate to stuff on her blog. We’re all passionate about certain things, and Tina just happens to be really into Crossfit right now. I think theres a lot of misinformation out there right now about Crossfit being too “hard” and not being for everyone. Tina’s doing a great job at explaining crossfit to all the newbies and sharing her experiences about training in a new way!

    2. @Kayley: Thanks for your comment. I agree, I talk about CF quite a bit on CNC, but if you look at how many posts I write per day/week, it’s not very much. Yesterday, one post out of three included CF talk while the others were about food, my life, Murphy, randomness, etc. CNC has always been about my life (through food) and what’s important to me. CrossFit is now part of the mix.

  14. Good luck tonight!!!
    I’m very intrigued by crossfit but as a student, I currently have “free” access to gym so I’m not inclined to pay for something extra. But, after graduation in May, I’ll definitely be weighing my fitness options and crossfit will certainly be a consideration!

  15. Thanks for all the wonderful info!!! You really are so helpful & inspiring at the same time and your honesty is SO appreciated. Good luck with all the burpees!!! I have such a love/hate relationship with them…they suck while doing them, but you feel like 100 bucks when you’re done!

  16. Hi Tina!
    I love Carrots and Cake and have been reading for quite some time! Reading about your fitness feats is always inspiring and always leaves me thinking about ways to challenge myself! You have answered the above questions in such detail–for someone who wanted to know a bit more about Cross Fit and who is considering joining, you answered so many questions I had! One more question, if you are willing to address it at some point: have noticed any significant changes in your body since starting Cross Fit? My results have been limited with traditional weight lifting, so I would love to hear about any changes you have noticed with Cross Fit in terms of your physique. Thanks so much for all of your heart-felt, fun, and engaging posts!

  17. Great post. I started crossfit a month ago and am hooked also. For all of the above posters who mentioned being afraid to join , there really is nothing to be worried about- even if you can’t do the WOD’s , there is a modification for everything, and I guarantee you won’t be the only one doing the modification. Everyone in the small group has their strengths and weaknesses and everyone really encourages each other. It is expensive, but , as Tina mentioned, it is worth it considering the amount you push yourself versus working out on your own.

  18. I just started CrossFit about a month ago and two days after my Foundations class, I found out I was pregnant. I’ve stuck with it, I just don’t get to push myself as hard as I’m use to. I’ve really enjoyed the atmosphere. Tonight I watched a few of our ladies do the first WOD. One of them did 97…I was pretty impressed!

  19. So have you stopped running all together? My running is currently on the upswing and I’m training for my first half marathon. I don’t really run to keep in shape (although that’s a plus!) but lifting is also a HUGE part of my life. I’ve been wanting to start CrossFit but I’m not sure if it’s smart to do Crossfit and be training for distance… what do you think?

  20. Good luck with the WOD. I can’t wait to do it this weekend. I’m nervous about the WOD’s in general but I know they’ll be fun. My strategy for the burpees is going to be to pace myself and just keep moving. My favorite thing about Crossfit is the community aspect, it truly is a second family. I’ll keep an eye out for you on the leader boards!

  21. I was wondering in regards to diet how you transitioned and cleaned it up. I’ve been eating sugar/baked goods like crazy. I’ve read all your tip pages and stuff and I guess my main question is did you stop cold turkey or did you transition? I don’t want to give up baked goods completely but I can’t say i’m only going to have 1 dessert at night because then I start eating more. I’ve made a bad late night habit of eating baked goods and it has led me to gain about 5 lbs this past month. I want to lose it and am planning on working out 4 times a week and trying to not eat tons late at night. I was actually thinking of giving up baked goods at lent except for special occasions like a potluck.

    1. I guess it was a transition? I still eat baked goods, sugar, etc., but just less of it. Eating a lot of “real” foods really helps with my cravings.

  22. My justification for paying so much for crossfit is that I equate it to personal training. I feel like in every class that I get the same workout and same level of instruction as I would in a 1 on 1 session. With that knowledge, the price doesn’t seem so bad.

  23. A guy at my gym brings crossfit WOD to the gym (he doesn’t pay for a crossfit gym itself). He did 70+ burpees today! He was jumping so high it was crazy haha (he kept touching the top of the door).

    How’d you do!?

  24. Haha. Good luck on the Burpees (they are NOT my friend). I tried my first WOD last weekend, and it was tough. But fun at the same time. I am definitely considering dumping the gym membership for Crossfit when I am done in 5 weeks with Body for Life. Great Q & A!

  25. I love how you wrote about the sense of crossfit community. I love my gym & have never felt the camaraderie I feel at crossfit508 at any other gym. I don’t think I could do some of the things I have done with out the coaches and other people around cheering me on. Even last night (before burpee hell) we had to find our one rep max on overhead squats. I was stuck at 95#, and had dropped 105# twice. But everyone around me was cheering for and my coach was right by my side. He knew I could do it, and I did. I was so happy.

  26. That cleared so many things up for me. I always wondered why people would go all the way to a CrossFit gym and only work out for a few minutes and then leave!! I linked to the map and it turns out, there’s a CrossFit gym 3 blocks from my house, so I’m going to try it one day. Thanks!

  27. Okay so now I totally understand why you go to Crossfit so much! You’re not obsessed…you’re trying to get your money’s worth!!! 🙂

  28. Hope your burpees went well. They were showing a little of the CrossFit games on ESPN 2 the other night (maybe a replay… not sure if they are going on or not) and my husband has expressed interest! YAY! So we’re going to go together for our intro in a few weeks!

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