This Baby Boomer Not Converting to Crossfit

 

So, Martina walks into Crossfit as a fit pilates teacher and shares her horror, surprise and ultimate intrigue in her latest blog post. I am aghast!  How can my barrechat.com partner and the coolest person I know turn to religion?  Honestly, I am not the first to note that extreme fitness is the new religion.

“Ms. Huberlie described the CrossFit experience as an intimate, supportive one, in which cheering for one another to meet fitness goals was expected. It is a culture that can produce effects more often associated with church.

“There is something raw and vulnerable that happens to you when you go into the CrossFit gym,” Ms. Huberlie said. “A workout can bring you to your knees, so to speak.”   NYTIMES;2015 When Some Turn to Church, Others Go to Crossfit.

“At CrossFit—a worldwide workout phenomenon with 4 million users—the members exhibit a close-knit community of people trying to better themselves and those around them through physical fitness. Members have organized fundraisers and other drives to aid friends and other CrossFitters who are going through sickness and other extraordinary circumstances.”    Harvard Divinity School   Crossfit As Church

Fellow baby boomers; remember when you had to go to religious services?  Dressed in uncomfortable clothes, hours of Latin or Hebrew (never understanding a single word), forced to swallow a dry wafer, or enter a dark room to confess sins to a stranger when you were just 7 years old?

DAH!  I realize  I can  never be a Crossfit person, or a mudder.  I would never join Crossfit where the “BOX” is the church that demands a cultish following to complete the “WOD.”

Where fire breathers are the new saints. Where “paniacs” endure grueling workouts, and compare their suffering as “nothing compared to Jesus Christ”.

There is another reason.  I practice pilates and won’t convert to crossfit where exercise quality is confused with the amount of pain it produces ala “no pain, no gain.”

My practice informs that pain is a symptom of more than a hard workout; it often results from an injury.  Knowledge of anatomy and body mechanics, and respect for a typical injured boomer body leads me to avoid painful workouts and choose smart workouts. I am not looking to recreate an era of blissful ignorance.  It’s why I prefer an IPhone 7 over a rotary dial phone, high speed internet over AOL dial up service, and pilates over Crossfit.

Yesterday in advanced pilates we did an entire series of standing leg splits on the reformer.  My thighs started to burn and I felt the discomfort of lactic acid moving out of my muscles.  When we moved on to kneeling arm work the discomfort ceased.

My reaction to Crossfit type workouts is not as extreme as Nappercize, the newest fitness craze.

It’s a class that is based on a little stretching followed by a long nap in a group setting.  No kettleballs or heavy ropes required… just sleep masks. Is nappercize the new religious experience for over scheduled sleep-deprived people?  Are you listening Martina?   At least it can’t hurt you!

What happens when a Pilates instructor walks into a Crossfit?

 

I’m not going to lie- I’ve been hating on Crossfit for quite some time. Here’s the thing…I had never actually been inside a “box” or completed a WOD with AMRAP. Translation: Crossfit calls their gym a “box”, a “WOD” is the workout of the day, and “AMRAP” stands for as many reps as possible.

So it all began when Kevin (my husband)  joined Crossfit RedZone a few months back. He loves it and talks about how great it is. I was annoyed by his love for Crossfit, but after months of seeing Kevin clock 500-700 calories during every workout (yes, we share our workouts with each other via our apple watches, and yes, I know we are annoying), I finally decided to join him. I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss is about. I mean, you can’t exactly judge something unless you’ve tried it, right?

Let me set the scene- it’s a rainy morning and we pull into the parking lot and up to a loading dock. Yes, the “box” is basically in a warehouse and you walk through a loading dock to get there. Once we go in, Kevin introduces me to the owners, Kurt and Kris; brothers and Newtown natives. Oh, and did I mention they are both gingers? They use the hashtag “#gingertrained”. What’s there not to love?

The workout:  So I tell Kurt that I’m slightly apprehensive about losing my crossfit virginity, he assures me that I’m in good hands. We started with some rowing, followed by a warm up strength training portion. Then we did some bench presses, “hollows” (similar to the teaser in Pilates), and pull ups. After three rounds, we moved onto the WOD. Once Kurt started playing ACDC, I knew I was about to get my ass whooped. The WOD consisted of jumping pull ups, box jumps, and kettlebell swings AMRAP for 12 minutes. I have to say that Kurt was paying close attention to form, went over every exercise prior to starting, and gave me modifications as needed. The crossfit veterans in class were encouraging during the workout and showed me the ropes as we went along.

I definitely applied all five of the Pilates principles during the Crossfit workout; breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular stabilization, and cervical placement. I’ll avoid getting technical here, but I will say there is a strong overlap between Crossfit and Pilates. Many of the exercises in the Stott Pilates repertoire focus on strengthening the core, maintaining the natural curvature of the spine, and improving balance. I can see where Pilates would definitely help Crossfitters over the long run.

Overall, my experience at Crossfit was a positive one. I learned that not all Crossfits are created equal, so I can really only talk about my experience at RedZone in Newtown, CT. Kurt, Kris, and Jacqui (Kris’ wife) were incredibly nice and welcoming. These guys definitely know what they are doing and I’ll probably give it another go….just as soon as my body recovers.