I don’t think I’ve told you yet, but I enjoy me some Crossfit. It’s a workout that’s hard and sometimes crazy and something I never thought I would do, much less enjoy. But here I am, seven months since my first WOD (Workout of the Day in “Crossfit-speak”) and I’m writing about it. Recently, some friends have been interested in trying it so I have been thinking about how I would describe Crossfit. Here is a run-down (Betsy-style) of what my workouts look like.
Each day, the class starts with a warm-up and stretch and a moderate amount of complaining about how sore we are from the previous WOD or how much we are dreading today’s WOD. Then we spend anywhere between 20-30 minutes working on a skill or strength movement, and then we start our WOD. The Workout of the Day is written by one of the coaches at the gym (locally or from afar) and posted on a giant dry-erase board for all of us to gasp and groan at. On another wall-size dry-erase board are the scores from everyone else who had already done the WOD today and from the past few days. This is where you look if you are competitive and where you divert your eyes if you are not (or have shifty eyes when you try not to look competitive but desperately want to find someone you can beat… all in good fun, of course).
There are a whole bunch of skills that show up in the WODs (i.e. burpees, pull-ups, push-ups, handstand push-ups, cleans, power cleans, hang cleans. hang power cleans – that’s more cleaning than I do at my house! Ha. – squats, lunges, running, rowing, etc.). The list goes on and on. Two super-important things to know are: 1. Everything can be modified so all skill levels can participate; 2. It never gets boring with so much variety. There are a whole bunch of different styles of workouts too. Let’s take a look at what to expect from a few of the styles:
1. The AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) in a given time period: Let’s say we have a seven-minute AMRAP of 7 squats, 7 push-ups, 7 sit-ups. You do those exercises in that order as many times as you can in 7 minutes. My workout goes something like this…
MINUTE 1: Not so bad. Here we go. I can totally do anything for seven minutes.
MINUTE 2: I’m just focusing on what I’m doing. Seven short little minutes. No need to think about how sore my legs feel already. It ain’t no thang.
MINUTE 3: Well, I would stop thinking about my legs but they are so sore. I can’t help it. At least I only have one more minute left. Wait, what?! Did she just say FOUR minutes left?! NO way. That means I’m not even half way done yet! That’s not okay. My legs! My legs! The clock must be broken. That is the slowest three minutes ever. What is going on – oh my leggggggggs!!! I’m going to die. I’m seriously going to fall over and die. These are the last minutes of my life and I’m spending them working out. Seriously, is this the longest minute of the world?! Does that even make sense?!
MINUTE 5: Hey look at that! I just complained through all of Minute Four. That was fast. Focus, Betsy. Focus.
MINUTE 6: One more minute! I sure wish I had focused more instead of complaining to myself. My legs don’t even hurt anymore. Granted, I can’t feel my legs anymore.
MINUTE 7: This is so totally painful. If I didn’t die before, I’m definitely dying now. Hey, look… 3….2…1…. TIME!
2. The EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute): Let’s say we have rowing 150 meters EMOM for ten minutes. At the start of the minute you row. Whenever you get 150 meters, you rest until the top of the next minute. Ten times. My workout goes something like this….
MINUTE 1: Bang. I got this.
MINUTE 2: I’m gong to be honest. This is kind of silly. All this rest does not make for a good workout.
MINUTE 3: Yeah, I just made REALLY good time on that. I should probably do a little extra after this WOD because it’s really not that hard. Oh shoot… I just missed the top of the minute.
MINUTE 4: Okay, focus. That was harder when I started late.
MINUTES 5-7: Focused. Control your breathing. Try to bring heart rate down during rest times.
MINUTE 8: What?! I only have a few seconds to rest?! Oh shoot. Here we go!
MINUTE 9: This is so hard. Why did I think this would be easy?! It’s never easy! Push, pull, push, pull, push, pull. Ahhhhhhhhh…. I need more rest time! I’m going to die. I seriously might die right now.
MINUTE 10: Just finish this last 150 meters and you can rest for the next million minutes if you want to! Heck, you might be dead… you can rest for all eternity! Gooooooooo!
3. The Tabata: You do an exercise… let’s say burpees… for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 8 times. We usually do three Tabatas as a WOD or maybe just one Tabata at the end of the WOD. My Tabatas go something like this……
20 SECONDS #1: Uh oh. I KNOW Tabatas are hard.
20 S #2: Don’t puke.
20 S #3: Don’t puke.
20 S #4: Don’t puke.
20 S #5: I might die.
20 S #6: Don’t puke or die.
20 S #7: Don’t puke or die
20 S #8: I seriously might puke and die.
4. The Chipper: This is a gigantically large number of one or a few exercises and you “chip” away at it. Let’s say it’s 150 wall balls. Here’s how I go about it…
*Okay, 10 sets of 15. I can do this. Go.
*Okay, that was 3 sets. That’s only 45. Why does 15 wall balls seem like so many in a row?!
*Fine. We’ll do five more and that will be 50.
*Now let’s do 10 sets of 10. That will be much more do-able.
*Okay okay okay. That was only 8. Squeeze out 2 more.
*60 done. Good. That’s a lot. No, it can’t be a lot because I have 90 more to go. That’s like 150% of what I just did. Is that right? 60+60+30. Yeah, that’s right. No it’s not. Oh, I don’t even know. What I DO know, is that these wall balls are killing me!
* 75 wall balls done! Bingo. I just did 15 in a row because I was trying to do percentages in my head. Percent times the whole equals the par—– ouch! I just got hit in the face with my wall ball. 14 pounds of vinyl ball to my face! Am I bleeding?! YES?! No, that’s just sweat.
* 80. Focus Betsy. Squat, throw, catch, squat, throw, catch. Focus. Keep going.
* 120 down. That was a good pace there. Keep it up. Only 30 more.
* My arms are Jell-o. My legs are Jell-o. I am Jell-o! Mmmmmm… Jell-o!
* Now I am dead Jell-o. One more wall ball may kill me. I am going to die. Right here, I’m going to pass out and then the ball is going to land on top of me!
* 10 more left. I think my arms just fell off of my body. Maybe that’s dramatic.
* 8 more left. OH.
* 6 more left. HOLY.
* 4 more left. COW.
* 1!!!!!!!! Holler!!!!!
So that’s pretty much how my WODs go. Or at least, that’s definitely how they went when I first started. I am now actually getting to the point where I spend more time focused and less time talking in my head. I like to believe that has something to do with mental toughness. I am realizing that despite all those chatty WODs, I never actually died.
If you are interested in trying Crossfit I highly recommend it. Despite all my whining, complaining, and drama in my WOD descriptions, it’s really a most amazing experience. Having those mental battles with myself not only entertains me through the WOD, it has shown me how much I doubt myself and my strength. I’m proud to say that nine times out of ten I’ve proved myself wrong. I’ve finished (albeit sometimes with a disappointing score) every WOD I started. Now I’m not only gaining physical and mental strength, but also the self-confidence that I can do things I never would have even tried a few months ago.