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Bookworm_Tess

AFRAID of crossfit

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My old gym turned into a box. I'd stopped going there when I got hurt last year but I always thought of going back to it when I felt confident enough.

 

I made a stress fracture on my knee, at the head of my left tibia. A few days later, trying to walk on that knee with Law textbooks in my backpack, I injured my spine, lower back, on the connective tissue. I believe it was due to being a total noob and jumping form couch to free weights to beach rugby in a six month interval.

 

Yesterday I was walking by the gym and saw it was empty! All the machines and weights were gone! But at the very end of it, a few women were practicing snatchs with empty bars. I got in and stroke up a conversation with the only man around, the one who had been resting lol. Turns out they set up a box there when the previous owner moved to another neighboorhood after greener pastures (my own neighboorhood is saturated with conventional gyms).

 

The guy sounded like he really knew what he was doing. He sounded like a good physical educator. He told me in crossfit they'd teach me the foundations of fitness and gymnastics movements and get me properly strong before going to the weightlifting movements.

 

And the thing is I covet gymnastics and love weightlifting.

 

But I'm afraid I'll get hurt again.

 

Crossfit looks so violent! With WODs and pushing and five workouts a week... I'm afraid my body won't be able to cope with that.

 

I still feel pain on my back and knee every once in a while. Everytime I'm PMSing at least.

 

Should I stay home and work on my push-ups and isometrics holds until I feel more confident...

or should I take the leap?

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I did CrossFit as an obese person who couldn't even do a push up. While I eventually went away from it to focus on other methods, I had a pretty decent time and there were plenty of beginners who took their time, scaled everything down and didn't go crazy with the workouts. If you feel the coach is educating you and crafting a safe space to workout in, then do it. Do it now, because eventually you'll get stronger. I wish I had actually started it even earlier than I did, mostly because I think my old conventional gym (Planet Fitness) prevented me from getting more familiar with some of the movements earlier in my fitness quest. I was scared, too, and my fear kept me trying until a nice coworker finally talked me into it. I actually blogged about the experience. It ended up not being my jam (my box owner was SO focused on competition and his own return to competing that he neglected to notice some of the coaches weren't really all-in when they taught us beginners and I got injured twice because of poor supervision and poor guidance), but it is a great challenge and the group atmosphere is fun. 

 

I should also add: I started with three classes a week and worked up to five. Don't go all-in for five classes a week until you feel your body is more familiar with the intensity level. That seemed to help ease me in. 

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Check if they have a trial period so you can see if it's a good fit before taking the plunge.  Especially with old injuries, you're looking for good, attentive instructors who will correct form and encourage scaling the workouts.  You should also try to get a feel for the community and make sure its a good fit and look at some of their WODs to see if it's something you're interested in.

 

And as stated above, don't jump into 5 workouts a week until you're ready for it.  I'm signed up for 3/week, but only go twice most weeks when the WOD interests me and workout on my own the rest of the week.

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Don't go all-in for five classes a week until you feel your body is more familiar with the intensity level.

 

 

It is so easy to commit to a new program at 100-200% what you are capable of handling becuase it is the new shiny in your life.  Take things slow and work up the weights and speed as you can safely handle it.  Speed and weight mean nothing if you get injured and need to rest for a few weeks and re-start at the same level you did months ago.  A little bit of pressure to expand your capability every now and then is good to help you improve.

 

Take some time to figure out what it is you want from your workout program and then tryout the box and see if it is a good community with good instructors for you based on what you want your program to do.

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Talk to the owner/coaches more. They should be told about your injuries, first, and ask how they would modify exercises for you. Ask about their programs. Is it necessary that you go 5x weekly? I don't think I'd recommend that for someone just getting back into activity. You should also be very aware of the limits of your own body, so you know when to modify or scale back (or stop) if something is acting up.

 

Basically, what everybody else already said.

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I was scared, too, and my fear kept me trying until a nice coworker finally talked me into it. I actually blogged about the experience

 

I'm loving this! These are my favorite (edited to put in the ones I identify with)

 

I am scared of this.

There’s no way I could do that.

That looks like it hurts.

I’m going to break all my limbs and never work out again.

Even if I do it, I’ll probably just quit because it’s no fun, or too faddish.

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If you're still unsure, check to see if your gym has some kind of boot camp program.  That's how I got exposed to CrossFit (at the nudging for a coworker).  It was a fixed length (2 months) class held three times a week and only consisted of bodyweight exercises, running, and light kettlebell work, but presented in the same structure of regular CrossFit workouts.  I think it's a great option to build up some initial endurance, get to know the instructors, and observe the general safety and attitude of the gym.

 

Not all gyms offer that, but they should still be scaling down or replacing the workouts for you if you join the main class.

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I went in, guys, for my first class. I lasted for the mobility work and half the warm-up lol. The instructor was keen on having me finish the warm-up, but when I reached minute 75 of working out, he let me go.

 

I rather liked it, so far. The instructors really seem quite good. It is pretty expensive, it's a 400-buck athletic instructing, but, you know, it's a 400-buck athletic instructing :)

 

 

The worst part were the push-ups. I was so proud of my push-up skills, being able to do them for sets of 7 or 8, though from the knee, in which I thought was pretty good form... Turns out I had the arms all wrong and the exercise he wanted me to do was a very different one lol. Plus, who does push-ups on sets of 25? I mean I do 25 alright, 5 x 5, spread along ten minutes...

 

Ouch. My kidney hurts...

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I work at my crossfit gym (I was a member first, and I arrived there completely sedentary and 75lbs overweight) and I know how intimidating it all seems. But really we see very few injuries, and they're almost never in new members, particularly the people who arrive there intimidated or concerned about getting hurt.  The injuries happen when people come in and have something to prove or blow off everything we say about form, safety and recovery in favor of protecting their ego. 

 

Some straightforward advice:

1) Tell your ego to shut up. In your case this may mean ignoring the part of your brain that keeps saying "Everyone thinks I look ridiculous or don't know what I'm doing and I'll always be the worst one in the group." None of this is true - everyone else is either busy busting their own ass and/or knows that that's how you get started. 

2) Ask. Need a coach to teach or review a movement? Ask. Unsure if your form is ok? Ask. Uncomfortable with a movement and want to sub it out? Ask. Don't know how to hold a barbell or adjust the racks? Ask. 

3) Pick a number of days you can reasonably make every week and class times you can make regularly, and really commit to it. 2-3 days per week is plenty. Schedule those classes into your week, put them in your calendar, and prioritize them. Need to miss a class for something important? Immediately decide when you're going to go instead and put that in your calendar. Building the habit and getting confident and comfortable being there is priority #1 for people starting out. 

4) Know why you're there. Are you there to become a competitive crossfitter or because you enjoy it or because you want to be fitter and healthier for the rest of your life? This question is what should be guiding a lot of the choices you make, from how often to train to when to take a day (or week) off to when you should take a movement that bothers you out of your training. 

5) Set goals for yourself. Members who set goals for themselves are more motivated and more enthusiastic about their progress.  

 

 

Edited in response to your post while I was writing mine: 75 minutes? How long are the classes?  Also, bad push up form drives me insane  -  but proper form will get ingrained quickly if you stick with it. 

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4) Know why you're there. Are you there to become a competitive crossfitter or because you enjoy it or because you want to be fitter and healthier for the rest of your life? This question is what should be guiding a lot of the choices you make, from how often to train to when to take a day (or week) off to when you should take a movement that bothers you out of your training. 

 

 

Edited in response to your post while I was writing mine: 75 minutes? How long are the classes?  Also, bad push up form drives me insane  -  but proper form will get ingrained quickly if you stick with it. 

 

The classes are an hour long, like, normal. But the instructor really wanted me to finish that warm up like "I don't care how long you take", but then I guess he needed to be somewhere and went well we'll pick it up from here next class :D

 

Between the showing me the movements, the time I took to be confident with them and the rest I needed between... uhm... not sets, but... tasks? ...it was all very new and the gym was empty and I kinda took my time... I'm sure I'll be able to finish warm-up nest class lol.

 

 

Yes! I like the thing where we need to know why we're there. I do know but never spelled it out. Let me try (opportunity as good as any).

 

I'm there to become stronger. That means I want my body to be able to stand the challenges of daily life with ease and grace (run after the bus with a backpack full of textbooks like a pro), and to enjoy physical activites without being afraid of getting hurt and of not being up to it. And getting old gracefully as well. My grandaddy is 80-something, perfectly lucid, and a great doctor. He worked until a couple years ago, but now he's bed-ridden for problems with spine and knees. And it sucks. I don't want that to happen to me, not before it has to, anyways.

 

And I want/need my mind to be strong. That's why I jumped into this in the first place. Stregth training helps me to deal with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and less obvious problems, a sense of failure cuz I'm not as rich & successful as some of my friends, identity issues due to recent changes in my life... A good ol' push up & squat make all of that easier to deal with.

 

Why through crossfit? Because in my journey I came across many different practices and possibilities and the ones that peaked my interest the most were free weights and gymnastics, and it made me anxious that I needed to choose. But turns out I don't have to choose, do I? :) Plus, I needed/wanted instruction from good professional physical educators. Seems I found just what I was looking for.

 

Ta-dah!  \o/

 

:D

 

(I'm so high right now lol... from endorphines and shit, still clean ;) )

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The classes are an hour long, like, normal. But the instructor really wanted me to finish that warm up like "I don't care how long you take", but then I guess he needed to be somewhere and went well we'll pick it up from here next class :D

 

What was your warmup?

 

And congrats on making the leap!

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What was your warmup?

 

And congrats on making the leap!

 

Thanks! Warm-up were four rounds of

250 meters in the rowing machine (new thing, I'd never done it)

25 ab reps in the abmat

25 push-ups

 

I did 2 rounds of that. Still, left to my own, I would have done the mobility work and called it a workout :)

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Enjoy, just go easy on the overhead stuff, take it very slow. Stay at bar or very low weights until you have really good flexibility for snatches etc. If you rush it you can easily tear a rotator cuff, not fun.

 

The reality is it is easy to get injured badly doing crossfit if you are not sensible or you get too caught up in the harder faster atmosphere and push too hard too fast. Sounds like you found a good box though so hopefully you'll be ok. Just don't let anyone push (or 'encourage') you into performing any movements you don't feel ready for. It's ok to hurt a little and push through it but if you feel pain stop.

 

Final warning: Crossfit is highly addictive and lots of fun :)

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Good work on getting back in the Box!

I just got back to mine last week, and while it was rough struggling through the WOD, I'm pretty happy with my performance this time around.  I'd like to echo what pretty much everyone is saying, and mention that you ought to only attend as many classes as you feel comfortable.  Normally I only go to one a week or so until my legs catch up to the barrage of day-in, day-out leg workouts, and then I step it up to two WODS a week.  Maybe a few months from now I'll consider 3 or 4 and picking up an Unlimited Pass, but until then I'm happy with the results I see only a couple of times a week.

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I'm trying to keep to what the instructors are prescribing, but then again I think I have to be more straightfoward with them. As in "I'm not gonna do dat shit cuz dat shit HURTS!" lol. Got a little uncomfortable there yesterday in my old injuries spots.

 

I love your photo, Rurick. You a rude boy?

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I think you just need to be open and honest with yourself and your coaches about your past injuries.  There are a few people at mine that have extant shoulder injuries (for example) who often substitute other movements or exercises that are more shoulder friendly.

 

I love your photo, Rurick. You a rude boy?

 

Nah, but I have been known to rock the style from time to time.

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^Seriously, don't play around with old injuries. You should make sure your coaches are informed of them and reminded, if need be. You can always scale/modify! My husband had surgery on a shoulder a few years ago and has never quite regained strength in it. He has to take it VERY carefully in workouts and often ends up doing air squats instead of burpees to avoid extra strain.

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The instructors made me go back to the ortopedist and have another MRI done so they're sure about what I got or don't got on my spine to work on that. As for the knee, I had a long talk with the instructor that teaches my class and it really seems to be a matter of mobility and strengthening work. I'll be sure to rest well and do some extra strecthing and isomtrics on my own before class starts so I can be more confident and safe :)

 

I'm loving the first week, gotta tell you! Got to do six sets of five chin ups the other day, assisted, but still, my firts attempt on the movement! It was so fun!

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The instructors made me go back to the ortopedist and have another MRI done so they're sure about what I got or don't got on my spine to work on that. As for the knee, I had a long talk with the instructor that teaches my class and it really seems to be a matter of mobility and strengthening work. I'll be sure to rest well and do some extra strecthing and isomtrics on my own before class starts so I can be more confident and safe :)

 

I'm loving the first week, gotta tell you! Got to do six sets of five chin ups the other day, assisted, but still, my firts attempt on the movement! It was so fun!

 

Good work!  It's great to see that your coaches are showing your situation the individual attention your injuries require, and taking your concerns seriously.  It sounds like you've found one of the good Boxes that give Crossfit a GOOD name, rather than the frightening ones we all here horror stories of.

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Good work!  It's great to see that your coaches are showing your situation the individual attention your injuries require, and taking your concerns seriously.  It sounds like you've found one of the good Boxes that give Crossfit a GOOD name, rather than the frightening ones we all here horror stories of.

 

I'm not on the US, Rurik, I'm in Brazil. The fad of crossfit* has not hit here the way it hit there. Just so you have an idea, a full class in my box has half a dozen people in it :)

 

I'm sure it'll grow. The people who came up with the idea of the new box have a pretty good business plan about it. Though it was born from the ashes of a strength-friendly gym, my old gym, where when I first walked in I found two women deadlifting and knew I had found my place, it is moving to a rich adress, as soon as it's ready, next and associated to a rich people's gym, one with all the machines and air-conditioning (our current place is so hot, bear in mind we're in parallel 2 and avarages here are 32°C/ 89°F). That's where the people who can afford a box and are susceptible to American fads are. I know because they're my client pool too. I'm an overpriced English teacher :)

 

* Fad: when I call crossfit a fad, I'm sure you understand what I mean. I don't mean it is a fad, but, since it's so new and seems to work so magically, it's been going around and hitting some people as though it were. Let's face it, there's a big part of it that is faddist. It's going to take a couple of decades for it to mature. And that shouldn't be a bad thing.

 

But, yeah, no faddism here. Only the best PhysEd professionals on the crossfit case where I live.

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I can relate, Tess.  I'm not in the US either, though the small rural cities of Canada aren't so far away from the cultural center of the world as to avoid the impact of fad-ism.  The population here is only 40,000 but we have two Crossfit affiliates and several gyms who offer Crossfit-like classes and courses.  The two primary coaches at my affiliate are both 2014 Crossfit Regionals qualifiers so they certainly have their bonafides, and the regulars I've struggled through workouts with are certainly as passionate about each other as they are about Crossfit itself.

 

At any rate, I'm glad you've found somewhere you're comfortable exercising.  Ultimately that's all that really matters, Crossfit or not.

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Disclaimer: I'm not a Crossfitter.  But I wanted to share this article from a friend of mine from high school.

 

http://heyeleanor.com/blog/2015/1/2/i-started-my-own-crossfit-gym

 

In short - every "box" is different and you should check out the culture and environment.  For that matter, check out several and see what appeals to you.  Just because one is a "bro box" doesn't mean they all are - and as others in this thread have observed as well.

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there are not "several" boxes to be chosen from here :)

 

I think there's another one some eight kilometers from here, though it could be the same one I go today in a new address...

and I heard news from one across town, two buses from here.

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"Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get into CrossFit? It’s surprising, because you really don’t strike me as a douchebag."

^ exactly my reaction to my current instructor frist time I met him. :D

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I can't say I've met any "Crossfit douchebags" yet, but my experience is limited to only my box and the people I've met in the 12:00 and 16:30 classes.  My coach basically lives at the box he's there so much, and he's a 2014 Regional competitor, but he's definitely not the stereotypical CF d-bag.

 

Maybe such seemingly elusive creatures will present themselves as I get to know more people here.

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