I haven’t had a workout really kick my butt and leave me wanting to go home and soak in epsom salt for a very long time. Last month, I got to experience a very intense (to me) 30 minute workout at River North Crossfit here in Chicago. And let me tell you, it was SO awesome! I’ve done Crossfit “type” workouts where the same concepts of functional movement, intervals and basic strength and conditioning are involved. But I’d never been to an actual Crossfit gym (or “box” as they call it) to complete a workout led by Crossfit instructors. I was so eager to learn and sweat, but I had no idea it would kick my butt the way it did.
We started off with a warm up of dynamic stretching led by Crossfit instructor, Alex. We lined up and went across the gym doing butt kicks, high kicks, walking lunges, high knees, backward jogging, etc. Once we warmed up, co-owner Katie Werchek took us through the basic movements and instruction on the three moves we would be completing during the workout: squats, push-ups and pull-ups.
For the push ups, we were told to make sure our wrists were right underneath our shoulders, but that our hands should be turned out slightly. This will activate our triceps. We should also keep our hips up and bring our “nips” to touch the ground when we come down. This was tough!
Next we got instruction on squats. Katie explained that we should stick our hips out, keep our chests up, keep weight in our heels and line up our knees in the direction of our toes. Because your knees are a hinge joint that only go in one direction (front to back) squats should reflect that movement when going up and down. Knees should only go in one direction. This was tough too! I have a tendency to buckle my knees inward sometimes if I’m not careful.
And then on to the pull-ups, which I was DEATHLY afraid of attempting because I cannot do a pull up to save my life. My upper body is very weak, but I’m working on it! Luckily, there were these HUGE rubber bands that we could attach to the bar to help us pull up and down if we weren’t able to do our own bodyweight. The most important thing with the pull-up was to be sure to come all the way down and straighten your elbows. That puts less pressure on the biceps and helps all of your arm muscles get the full range of motion.
After we got our initial instruction, we were asked to pick a partner and then we got our workout:
At first, I thought… “30 minutes? Oh, that’s not so bad. And we can switch with the rowing whenever we want? Oh ok. This’ll be easy!” NOT! We had a 10 second countdown and then it was time to get to work. Check me out in action!
Do you see my face of complete terror!? Ha! Those pull-ups were hard after doing them for about 3 rounds. My arms were begging for mercy. At the end of the 30 minutes, not only were we all sweaty and exhausted, but we felt like complete badasses! My partner and I didn’t match up to the other couples as far as calorie burn, but we tried. Check out our score:
All in all, I had a great time and would love to do crossfit more often. I can’t afford a membership at a CrossFit box right now, but as soon as the opportunity presents itself, I will definitely take advantage. I learned a lot about myself and how I seem to do well in a group environment, especially when it’s competitive. I’m SO competitive. And even more so with myself. Was I sore as hell for the next 3 days afterwards? Hell yea! Would I do that workout again in a heartbeat? Hell yea! Crossfit kicked my butt and I loved it!
Do you do CrossFit? How do you like it!? What’s been the biggest challenge so far?