5 Realizations from 7 months of CrossFit


 “I started CrossFit last September.  I’ve learned a few things along the way.”

1. It’s not what I thought it was. I thought it would be bad for my knees and hard on my shoulders. I’m more mobile and flexible now. I thought there would be big sweaty brainless jocks grunting through the gym. CrossFit is for normal people. 
2. It’s good for my brain. Every single workout is different and I love the variety. My coach has patiently broken down all the movements and scaled back to my ability and strength level. There’s alot of terminology to learn and I’m doing work I never thought I’d be capable of a year ago. 
3. It’s good to feel vulnerable because through effort and persistence there is growth. I had to shed my “I’ve been active all my life and I know alot about working out” attitude and get busy learning something totally new. It made me realize that I might need to get better at other things in my life I thought I was good at. I realized I like learning and growing and becoming better at something. 
4. It’s hard- really hard. But so very rewarding. 
5. I’ve only scratched the surface of what I’m capable of doing. I have a long way to go but I’m excited to get to work. 
The point of all this is that my gym, KCI CrossFit, is offering free classes to moms all this week in honor of Mother’s Day. Please join me for a class this week and check it out for yourself!

The Voice In Your Head


 

By definition, the ego is comparative.  It compares us to other people or circumstances around us.  It causes us to define ourselves based on what is going on with other people, objects and places.     Which, left unchecked, can be a very bad thing.  If you are solely defined by outside forces (people, places, objects) the results can be catastrophic.  The good news in this whole debacle is that you can have control over your ego!  You can!  It starts with recognizing the situations and thoughts that are egocentric and making an effort to change. 

Easier said than done?  Let’s start by highlighting a few ego statements to recognize where your ego takes over in the gym.  Then we can make progress!

 

“I used to be able to ____, so I should be able to _____ today”

Fill in the blanks.  Coming back from an injury?  Remembering how fit you were in high school?  Looking at pictures before you had kids?   You are comparing yourself today to a version of you that doesn’t exist anymore – and never will exist again.  That is our human condition.  Nothing stays the same forever, including our bodies and health.  It’s a hard reality to grasp, but we all need to come to terms with this truth.  Comparing our performance in the gym today to how we were 10 years ago needs to stop.  You cannot change yesterday, only today.  Do your best today; give 100% effort.  And then do it again tomorrow.

“I’m too out of shape to ______”

As a fitness professional, this is one of the most saddening excuses to hear.  Yes, you might be too out of shape to do a muscle up or handstand push-up but you are not too out of shape to START.  Whatever “shape” you are in, you must begin somewhere if you need to change.  I know paralyzed men that work hard every day to just lift their hands.  They are not too out of shape to try.  And neither are you.  You just need to start somewhere, period.  What your ego is telling yourself is, “I’m not good enough.”  If you have ever told yourself this statement and haven’t done anything about it, please get in touch with us.  We want to help.

“I should be setting PR’s every day”

No.  The answer is no.  This ego trip will get you hurt.   If you throw a temper tantrum when you miss a PR attempt or cuss out your shoes when you don’t hit your one mile time, you need to check this ego at the door.  Strength and conditioning, technique, and body awareness take time.   Pushing the limits can be a great thing, but it’s not the only thing.  During your training your body goes through ups and downs, peaks and valleys.  That’s why our programming includes recovery time and cycles.  Every day will not be your best, and you need to be ok with that.  Again, give 100% today.  Many of the strongest athletes even reset their “PR” every year to remain grounded. 

“I’ve been going to the globo/planet/world/open24/7 gym for years and I’m in great shape.  I’m frustrated and angry that I can’t _______”

This is a very common and sneaky ego trip.  It’s like saying, “I’m a great basketball player.  I’m frustrated I’m not a good football player.”  Obvious, right?  Not always.  Guys are especially prone to this one.  They’ve been programmed that bicep curls and tricep extensions are markers of “good” fitness.  But get into a CrossFit box and you will quickly find out that fitness is defined VERY differently for CrossFitters.  Yes you need strong biceps and pectoral majors, but there’s a lot more to being fit than just strong muscles.  Leave this attitude at the door and you will find yourself growing, learning, and progressing faster than you can imagine.

“I’m not going to do CrossFit until I get in shape”

What??  I don’t understand this.  CrossFit is a highway to drive to achieve and maintain fitness – not a destination to end up at.  You’ve been misinformed by media or other people that you must be super sexy to start CrossFit.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  This thought process is a symptom of “I’m not good enough” ego that you need to let go of. 

“I’m injured so I can’t do anything”

Yes, if you are injured you shouldn’t be doing much.  But there is almost always something you can do.  Similar to the “I’m not going to CrossFit until I get in shape” ego.  There is always something you can be doing, and if your CrossFit coach is worth two cents, they can help you discover things you can do.  (And always consult your doctor, obviously)

“I’m not as strong/fast/lean/sexy as __(other person)___”

One of the most common ego trips we have.  In and out of the gym, our culture is immersed in this egotistic mind-warp.  Novels can be written about this topic, but to keep it short;  Stop doing this.  Especially in the gym.  The beautiful part about CrossFit is that with consistent training, this part of your ego will lessen and become more mature.  Talk to the oldest person in your box, gain some perspective.  In CrossFit, you are only competing with yourself; so make each day better than the one before. 

“I’m not losing/gaining fast enough”

At some point in time you decided for yourself how long it would take to change your weight/size/shape.  But how did you come up with the timetable?  Did you consult a professional? Or multiple professionals?  What about your nutrition? Your sleep? Your hydration?  I’m just putting it out there, but there is a good chance your timetable is either 1) inaccurate or 2) completely unrealistic.  Just because you have a wedding in 2 months, doesn’t make it a realistic goal to lose 30 pounds to fit into a dress.  Please, take a realistic look at your goals and talk to people who know what they’re talking about.  You should ask at least 2 other people help you set your goals. 

“CrossFit is a cult.”

Get over yourself.  If that seems harsh, sorry I’m not sorry.  There’s also a good chance you suffer from one (or more) of the ego statements we’ve listed already.  I’ll admit CrossFit training isn’t for everyone.  But it is designed so that anyone can CrossFit.  Get it?  Communities are built with like minded people – whether that’s a book club, church, business, music group, or CrossFit box.  Our lives our richer and fuller because of the communities we are involved in, and CrossFit is a great way to get active in a community.  The statement that CrossFit is a cult is ignorant and immature. 

“I’m injured.” “CrossFit injured me.”

The final result of our ego taking control. These statements come after one or more of these ego statements run rampant in your training.  If you train too hard, with poor form, with inappropriate workouts, you can injure yourself.  But don’t blame “CrossFit.”  You have control over your training.  You need to take responsibility for your actions and workouts.  Ask more questions before you get injured.  Scale the intensity back.  Use lighter weight.  Spend more time on technique.  Be more patient with the process.  And yes, there is a chance of injury.  There always will be.  The only surefire way to not risk an injury is to sit on the couch and eat cheese balls.  Just don’t roll an ankle walking to the fridge. 

Stay humble, and check your ego at the front door.

CrossFit for Weight Loss


CrossFit is a wonderful thing:  functional movement, constantly varied and performed at high intensity.  The concept is appealing to so many different types of people, and your box and daily WOD’s are a testament to it!  

So how exactly does the CrossFit model apply to so many different people and so many different goals, when at face value everyone in the box is doing the exact same workout? How can someone be losing weight while the person sweating right next to them is trying to gain weight?  The short answer, if you don’t want to continue reading: CrossFit can help you become the shape/size you were meant to be, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all model.  There’s much more than meets the eye.  

You don’t have to troll the internet very long to read success stories about people losing a lot of weight by including CrossFit in their lives: HERE  The truth is, you CAN lose weight with CrossFit, and also gain strength, muscle, and look like you were designed to look!  There are a few things you need to remember if you are ready to try CrossFit to shed the weight. And, I’ll give you the key right away.  To quote Kelly Starrett, “Be patient with the process.  The process works all the time.  You just have to let it work.”

1 –  Nutrition is key.  The guy gaining weight and muscle?  He eats to gain.  (Ladies, you will NOT look big and bulky unless you EAT big and bulky).  If you want to lose weight you need to first understand what you are currently eating and it’s effects on you.  Then you need to let the math sink in that to lose pounds you need to burn more calories than you intake on a regular basis, over time.  All that is next is figuring out what foods are better than others for your dietary needs.  Every person is different and needs different ratios of proteins, carbs, and fats.  The key is to find out what you need and stick to it.  You may want to consult a nutritionist, or someone more versed in nutrition than you are.  Starting to track your intake and output will help you stay on track – and there are dozens of apps to help you do that easily.  You will not lose weight and keep it offlong term without dedicated focus to your nutrition.  Period.  Trust the process, and give it time to work.  

2 – Burning Calories.  CrossFit is notorious for burning calories – studies have shown up to 18 calories per minute in men.  If your main goal is to lose weight, let your coach know that.  Every workout can be modified to your ability level, and to potentially create the most calorie burn, in the safest way.  Also, be ready to put in some extra work.  No one said it’s an easy microwave recipe.  You may need to spend time before or after class doing extra work.  It boils down to how committed you are.  Taking 3 CrossFit classes per week might not be the key to weight loss.  You came in with a specific goal, and just because you thought you knew how to achieve the goal, doesn’t mean that is going to be the way to do it.  Trust the process, and trust your coaches.  

3 – Gaining muscle.  You will get stronger and gain muscle.  That is a fantastic thing!  Again, your nutrition will affect your muscle mass.  Muscles are sexy – in proper proportion.  With greater strength comes the ability to perform better – and that is also sexy.  Becoming stronger and increasing physical capacity makes you more competent and breeds confidence!  The great thing with CrossFit is that the workouts are designed around full body movements and functional fitness, meaning you will get stronger muscles in the areas that you need them.  Muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t freak out if during your weight loss journey you actually gain a couple pounds.  It’s part of the process, and should be expected.  The great news is that as you gain muscle, you will look leaner and have a healthier metabolism – meaning you will burn more calories throughout your day.  It’s a beautiful cycle.  

4 – Community Support.  A good CrossFit box has a solid community and working out with these people has many benefits for you.  Consistency and accountability are essential with every weight loss plan, and CrossFit gives you both.  Also, during group exercise people tend to work harder than they would on their own, encouraging each other to keep going and never quit.  Many people have ditched their personal trainer for CrossFit because it is more cost effective and because of the irreplaceable value of a community.  So, it’s time to reconsider just doing workouts in your garage or living room and join a box!   

5 – It takes time.  I’m sure you didn’t gain the weight overnight.  And it surely won’t come off overnight.  Sustained weight loss will take many months, if not a year or more, depending on where you are.  Give yourself some grace and trust the process.  You may not lose a two pounds a week for a year.  But, even if you lose 50 pounds in a year, that’s a huge accomplishment!  Let me emphasize the importance of nutrition again, as Greg Zuffelato, says, “The people that just do CrossFit and don’t have a nutrition plan do not lose weight.”  When they get serious with the CrossFit program their appetite goes into overdrive and without a proper plan they don’t see any sustained weight loss. They will see a small change in their body fat, but like any other exercise program, if proper nutrition is not part of the plan the results will be disappointing.”  

Still not convinced CrossFit is for you, or a good way to help you lose weight?  The only person you have to prove wrong is yourself.  And if you don’t try, then rest assured nothing will happen.   Or, have you already tried losing weight (with or without CrossFit) and haven’t seen results?  Here’s a good article to help you ask yourself some hard questions:  17 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

The worst thing you can do is stay stagnant and not try.  Get our there and do it.  And be patient with the process. 

Want to know what KCI CrossFit is doing to help athletes lose weight?  

Just Ask!  kcicrossfitters@gmail.com

Why are CrossFit gyms more expensive than traditional gyms?


Now that 2015 is in full swing, New Year’s resolutions are either fading or going strong.  Regardless, everyone is hopping for that better version of themselves in 2015.  In January, gym memberships spike!  Enrollment specials, three free months, personal training sessions, and other incentives are abundant in January.  

CrossFit is a little different.  You don’t find many enrollment specials or months of free memberships.  To add to that, membership are more expensive than most gyms.  This is a deterrent to many.  They aren’t sure what value they are going to get out of a CrossFit membership where they are paying two to three times what they pay at a traditional gym.

We get asked why we are more expensive than traditional gyms all the time!  This is a totally valid question if you are considering CrossFit.  The value you receive has to meet (or hopefully exceed) what you are paying each month.  

In this post, I want to answer this question for a lot of people that ask.  We hope that this sways you to give CrossFit a try, but we know it’s not for everyone.  I just want to make sure you know what is provided so you can make the best decision for yourself possible!

In general, all large commercial gyms operate on a pre-enrollment monthly membership model.  This means that a member signs a contract, for usually no less than a year.  Sometimes there are enrollment fees at sign-up, and other times they will waive these fees for long-term contracts as an inducement for you to enter into a long-term contract.  The idea to a rational consumer is that they are making a commitment, and, because they are paying each month, they want to get their money’s worth.  For the gym, this creates reliable revenue, regardless of whether the gym is actually used or not, or whether the member actually gets results!  They want you to get enough results to keep coming and come back, but not so much that you tear up the equipment. 

The funny thing is that fitness is like education:  for many, they will pay for it, but don’t really want to do it.  Remember back in college where you paid thousand a semester, but still skipped class?  You will pay for education, but you don’t always want education.  The same goes for fitness.  You can be a member, but never do anything and still FEEL like you did.  Our minds are crazy!

As many as  67% of people never show up at the gym! 

CrossFit affiliates, boot camps, cycling studios, and yoga studios actually rely on members to show up to pay their bills.  And, in addition, these businesses have a coach there to guide you through programming and make sure you are doing things properly so you don’t injure yourself.  These gyms must charge more because they provide more services, a specialized atmosphere, and can hold less people.  The space, instructors, and equipment or only part of the equation.  In the end, they must provide an experience that warrants the price tag.  

It should also be noted briefly that CrossFit gyms pay an affiliate licensing fee of around $3,000 per year currently.  This goes toward the initial and ongoing training of coaches.  And the training is damn good.

Now that we’ve talked a little about the business model and pricing structures, it is important to talk about what you are paying for.  There are five main things that you pay for when you go to a gym:  facilities, training services, programming, atmosphere, and community.

1.  Facilities and Equipment

Most traditional gyms are a sea of treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers, and strength training machines.  Small areas are reserved for free weights, and more and more gyms are getting rid of barbells (because people who have no idea what they are doing are hurting themselves and insurance rates are going way up!).  They goal is to fill the gym with equipment that people can use without instruction.  Most of the equipment have placards that show you step by step how to work the machine.  There may also be additional amenities such as showers, a pool, and childcare which results in higher membership fees, plus additional fees that you might incur.

In a CrossFit affiliate, you will walk in and find no treadmills or ellipticals.  It will look significantly different than any gym you’ve ever experienced before.  It is stripped down to the bare necessities for strength and conditioning programs, then we build from there.  In other words, the focus is on the training and the results instead of the amenities.  The actual workouts are emphasized above all else.  There is a program that members follow.  The programming is designed to provide maximum results in the least amount of time.  Coaches make sure that the program is structured so to reduce the likelihood of overtraining any area, and especially to avoid injury.  You will find bumper plates, rubber flooring, and balls that you can throw around.  We encourage throwing weight (toward the ground, and not each other of course)!

2.  Training Services

What you get with a traditional membership is access to the facility.  If you want training, group training, or specific programming, you will end up paying extra.  By the time you pay for training, your membership would far exceed a CrossFit membership and would make your membership seem like chump change! 

In addition to personal training or group training, there are classes that may be additional such as spin or aerobics.  These classes may be great for you, and you may fit a couple in during a week to boost your regimen.  But, there is a huge difference between exercising and training.

At CrossFit gyms, we train.  Training services — in regards to programming and technique instruction— are included in the cost of the membership. 

It is important to find a good coach that you connect with.  Coaches vary in their methodology or strategies.  Some coaches, albeit very few, push hard and fast with a lot of intensity and yelling.  In our opinion, good coaches focus first on the fundamentals such as technique before requiring too much of you.  If you are new, you want to find a coach that will help take you from where you are to where you want to be.

As a fairly new CrossFitter, I can tell you that this is okay.  There are days where I lifted a PVC pipe and felt like a total weenie, but by the end of the hour, I couldn’t lift said PVC pipe!  I got a great workout with about 6 ounces of weight!

3.  Programming

If you are the type of person who is motivated to create a training program, push yourself, and monitor your results, then more power to you!  I am definitely not that person.  Even when I’m at a traditional gym,  I find myself moving at an easy pace and could end up checking Facebook mindlessly for 5 minutes!  In 5 minutes of a CrossFit workout, I achieve more than I do in 30 minutes to an hour on my own!

One of the major reasons so many people don’t show up at gyms in the first place is because they don’t know what to do when they get to the gym.  With CrossFit, it is likely that you won’t know all the movements, but there will be somebody there to walk you through every step.  There is no need to feel embarrassed or intimidated.  That’s what coaches do — they love to teach and train.  At the end of the day, their joy is arrived from seeing you learn something and get results.

A typical workout will include a warm-up, followed by a strength training or technique portion with instruction and supervision, and then there is a WOD.  

One of the facets of CrossFit that makes it so powerful is the structure.  We find that the framework
and methodology, combined with the fact that athletes never know what’s coming next which causes them to push themselves past what they would normally do, makes them WANT to show up!

4.  Atmosphere

When olympic lifting gyms were gaining steam in the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s, they were a stripped down version of what you see now.  There were racks and a lot of weights.  You could hear the clanging and dropping of weights and there were no treadmills or ellipticals.  If you wanted to run, you went outside.  

Modern gyms are designed to feel more like an upscale bar or a club than a gym.  They are designed to feel inviting, and not intimidating.  And, you know what, this is awesome for most people.  If this gets people off the couch, away from the TV, and moving, then this is awesome!  

CrossFit gyms have a much stronger resemblance to the original olympic lifting gyms than modern gyms.  You will find bars, racks, and bumper plates.  You’ll swing kettle bells, climb ropes, jump on boxes, and throw balls.  In fact, you’ll do a bunch of stuff that is frowned upon at traditional gyms or get you some sort of nasty label.  

CrossFit gyms are a communitarian experience, meaning that athletes work together and interact which each other throughout the class, which provides motivation, support, and leads to the formation of relationships.  This brings us to the idea of community.

5.  Community

Community is the largest separating factor between a traditional gym and a CrossFit gym.  It’s an intangible benefit that, at least in my opinion, is worth way more than your membership.

At a traditional gym, 95% of people work out in isolation.  When I am at a traditional gym, I am one of these people.  I rarely go with a partner, and my headphones are glued on my head.  I can get away without taking to one single person when I walk in.  I can scan a card, walk in, sit down, workout and leave.  

I trained this way for so long.  I did strength training, but nobody was there pushing me.  I paid for a personal trainer once, but I found it boring.  I did group training a couple of times, but I didn’t feel like the trainer really cared all that much.  The group was all over the place doing different things.  We weren’t participating in the same activities.  I’ve tried spin classes and yoga classes.  These are great, but you’re not usually making friends.  Most people walk in at the last minute, do their thing, pick up their mat, and leave!

There is very little community at a traditional gym, even in class formats.  I might see people in a gym that I know, but that isn’t ground for building a community.  Going to the same gym and training together are two completely separate concepts.

Since starting CrossFit, I have seen first hand how the concept of training together creates community.  When you are generally doing the same thing, you are there to motivate and cheer each other on to finish.  It doesn’t matter if you got your PR, which is somebody else’s warm up weight.  They cheer you on like you won a gold at the olympics.  When you are the last person on the rower, there are 9 people standing around you huffing and puffing cheering you on the best they can so you’ll finish.  They will stay after the class is over if you aren’t done to cheer you on.  It’s a great experience.

You also start seeing the same people at your classes since you will likely go at specific times that fit with your schedule.  You start developing friendships with people in those classes.  You come early and stay late to chat.

The community aspect of CrossFit gets people excited to go to the gym to see each other and work out.  It pushes each other to do better.  You want to be healthier.  You want to keep up with the group so you can train as hard as you can with your friends, so you start eating better.  You share in hard workouts, and the fact that you finished it together draws you closer together.  

People post about what they did at CrossFit that day because they shared in something with their friends that they want YOU to be a part of.  Most of the time, it’s not about them.  It’s about wanting others to experience the thrill that is CrossFit.

Conclusion

So, I have a question for you:  Are CrossFits really that expensive?  CrossFit affiliates definitely aren’t cheap, but are they worth it?  Would CrossFit give you more value than the $125+ membership cost.  

Sure, you can get a gym membership for $20 per month, but will you get the same benefits from it as you will from being a part of a community that gives 100% to train together?  I can tell you, in my own experience, that my results through CrossFit far exceed my results I get on my own.  And the benefits I receive far exceed the cost of membership.  

Test Flight and Flight School

If you want to try out CrossFit for yourself, we make it super easy.  We offer a Test Flight class every Saturday at 9:15 am.  Simply email Christine Prohaska, owner and head trainer, to RSVP.  Each Saturday, we have a team WOD that is a fun way for you to try it out.  You don’t need to know any movements, technique, or really anything about CrossFit.  Just come as you are.  We’re there to help you through every step of the way!

If you are interested in giving CrossFit a go, or you are getting back into CrossFit, we have a program called Flight School every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 5:15 pm.  At Flight School, you will receive individual or small group training (depending on the number of attendees) that walks you through movements, technique, and terminology for six sessions over two weeks.  You will also have an opportunity to get to know the coaches and the members.  The cost of Flight School is only $39 (a $150 value).

Email us at kcicrossfitters@gmail.com to get started today!