Friday, July 12, 2013

My First Ever Crossfit Class

Tuesday evening I went to my first ever crossfit class.  I purchased a Groupon for one month of two classes per week at Crossfit Towson for $39 - a pretty good deal for up to eight or nine classes.  And the cheapo price is a good way to get in the door of something intimidating that you might otherwise never try for the higher price. 

I was also a little concerned about trying Crossfit because you hear a lot about crossfit people being kind of obnoxious, and that stigma wasn't helped much when I saw the nutrition section of Crossfit Towson's website.  It actually lists legumes as a "don't" on their food guide and says that "plants protect their seeds and make us hurt when we we eat them."  Um, that's called fiber.  And looking at the entirety of their food list, it looks like these crossfitters aren't getting much fiber at all in their diet.  No wonder they're obnoxious ... they're constipated!  The nutrition section also propagates the myth that soy raises estrogen levels in humans, even though this has been disproven

But I'm not going there for nutrition advice (obviously!), I'm looking for some fitness tips and motivation.  So I decided to look past these red flags and headed off to my first class after work.  It was tight to get home, change, and then get up to Towson by the 6:30 start time, but I made it (even with enough time to sign my waivers before class!). 

Tuesday's workout of the day (WOD) was called Tabata (crossfitters name all their WODs), and consisted of four exercises, done in 8 reps.  Each rep was 20 seconds "on" (doing the exercise) and 10 seconds of rest.  (So the total time would be 16 minutes.)  The exercises were: kettle bell swings, push-ups, toes-to-bar, and sit-ups.  The WOD has a prescribed version set for men and women, and also allows for a scaled version if you can't do prescribed and a competitor version if you're feeling like you can crush prescribed. 

Because it was my first class ever, and didn't know how things would feel, I didn't even use the scaled weight for kettle bell, so instead I used 8 kg rather than 12 kg.  And of course I did all the push-ups on my knees. 
Don't get me started on toes-to-bar.  The modification was to do knees to elbows, but I couldn't even manage that.  Basically, I swung around like crazy and only counted as reps the ones where it looked like I kind of almost had it. 
Our final "scores" were determined as our lowest number of reps out of the eight rounds.  The idea was to get you to pace yourself so that you don't knock out 20 pushups in 20 seconds in the first round, but then be too tired to even do 2 by the last round.  My score (with my many modifications) was 11 kettlebell swings (I'm thinking I could have gone up to the scaled weight on this - I did 12 or 11 in every round), 5 pushups, 2 (fake) knees-to-elbows, and 6 situps.  I didn't need any modifications on the situps, but I was deifnitely feeling pretty tired by the end and was having trouble going quickly through them. 
I really liked the instructor and other people in the class.  It was definintely an encouraging environment, and even though there were lots of new people in the class, the veteran crossfitters never seemed irritated that we didn't know what was up and people kept yelling encouragement like "you'll get it!" and "keep going!". 
I felt pretty good after the workout, but not like I was dying at all.  I stood around talking to some other people in the class for a bit (all of whom also did the Groupon so they were new to the class).  Having such a positive experience definitely made me excited to go back to class again soon. 
Even though I didn't feel too sore, I knew I'd probably be feeling muscles I didn't even know I had the next day, so I made sure to make myself a chocolate banana protein shake when I came home to refuel and prevent cramping.  Plus, it's just a delicious way to end the day ... like dessert for dinner!

Given that it's taken me so long to post, I can tell you that I did indeed go back to crossfit again yesterday ... and had a very different experience.  Stay tuned! 

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