If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m kind of a Crossfit junkie. I mean…I love it. But it’s not just the workouts that I enjoy, because I’ve tried doing some Crossfit workouts at home by myself, and I rarely (a) finish or (b) have the motivation to get the same intensity or stimulus that I would at a box. So really, what does it for me at Crossfit is the exercise, supplemented by the community (people + coaches).
When I first began at Albany Crossfit, it was toward the end of autumn (end of October/beginning of November), and I knew I would be visiting my family for a full month over the holidays. At this point, my track record with sticking with any sort of exercise or nutrition plan was bleak. Literally, I’d say, Okay, diet starts tomorrow! Then I’d do my Latin dance workout for two days in a row, see I wasn’t losing weight, and then go back to eating tacos and watching TV. (I wish that was a lie, but you don’t get to almost 300 pounds by gorging yourself on kale.)
So, in anticipation of my “normal” self creeping back into the picture, I decided that I’d find a Crossfit near my family, pony up the dinero for a one-month membership, and just go a few times a week over the holidays so I wouldn’t completely lose my momentum, or quit Crossfit all together.
And I did.
And I hated almost every moment of it.
You know how I said that it’s the combo of the exercise and the community that really does it for me? Yeah. Crossfit Near My Family really frickin’ sucked in the community department. The people weren’t very friendly, and the head coach was a damn tool. When I asked for a movement demo, he looked at me, and said, completely unironically, “I thought you said you’d done Crossfit before.” What. An. Ass. I mean, props to me, because I did finish out that month going to Crossfit Near My Family consistently. Consistently, but with the intention of NEVER returning. (A side note: Later on, I was checking out their website, when I found videos that Head Coach had posted of him doing Turkish getups with a curled-up lady instead of a kettlebell. What a smelly hipster tool! And I LOVE hipsters!)
In any case, after that, I pretty much gave up on the idea of Crossfitting while at home. Whenever I visited home, I would pass by Crossfit Near My Family and sneer. Instead, I had to find other ways of staying active. That first summer home was awesome. I did things I never thought I’d even want to do to stay active. I was riding miles on my bike, going for runs, taking the dog on long walks that wore him out! But I quickly found that it just wasn’t enough. I missed Crossfit, and it was much more difficult to lose weight. Not only that, but there was a serious decrease in my strength when I DID get back to Albany and start Crossfitting again.
Yes, when you take a break and come back, you’re sore. You hurt. It’s not pleasant. But when you take a break, you basically take three giant leaps backward. I would leave for Portland using 55# for a metcon. When I’d come back, I’d be like, Aiiiiiieeeeee! 45#! Y u so heavy?!
It didn’t feel good to feel like you’re starting all over and that you’ve lost strength, even if you are consistently doing some other form of exercise/cardio.
After going through that cycle a few times, one of my old friends from Portland told me that she had started going to a Crossfit, and that it was awesome and I should definitely go with her once or twice when I was back in town. And I did. And I felt an instant connection with the people there. At that point, I didn’t commit to a membership, but I did decide that I would go a few times to make sure I liked it, and revisit the following summer. After my first few visits, I understood that Crossfit SW Portland was nothing like Crossfit Near My Family. The coaches were super down-to-earth, and all the members I met were incredibly friendly. And, for once, I didn’t feel immense pressure to beat someone else at a WOD or PR consistently. It was a…nice…feeling.
After that positive experience, I started thinking about sampling other Crossfits, too. I wasn’t quite as put-off by the idea of trying a new box, like I was after my monthlong stint at Crossfit Near My Family.
That March, I visited Crossfit Dublin…and it was awesome!
So here’s the thing—I noticed that Crossfitting while away is not just about staying fit or working in another workout. It’s not like going and exercising at a hotel gym (which I have also done, unfortunately…). And with the exception of Crossfit Near My Family, all of my visiting Crossfit experiences have been EXTREMELY positive. I’m excited to meet new people, make new connections, and expand my Crossfit community (because, you know, there is such a thing as Crossfit outside your home box!).
Being a Crossfitter doesn’t only mean that you take pride in your bruises and that you do heinous crap that other people usually can’t even fathom and that you sadistically enjoy it. No, being a Crossfitter means that you don’t only have membership to your home box, but that you have membership to a worldwide network of other really amazing people and boxes, and that no matter where you are in the world, you can walk into a new box and be treated like family. It’s a pretty awesome and wonderful feeling, and I’m so lucky that one bad experience didn’t turn me off to Crossfit, but instead opened me up to a whole myriad of absolutely fantastic ones.