Why I Fell in Love with Crossfit

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crossfit I didn’t intend to fall in love with Crossfit.

In fact, I didn’t even know what Crossfit was or exactly what type of workouts I had signed up for when I joined an online fitness group for moms several years ago.

What I did know was that my 1-year-old (who had recently passed the 20-pound mark) wanted to be carried. A lot. I was frustrated that I couldn’t seem to hold him for more than a few minutes at a time, and he was too.

I was at my heaviest weight ever, still carrying around 15 pounds of baby weight on top of being at my heaviest weight ever before I got pregnant.

I knew it was time for a big change.

But with a toddler who STILL wasn’t sleeping great, I knew I wasn’t likely to make it to the gym regularly. I needed something quick that I could do at home with minimal equipment while still keeping me accountable.

I had been following local fitness coach Heather Osby of Hot & Healthy Life for a while and she had a new 12-week challenge starting, so I took the plunge. I was SO unsure that I didn’t even want to commit to 12 weeks. I signed up for month-to-month instead, telling myself I could cancel after 30 days if I wanted to.

What is crossfit?

Crossfit is a high-intensity fitness program incorporating elements from several sports and types of exercise. It’s a lot of functional movements, like squats, lunges, push-ups, and core work.

Workouts include both cardio and strength elements, and most of my program’s workouts are 30 minutes or less. There is some running, but it’s minimal (which I appreciate).

Equipment

When I started, I only had a 15-pound kettlebell, a yoga mat, and a jump rope. I’ve gradually acquired more equipment as I wanted/needed, and my at-home gym now includes three sets of dumbbells, kettlebells in a range of weights, a barbell, a medicine ball, a plyometric box, and a few different types of resistance bands.

I appreciate that you can do the workouts with minimal equipment and find alternatives if there’s something you don’t have yet. In fact, I used my basement stairs for box jumps for the first couple of years. If you do have a gym membership, they’ll likely have everything you need.

Getting started

The first workout was 50 reps of five different bodyweight movements (including burpees and pushups). It took me 25 minutes, after which I laid on the floor of my TV room sweating buckets and gasping for air. My “burpees” more closely resembled a fish flopping around outside of water than an actual fitness move. I was so sore I could barely walk the next day.

But two days later I was back at it again, and again, and so on until my morning workouts became routine. The key for me was having a set schedule and knowing someone was holding me accountable.

I knew I had turned a corner when I packed workout clothes and tennis shoes for a last-minute trip to Texas. I used a full water jug as a “kettlebell” and did a workout in the backyard of the relative’s house where we were staying.

Finding my “why”

Though my Crossfit journey started out as a mission to lose weight, I quickly fell in love with the variety in the workouts and exercises, which kept me from getting bored.

In the beginning, I would look at a prescribed workout and think, “I can’t do that.” But I was determined to show up for each workout and give it my best that day. I wasn’t always able to do workouts very fast or complete all the sets or reps, but I kept trying and gradually began to see progress. My burpees eventually began to look like an intentional exercise move, and as I began to see progress in my speed, strength, and endurance, I found a sense of pride in doing hard things.

In addition to losing weight and having clothes that fit better, Crossfit has helped me to build strength and to have more energy. The kind of strength that lets me carry my TWO boys (all 70 pounds of them) around the house at the same time. Or chase them around and give them piggyback rides. Or carry ALL the groceries in from the car. Or help move a piece of furniture or carry a heavy box without hurting my back.

These are the reasons I keep working out. My boys are getting bigger by the day, and I want to stay strong so I can keep up with them.

My “me” time

Though I used to dread working out when I was running or going to the gym, I now look forward to it. It’s my most important type of self-care, and I notice a huge difference in my mood and my ability to be patient with the people around me when I’m making my workouts a priority. The benefits go far beyond weight loss and staying fit.

Building a Tribe

The other reason I fell in love with Crossfit is the online fitness community I’m a part of. From what I’ve seen from my group and other Crossfit programs, it’s much more about doing your own personal best and supporting each other as a community than competition and body shaming.

I love that my coach is always understanding of things that can get in the way of fitness and nutrition goals and she offers strategies to work through those times. The focus is on progress, not perfection and that mentality has led to a big shift in other areas of my life too.

I’d love to know if you’ve tried Crossfit and if you love it too. Or, do you have another type of exercise you love?

No matter where you’re at in your fitness journey, now may be the perfect time to give something new a try.

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Kimberly is a Northwest Iowa native, a Drake University graduate, and a fan of all things Des Moines. She is a girly girl who grew up and became a boy mom, and is now an expert on all types of construction equipment and big machines. She shares her Des Moines home with hubby Sam (2006) and sons Jack (March 2014) and Henry (December 2016). Kimberly studied magazine journalism in college, spent 10 years working for a newspaper, and recently became a postpartum doula. In her abundant (and almost nonexistent) free time she enjoys writing about mom life, drinking coffee, documenting time with family and friends, starting Shutterfly projects she rarely finishes, doing Crossfit, and daydreaming about future decorating and crafting projects.

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