The state of Georgia has a bad rep when it comes to health and fitness, primarily due to the high obesity rate that is ubiquitous in the South. It’s really not a surprise that waistlines are on the larger side in these parts. After all, our famed cuisine is based entirely on lard and a deep-fryer. But what I observe daily around Atlanta is a somewhat different story. I see runners constantly, whether I’m in Piedmont Park or just cruising around in-town neighborhoods, many have opted to bicycle around the city instead of drive, “boot camp” fitness programs are in high demand, and these things called “CrossFit gyms” are popping up everywhere. All in all, Atlantans are a pretty active bunch.
My own fitness level has dropped off a bit since I stopped dancing several years ago. I never had to think about working out when I was a teen and college student, as ballet, tap and jazz classes kept me seemingly effortlessly in shape. In the last couple of years, however, I’ve had to come to grips with a change in lifestyle that has resulted in a, how shall I put this, “softer form” than I’m accustomed to. Between work (hello, cubicle!), a slightly slower metabolism (what’s up, mid-twenties?), and a busy schedule (I can squeeze in happy hour!), getting to the gym has fallen to the wayside. That’s where CrossFit comes in.
You won’t find rows of cardio machines in a CrossFit gym. You also won’t find a maze of intimidating weight machines. What you will find are some weights, medicine balls, pull up bars, kettle bells, rowing machines, and a couple other pieces of equipment that I’m not familiar with yet. The basic idea of a CrossFit workout is to be extremely efficient; most workouts can be completed in less than half an hour, and cardiovascular and weight training are combined. The classes are small, so the trainer to “athlete” ratio is low to ensure one on one instruction. This is exactly what I need: a short (and intense) workout with someone coaching me through it and encouraging me. I also have the benefit of knowing several people who have seen great results through CrossFit, so that’s another motivator.
This morning I attended a 3 hour foundations course at Fitness Batallion CrossFit gym in Midtown. I mastered a lot of the basic moves, such as variations of squats and weight lifting maneuvers, so I’ll be prepared for regular CrossFit sessions. Between the different technique portions of the class, we completed three different “work out of the day” circuits to give us a taste of what we’ll experience during a regular session. When the coach gave the instructions, it sounded pretty easy… just do 5 rounds of 5 “thrusters” and 10 “burpees” (Google it). Okay, no problem. But the catch is that you’re doing it for time, so you move as fast as you can and learn after the first round that burpees will wear your butt out! I survived it, though, and felt pretty darn amazing afterward.
With just the introductory course under my belt, I have a feeling that I will really enjoy CrossFit workouts. I’m so excited to dive in (signing up for my first session on Monday – woot!), and see some results! I’ll be sure to let you know if this enthusiasm wans or continues.
**Exciting Crossfit Update**
So, I totally wimped out on Monday’s class, as 100 burpee pull-ups seemed utterly impossible after the 48 hour sore set in from Saturday. I went to the 7 am class today, Tuesday, instead: 150 wall balls, which involves a full squat and hurling a weighted ball really high onto a wall. It’s been about 9 hours since I completed the exercise, and let’s just say that I cannot fathom returning tomorrow. I’m aiming for Thursday morning. I’m sure my boyfriend will appreciate taking a night off from seeing me tonight, because the stench of the Icy Hot I’m going to lather onto my muscles will be intense.