But I do not want to lose strength:
I want to address something which I hear on a frequent basis and it is even more relevant to me as I am guilty of this thinking myself, years ago. I hear people say they would do CrossFit but they do not want to lose strength and they hate cardio. The funny part of all of this was years ago this was me to a T.
The first time I was introduced to CrossFit was while I was deployed around 2009. My brother and I were in the gym following our bible, at the time, “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Body Building” and this guy was in the gym writing things on white boards and throwing his body around like an idiot. He would stand there and tell us how we would change our lives by adopting this workout style he was doing. I was intrigued but not sold. So I went to the website and it lacked my favorite aspect of lifting, strength.
This is where I shrugged off CrossFit and kept on with my standard of lifting. Fast forward a few years and I was deployed again and saw the same concepts being performed in Afghanistan. This time I was a bit more open and accepting but still not sold. I would watch the area with all of the CrossFit equipment and wonder if it would be worth it. Again, I found myself torn between the seemingly random programming and the fact that periodization is the one true and tested way to gain strength. I was watching these people do fast paced workouts and not seeing any sort of actual strength being trained. I was still wearing blinders and only thinking, “bigger is better, bigger is healthier, and bigger is stronger.”
I remember, vividly, my first actual experience with CrossFit. One of my friends decided I should try “Fran”, 21-15-9 of Thrusters (a front squat into a press) and pullups. I asked him what a good time in Fran was and it was agreed that sub 3 should be the goal. I vibrantly remember thinking I was going to prove why CrossFit was bogus and straight up lifting with some high intensity cardio (running or elliptical) would be the best prescription for fitness gains. Nine minutes and thirty seconds later I was laying on the ground gasping for air, barely finishing in the 10 minute cap we put on the workout. That second I knew I was wrong, that second I changed my life, and that second turned me into what I used to hate…that guy who talked about CrossFit….all the time.
I learned CrossFit does not just mean doing the high intensity (WOD) portion, but that it can incorporate a significant strength routine too. When I first joined a CrossFit gym, I kept my Gold’s membership thinking I would get extra work in after the hour long class. I quickly found out it wasn’t needed and canceled after a week. Which is a whole other nightmare story we don’t have time for right now. Years later, I find myself coaching CrossFit. At 35, I find myself stronger and more fit than I was in my 20’s and I am 30 lbs lighter. I can randomly run a half marathon (it is still not fun) and destroy all of the 19 to 25 year olds in the Army PT test which I never “train” for.
The greatest part I feel Greg Glassman did for CrossFit, was make it an affiliation and not a franchise. This gives every gym an opportunity to operate as they choose, with little to no interference. This is a double edged sword, as it can lead to some poor experiences for people who may choose the wrong gym for their first immersion. It can also lead to wonderfully independent adaptations to different periodization programs and strength training.
At CrossFit Oshkosh, we will get you strong and we will get you fit. If you find yourself in the same mindset I found myself years ago, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time for you to come in and try out CrossFit. I will pull up our management system and show you data on clients making huge gains in strength and in cardio…yes we have the data to back up every crazy program we throw at you.
If I “had you at hello”, we have another On Ramp starting on Jan 6th. It is hard for me to not get excited about CrossFit, because it completely changed my life, and I have seen it change the lives of others over the last few years. You can sit back and think I am full of it or you can come in and make up your own mind. That is up to you. Don’t make the mistake I did and wait too long to try it. I can only imagine where I would be now if I would have started when I was younger but as they say, “better late than never!”