Back in October of 2011, I was introduced to Crossfit. I was basically voluntold. That means I was informed that all the trainers in my gym were all going to a Crossfit training workshop and that we were installing a “box” at our fitness facility. First of all, I had heard a little bit about Crossfit…just enough for me to assume that it was some kind of Christian workout program (Cross, Christ, get it?). Anyway, before going to the certification weekend, I tried to do some of the workouts that were posted on the main Crossfit website just to get acclimated. Now granted by that time in my fitness career I had done just about every kind of workout under the sun and I was (and still am) a certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, blah blah blah. So here’s how my first workout went….bad, very, very bad. I actually ended pulling a muscle in my lower back by attempting to do power cleans with no coaching whatsoever. Had to teach a kettlebell and pilates class after that stunt and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
Onto my certification weekend. It was fun. I had never experienced anything like Crossfit before and it was a breath of fresh air and so challenging (something I really needed at that time especially). Two full days. Christmas Abbott was actually one of the master trainers and yes, she had the full and undivided attention of every guy in that workshop. Heck, even us ladies were like “If I was a guy, I’d feel that way too!” She really is a beautiful girl. Day 2 we did the famous Girl WOD, Fran. Holy sh*tballs, I was breathing fire and coughing like a maniac after that trial by fire. But guess what! All that coughing means you did it right. You gave it your all. Something about the exchange of carbon dioxide down your throat at such a fast rate literally burns your esophagus, larynx, etc. So there was that. Got certified. So let’s coach Crossfit, right?
I went back to my gym and started doing and coaching Crossfit. Just loved it. I gave myself the goal of making the Regionals in 2014 as a Master’s athlete. (By the way, that happened…yay me!). I enjoyed the challenge of the workouts and new movements. I had never done Olympic lifting or really any of the gymnastics moves. I thought figuring out kipping pullups would be the death of me….but hey, I got them and still do to this day. I’ve also got pistol squats, handstand pushups and all those other intimidating movements that I was determined to master. It was fun. But I got injured and I pretty badly at that.
You hear a lot of people talk about how they got hurt doing Crossfit, but let me explain how this happens. We all have biomechanical imbalances just doing life. We sleep on the same side every night. We drive in the same position for hours at a time some of us. We carry our little ones on a certain side. We’re right handed or left-handed and use a computer mouse constantly. This all creates imbalances in our body. So when you step into a Crossfit box with a big ego or a coach who doesn’t know how to evaluate your mechanical imbalances, you are going to end up eventually getting injured. Note to Crossfit box owners and coaches, learn how to assess your members for these imbalances and fix them before they get hurt out of ignorance. Muscular imbalances are not the only reason people get hurt doing Crossfit, but it is a big reason. An ounce of prevention if worth a pound of cure.
As for my injury, I herniated a disk in my neck so badly that my right arm atrophied to half the size of my left. (Grace pretty much did me in….That’s 30 Clean and Jerks as fast as possible at 95 lbs). I was in so much pain I ended up in the emergency room at 2 o’clock in the morning crying (FYI, I’ve birthed 3 boys. I can handle pain). The pain medication they injected in my arse barely relieved the pain, as did (or didn’t) the Oxycodone, Flexeril and Neurontin they prescribed later. It was really, really bad. The only way I could drive was by sticking my arm up over my head and through the sun roof to take pressure off of my neck and arm. I was out of commission for several months. What got me better? Acupuncture, inversion and chiropractic adjustments. Not physical therapy and definitely not drugs, but good old fashioned osteopathic medicine.
Well, I got better and got back to Crossfitting. Glutton for punishment I guess. As I alluded to earlier, I made the 2014 Master’s Crossfit Regionals. I was 188th in the world of women in my age bracket. I made my goal! However, that’s as far as I went. I had to do some soul searching. I’m a single mom to three boys. I don’t have a lot of free time or extra income to throw at training for Crossfit competition. At that time Crossfit was getting a lot more demanding with the weights going up and other physical expectations. I knew that I was going to also have to get a lot stronger and YES, I’M GOING TO SAY IT, I was going to get A LOT BIGGER. I know you hear this total bullshit line that you won’t get big doing Crossfit, but YES, YOU WILL. Hell, I got bigger without even trying, to the point that all of my sports bras were cutting me in half. That’s just one example. There are others. Anyway, I knew I could compete, but I also knew I was going to end a lot bulkier and less feminine in my appearance and that is something I just did not want. Unless you are a teeny tiny framed women to begin with and don’t have a lot of muscle to work with as it is, Crossfit is going to frustrate you when it comes to keeping your feminine curves. It’s just the truth. Strong is the new sexy, whatever. Just Google pics of Crossfit Games women. Enough said.
So where am I today with Crossfit? I still enjoy doing wods here and there, but I mix it up with a lot of other exercise formats and disciplines that I’ve learned through the years. I find that they all have something significant to offer and do change your physique. From kettlebell training to Pilates to HIIT to Power Cycle to Yoga, it all gives you something your body and physique need. Variety is the spice of life and the key to weight loss/fat loss is to keep your body guessing and therefore, changing. With Crossfit you do workout hard, but you are CONSTANTLY taxing your central nervous system, so much so that your body actually ends up in a constant state of adrenal stress and therefore high cortisol. Remember, I did this for 3-4 years. I know what I’m talking about. High Cortisol equals low HGH and not losing that fat which was the whole goal to begin with! I know no one wants to hear this, but it’s true. You will very possibly end up bulky, tired and aching constantly. If you’re going to keep doing Crossfit, then at least mix it up with other disciplines like Yoga and meditation and other active recovery. But if you don’t want to listen to me, go ahead and keep killing yourself with 5 days a week Crossfit workouts and keep wondering why you aren’t see changes. The truth will set you free, but first it might piss you off. (Sorry, but I really am trying to help)
Nonetheless, if you’d really like to get somewhere with your body and your fitness, let me help you get there! In addition to training and teaching classes locally (if you live in the area, come try my E*N*E*R*G*Y classes), three years ago I created my very own online fitness program, ti-fit.online, for those who need their info on the go and on their phone. It contains helpful articles, Daily Workouts as well as an all inclusive 6 week program for those who need focused guidance. I also offer online coaching through Skype and Facetime. Please be sure to contact me via my website if you would like to set a coaching session up or if you would like more information about me and my services.
Wishing you health and wellness in your fitness adventure!
Melissa “Titanium” Shore