What will happen when you start with CrossFit?

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So… I officially finished my first month of CrossFit and honestly, there is so much to say about it, so I decided to create a separate blog entry for that purpose. I just want to recap on those 30 days I have been through, not counting the basic sessions which would add up to actually 1 month a 1 week of CrossFit.

You may ask yourself if you should really do it… if you should give it a try. Don’t do that… don’t ask yourself… just DO IT. If you feel always tired and out of shape… if you are not happy with your body and if you lack motivation and you are out of breath as soon as you climb up some stairs… DO IT! Because you won’t regret it… but let me give you a few reasons why I’m sure about that.

The 5 things that will happen if you decide to CrossFit…

1. You will learn how bad your fitness level really is
It’s one thing knowing that you are out of shape and that your fitness level is basically non-existing, but reality is that it’s actually much worse than you ever imagined. In your first 2 weeks you’ll find yourself sweating like a pig, like never before, and constantly in need of a break to catch your breath. The only thing you’ll be having in mind is the hope that it’s over every second. Minutes will feel like hours, seconds like minutes. You most likely end up on the floor when the workout is finished, just trying to breath and getting yourself together. But I promise you… after those 2 weeks, if you really push through, your lounges will open up and you’ll be breathing like never before. But if you think that breathing is the only problem you may face, you’ll quickly learn that you are wrong. In those first 2 weeks you’ll be experienced soreness in your whole body that makes you wanna quit, that makes you thinking that you can’t do it. But let me tell you… you can DO IT. I’ve made the mistake once to check out the WOD before I arrived at the gym. I hit the Crosszone 3 times a week and we started of the week with an intense Squat WOD… my legs got so sore the next day that climbing up stairs and even walking downstairs was painful. Checking out Wednesday’s WOD, I realized that again my legs were targeted… and on Friday, again. So I was really close of skipping Wednesday’s workout to give my legs some resting time. That feeling of skipping can be quite hard, but you know what, I thought about how would all guys and girls think of me if they knew that I just skip because of sore legs. What a cry baby that guy is… so I packed my bag on that morning! Something really surprising happened that day… During the WOD I felt my legs, and of course I couldn’t really do all the reps requested. But to my surprise, the soreness didn’t become worse… it got actually much better and by the next day, my legs were not sore anymore. So if you plan skipping a workout because of sore muscles, don’t do it because

2. You will find out how fat you really are
You are used to buy your shirts in size XL in order to not dragging too much attention to your body, as it would be in case you’d be wearing a fitted shirt. Effectively what you/we do is very normal because we want to feel well and don’t wanna be always reminded about how fat we really are. The truth is that by wearing big clothing we already tell the people that we are fat, but of course you are right when you say that it looks better. It does, but it doesn’t change the fact that people know that we are fat. You’ll see guys and girls that are skinny, well trained and they train like they have been doing it for their whole life. They weigh maybe half of you, but are 100-150% stronger than you. Especially the certified instructors are very well in shape and they do the exercises in a way and speed that creates real frustration in your inner self. But never compare yourself to any of the instructors or even people that joined the class like you did. Everyone is trying everything possible to perform, just on different level. You are doing it for you, not for anyone else… just focus on your own progress and I promise you that you’ll experience a development in strength and endurance very quickly.

3) You will learn to understand what’s written on the board in front of you
It can be quite confusing when you start with CrossFit and the board in front of you talks about WOD, metcon, emom, cleans, thrusters, etc. A big help for me in that aspect was to always check out the workouts prior to the class. As mentioned before, it could be a danger as you may think about skipping the workout if you feel sore and you know that you’ll be again focusing exactly on that muscle group. A big help is a Crossfit Channel that I follow… they don’t have all the different exercises, but the basics are all in there so you can get a felling about what to expect. Here is the LINK to that channel.

4) You will want to through your scale out of the window
Why’s that? Well, a big part of people that start to workout are having weight issues. I’m not saying that only overweight people workout, because the other ones that always did never had a weight and body issue. At least on of my motivation was definitely to loose weight and to shape my body… apart from a health point of view. The first rule when doing CrossFit is not focusing too much on the scale. I promise you that you will be totally frustrated after the first month if you just focus on how much weight you actually lost. Most likely, you may be gaining weight in the beginning. Why is that? Well, fat usually weighs less than muscles… as you start building muscles and storing water as muscles mainly consist of water, even when loosing fat you may be gaining on the scale. That’s completely normal and actually how it should be. You may should think about getting on of those scales that can measure body fat, muscle mass, etc. in order to get a feeling for your personal progress (i.e. this one from Tanita). Those scales may never be a 100% exact, but you want to see the direction in which you are heading… i.e. I just lost in the 1 month about 2.5kg (also because I applied a strict diet regimen), which would somehow frustrate me if I would just focus on the weight loss. 3 times a week I’m hitting the crosszone, working out like crazy, sweating like a pig, always feeling totally exhausted after the WOD… and all of that for 2kg weight loss. Jeeeeeeeez, I just wanna cry!!! BUT… and here is the BIG BUT… my scale indicates that I lost about 4% body fat and gained about 3kg in muscle mass. And now we just calculate… loosing 2.5kg on the scale, gaining 3kg on muscle mass and loosing 4% body fat… that would at least add up to a minimum weight loss of about 5.5kg… adding the lost body fat, well you can imagine now where we are ending up. Of course you can’t count it literally that way, but that’s the amazing result after a month. The best thing is that you are increasing your muscle mass which is responsible to burn much more calories. So to sum that up… 1) you increase your muscle mass which burns more calories and gives your body a complete different shape; 2) you are burning fat which is not only healthy, but also supports the changes in your body shape; 3) you’ll be having much more energy throughout the day, you are not that easily out of breath anymore and you are mentally stronger; 4) you can start throwing away your oversized clothing and finally start buying what you really like. Still unconvinced… I guess not!!!

5) You will learn how to eat healthy without feeling hungry
In the past, we all have thrown any kind of treat into our faces when we had the feeling that we need it… Muffins, fatty Burgers, Pizzas, Pastas, etc. And to be honest, we all had enough of that for the rest of our lives. We all have to accept that the right way to a healthy lifestyle and body, is mainly through dieting. It’s always around 80% nutrition and 20% training… In my case, starting with CrossFit changed a lot in my diet as I didn’t wanna ruin everything I did in my WOD. All the sweat that goes into the training, the exhaustion you experience, the soreness that you get… for what?? We do that for ourselves… we do that because we had enough… we do that because we don’t wanna look into the mirror and see what we see… we do that because we feel often tired, without energy… we do that because we would love wearing different style, but we can’t as we do not have the body for it… we do that because we want to change our lifestyle, who we are… CrossFit gave e that mental strength to really avoid any kind of food that would ruin my progress. I started with a low carb diet, so I had loads of meat, fish, tofu, lupine, etc combined with vegetables and salads. But I quickly learned that I have to adjust that diet by adding a bit more carbs as CrossFit requires a lot of power and we only get that power from carbs. So any kind of whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoe is good for you… but avoid simple carbs like white rice, pasta, etc and especially sugary carbs by all means. I will dive into the topic carbs via a different blog entry as it is a bit more complex than the above. Try to avoid alcohol, chocolate, etc… as much as possible. You can of course always throw in a cheat day every once in a while, but you will quickly learn that you won’t have a craving for all those unhealthy treats anymore. I try to reduce those cheat days to moments when I hang with friends or being invited for dinner. I have then of course sometimes a glas of wine or a beer… but hey, nobody is perfect and if you stay focused and dedicated, you will enjoy those things when you have them and then focus again on your healthy diet. At least that works for me…

So yeah… those are just 5 things that will happen when you start with CrossFit but I urge you that you don’t take my word for granted. Experience it yourself… push through the first 30 days and I assure you that you won’t regret the sweat, pain and hard work you invested.

Stay focused…

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