By: Jared Graybeal
I’ve been working out consistently for almost 12 years now, so I’ve tried and competed in a handful of exercise modalities from bodybuilding, powerlifting, races, and mud runs. I’ve enjoyed them all, and like most things in life, they were seasonal for me.
So in this season, I’m trying Crossfit. Me and a buddy committed to a triathlon about 4 months ago, and we decided to join a Crossfit the last 2 weeks before the tri assuming it would be great last-leg preparation, and it was.
Since we joined, I haven’t been back to the regular gym. I’m loving it! So, I decided to write about it. Now just because I’m writing about why I love Crossfit doesn’t mean I don’t still love, believe in and value the other strength training sports and practices. I just thought this would be fun, and somewhat entertaining.
1. It’s like a near death experience every time.
That might sound pretty scary, and maybe a little sadistic, but think about it… when was the last time you almost died? Almost had a car accident but at the last second swerved out of the way? Or even jumped out of a plane? You always have a new appreciation for life right afterwards that you didn’t have before. That’s what finishing a WOD is like most of the time for me.
2. Appreciate oxygen on a whole new level.
Very rarely throughout the day do I stop and just say, “Thank God for oxygen”. It comes and goes so easily that we take it for granted. But right after a workout, when you finally get a chance to catch your breath and find a nearby fan to lay under, you have a whole new appreciation for something so valuable that we never recognize – oxygen.
3. Water never tasted so good.
It could be water hose water, cold water, warm water… it doesn’t matter. Right when you finish a workout and start chugging some water, it literally has never tasted so good.
4. It’s a primitive experience.
I think we all have this internal desire from time to time, man or woman, to just throw some stuff around every once in a while. Think about the last time you got angry. You probably did something weird with your arms and threw something that you shouldn’t have. Even though you probably felt stupid after because you regressed back to your primitive state of dealing with conflict, you know it still felt good in a way.
5. It’s like playing backyard football when we were kids, except you’re beating yourself up.
This might be a guy thing, but one of the worst parts about growing older (at least for me) is that I never get to just go out to an open field on the weekends and throw a ball around, tackle some people and get tackled. Contact sports are just fun. This is kind of like that – but I’m the one doing all of the proverbial tackling with every round and every rep.
6. Save money on a tanning bed & get some vitamin D at the same time.
I used to spend $10 a month to be able to tan at the gym, and I used it from time to time. But now I work out almost every day outside, and I stay tan while getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D regularly. It’s a win/win.
7. You get to be a part of a tribe.
I think humans are created with a desire to belong. God created us for community. Working out at the gym with a buddy is great but going to the 530PM class with 10 or so people every day and giving a workout 100% alongside those people brings an intangible value to your life. Plus, you get invited to parties, BBQ’s and stuff and get to talk about working out when you’re not at the gym.
8. Calories burned per minute is far greater than the average work-out.
The average person burns about 300 calories in a 30-minute workout. During a WOD and strength program, which is usually about 35 minutes altogether, I will burn about 1,000 calories. That’s almost 3 times the calories burned, not to mention I am building muscle which will increase my metabolism over time.
9. I can work out virtually anywhere.
I carry around two 25 lb dumbbells, one jump rope, one rope, one 30 lb kettlebell and one 20 lb slam ball in my truck wherever I go. All of this can fit into the trunk of a regular car as well. Whenever I travel, I can literally park anywhere, grab my stuff, and make up a sick work out. 3 or 4 people can usually join me, too. It’s awesome.
10. It never gets old.
One thing about bodybuilding or powerlifting that I didn’t love over time was how repetitive it would get, even if you’re creative. But with Crossfit, although you may repeat some of the foundational movements, there’s literally over 100 exercises and potential variations of those exercises so you can never get bored.
11. It prepares you for virtually every other activity.
Although I’ll admit, not all of Crossfit is “functional”. A lot of it is athletic conditioning as well. The stuff you’d do to prepare for football isn’t the same thing you’d do to prepare for carrying a newborn around, so it isn’t necessarily functional. But since there are so many movement variations, it prepares you for almost everything. Whether it’s being more functional, playing a sport, or just lifting heavy weight.
12. You learn humility (or you get hurt).
One of the greatest things I am learning each day is humility, which is hard to acquire and retain in general. Every few days I have the choice to try and prove something to others out of pride and most likely hurt myself, or play it safe, have a great workout, and modify. By choosing the latter some days, I am exercising my humility muscle. And in life, that’s much more important than my power clean.
I’ll close out with this: Like I always say, “there’s no such thing as a bad gym, just bad trainers”. So before you judge any form of exercise, give it a try. But make sure that wherever you go, you have an educated, experienced and attentive coach or trainer to guide you through the work out.
And no matter what or where – just exercise.