It all started with just one video of CrossFit games, the 2018 finale, after watching Mat Fraser crushing the games, I became a huge fan of the man first and then the CrossFit games. These extremely fit athletes make those workouts look like a child’s play when you are watching it for the first time. An average fit person, like myself, would think “Ah I think that’s doable”, only to realize later “I am so wrong”. My binge-watching began and I watched the 2015 to 2019 CrossFit games in less than one week. This was Mat Fraser’s primetime in the games. I was in awe and hence continued to follow the games in 2020. Mat had easily crushed 2020 games as well. All this while never had I thought that I will be joining a box (a place where people do CrossFit, kind of a gym just that it is called a box). Covid-19 did delay my plans but once businesses re-opened and we all learned how to handle the situation better, at the beginning of 2021 I joined the box. A quick google search found me in a box close to where I live, “I know right, the universe wanted this for me”. My first thought, “let me join today and the very next day I’ll start with the power snatch”. If a cross-fit trainer overheard my desires, then his response would have been “Ha Ha you are funny “.
CrossFit is a completely different genre of workouts and I will explain it another day. For now, let us know that it is a combination of gymnastics, strength training, and aerobics. You know that guy in the gym who deadlifts and shows off his strength, well CrossFit is something doing 10 rounds of deadlifts, then running for 500 meters, then doing 10 pull-ups – does not stop here, keep doing as many of these rounds as you can, they call it WOD (work out of the day) and AMRAP (as many reps as possible) – yeah you heard it right.
These workouts help increase your fitness, strength, stamina, and endurance, they are also a byproduct of any workout, it may be quickly achieved with CrossFit. Nevertheless, I will talk about this as well another time. What I want to focus on is how I was surprised to see other qualitative benefits which come along with it which I have personally experienced. It has been around 2 months since I have been going to the box (3-4 days per week) and here is my take on the top 6 qualitative benefits of CrossFit.
CrossFit sessions are group-driven and not a one on one. So, if you have signed up for a particular day’s class you cannot miss it since there are other members who could not get that day’s spot. It is not ethical to miss the class once committed. Also, the membership fee of a CrossFit Box (gym) is a lot more than a typical gym. So, a class lost is money lost. These factors make you more disciplined in terms of attending a session. Once, you get used to it then it becomes part of your life and then you start missing it if you did not happen to attend one because of whatever reason you have in mind.
Increased will power
Work out of the day (WOD) is a timed activity. There are 3 movements or exercises, and it looks something like: a gymnastic movement, a strength movement, and an anaerobic movement. You must finish the said number of rounds or do as many as possible in letting us say 20 mins. When you are continuously doing these strenuous movements, one starts to focus on attaining completion (I still lag a bit behind, but it is only a matter of time!). This mindset has a positive effect in life, where I found an increased willingness to do day-to-day tasks to a better level than I used to do before. For example- If I had no/ little I will do the night’s dishes the next day, now I would clean it right away.
A mix of all variants of exercises in CrossFit increases one’s endurance and strength. This has a direct implication on your day. One will see high energy to pursue any activity. The mind is sharp all day and helps in one’s productivity.
CrossFit might not be a team sport but for sure it is almost always a group session. The person next to you might be stronger than you or weaker than you, it does not really matter, because every single minute your focus is on finishing your work out and reaching the target set by your trainer. Most importantly, the transition to the next level always humbles you down. If you can lift 20 lbs. today and become an expert on it in two weeks, try lifting 40 lbs. next time,60 lbs. the week after, and so on, this alone will crush your so-called ego. There is no bigger achievement unless you participate in the CrossFit games and keep winning it like Mat Fraser, but on the contrary, to reach such a position one requires to have developed a great sense of humility.
When you start, you barely know anyone at the box but slowly when you start seeing the same faces again & again you establish a connection. CrossFit gyms have this amazing culture of starting with small chitchat before the workout begins. This is a short and sweet ice-breaking session and because we keep doing this every day, we get to know each other very well. This additionally reduces the fear of talking in public and helps everyone develop a sort of mutual respect and understanding. One gets constant support from other comrades when we are struggling with the AMRAP, or applause when we do a muscle-up.
Even if you are not competing in a CrossFit session, somewhere in the corner of your mind, just by following others and looking at other competitive souls, the spirit seeps in. The competition in essence is with yourself, to become stronger each day. And the box helps with inspiration. After a workout, you go home with a sense of achievement.