January 09, 2012

CrossFit is the hot new workout right now, and like many other health and fitness enthusiasts, I wanted to see what it was all about. So, about a month ago I took my first CrossFit class—I loved it almost immediately. The culture and workout method really spoke to me, and I signed up for a membership that very same night.

What initially drew me to CrossFit was how exciting I found the workout. It was never the same thing twice and many of the exercises (Burpees, Mountain Climbers, and rope climbs) reminded me of those I did in junior high gym class. The high intensity, multidimensional workouts constantly challenge and push me so much harder than I normally would myself.

A typical CrossFit WOD (Workout of the Day) might include a short cardiovascular bout, such as a 50-yard dash or box jumps mixed with strength training exercises, like squats, pull-ups, and deadlifts. The exercises are completed one after the other and usually incorporate many of the large muscles in your body, which keeps your heart rate soaring for the entire workout and results in a serious calorie burn during and after the session.


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CrossFit coach, Jason Brown of CrossFit 781 in Weymouth, Massachusetts, explains: "Because the majority of the movements used are multi-joint, athletes experience an elevated metabolic rate for roughly 24-48 hours post training which leads to significant fat loss." Ultimately, your lean muscle mass is increased, so you burn more calories all day long—even while you're sleeping! In just four weeks, I've already seen changes in the shape of my body.

In addition to changing the way that I work out, CrossFit has also inspired me to change the way that I eat. Since I'm devoting so much time and effort (and money) to CrossFit, I'm paying more attention to what I put into my body. As you know, a huge part of successful weight loss is diet, so when I learned that a large number of the CrossFit community is devoted to The Paleo Diet, I used aspects of it to clean up my diet. I'm eating lots of fruits and veggies as well as more lean protein and healthy fats. I'm also cutting out the processed, refined "bad" carbohydrates, but I still plan to consume whole grains, beans, and dairy.

Since starting CrossFit I feel better about myself. I have more energy. I'm doing things that I never thought were possible. My food choices are more focused on selecting the best energy sources to fuel my workouts and recovery. And CrossFit has helped me to develop a new mindset toward maintaining my weight. Instead of counting calories and tracking workouts, I'm working toward improving my strength and endurance during workouts and eating to nourish and fuel my body. At the end of the day, CrossFit inspires me to be better than I was the day before.

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