First of all, I would love to look like one of the women above and do not. I did when I was in my 20s and am working on getting back in shape. It will be a journey toward a healthy destination and that’s ok. I had a lot of preconceived notions about Crossfit for “my age” and want to bust that bubble for all of you.
EXCUSE #1 I can’t do it: Yes, you can. It is a common misconception that a person will be asked to slam huge monster truck tires, run for miles, and bench 250. There are people who do that and more. My coach Nate “scales” down each WOD* for me specifically. So my pushups are not traditional, on the box or headstand yet. Mine are tummy on the floor and up. For running, I either row or jog. For pull ups, I do ring rows. Think gymnastic rings. I grab them, lean back and try and pull myself up where the rings touch my chest. For some squats with weights, I use a small kettle bell and do squats.
EXCUSE #2 There is no way I can lift weights: Yes, you can. This was my biggest fear and this is the one thing I love the most about Crossfit. Again, even though you are encouraged over time to go AHAP*, you are also supposed to obtaining proper form and using no weight at all until you do. After you get the form right on each lift, you might just lift the bar. The lightest bar is 15 lbs. Then you can add 2/1/2 lb. or 5 lb. weights. There is no pressure to do a lot or risk injury.
EXCUSE #3 I’m incontinent: What women who has had a child or has gained weight over time isn’t? I had to just wear pads and deal with it. In a month, it has almost stopped because I’m getting stronger. If this continues, see your gynecologist. There are medicines for this and you may need surgery to tack your bladder back up. Yes, that’s a thing. I know my uterus has fallen some and that also puts pressure on your bladder. But you can’t let that keep you from exercising. I just go to the bathroom and deal with it, even during the workout.
EXCUSE #4 I don’t want to be bulky: Some women are predisposed to gaining more muscle, looking bulkier if they lift weights. If that is the case, discuss your desire with your coach to reduce the risk of this. You can lift lighter weights for toning and strength. Research foods to eat that are good for staying lean and lithe. I told Nate the first night, I do not want to look manly, period. If you buy protein, don’t buy “weight gaining” full of sugar/carbs protein men like. Ask a good nutritionist what to eat, purchase and stick to whole, unprocessed foods.
EXCUSE #5 I can’t afford it: This was the hardest thing for me. For three days a week at my gym, I am paying $155 a month. This is how I justify it and found a way to afford it. Stop eating out, full stop. I work at a hospital and three days a week, minimum, I was spending at least $15 a day on Starbucks, breakfast, lunches…that is $180. The other two days, I spend about $12 a day on lunch. Total for a month = $276. I asked my husband to stop eating out and now he’s joined Crossfit twice a week. We are still saving money by eating breakfast at home and packing lunch every day. And we eat healthier.
For breakfast, I eat two eggs most days, pack almonds or an orange/apple for snack. Each night, as I cook dinner, I make enough for us to take the next day. Today I brought salmon, hummus and a bit of cheese.
EXCUSE #6 It’s too expensive: It is a hard thing to get over the fact that this is a very expensive “gym” fee. However, if you paid a personal trainer, it would be 2-3 times more per month. Why would you need a personal trainer as opposed to Crossfit? Because most average people are not going to go into any gym and do half of a WOD of their own accord. I know I would never push myself to do what I’m doing, not even a quarter of what I’m doing. So I am getting my money’s worth. The community of Crossfit is real. The majority of people are very, very supportive and frankly, that makes me try so much harder.
EXCUSE #7 I don’t want to compete: Neither do I and no one is going to make you if you don’t have interest in that. Set your goals with your coach and work toward them. I want to breathe easier, not use my inhaler, lose weight, gain stamina and knock out my chronic migraines. If a Crossfit gym is pushing you to compete when you don’t want to, or refuses to give you some time to scale down WOD’s, you are in the wrong box*.
EXCUSE #8 I’m out of shape and really embarrassed: So am I and believe me, I totally get how you feel. The first night I went, I almost hyperventilated in the car beforehand. I texted my husband and daughter with a lot of whiney excuses. But I made myself try it.
In one month, I can walk from my parking deck to the hospital (1 mile) without using my inhaler, I ran for the first time in 30 years last night and did not need my inhaler, my headaches are dissipating, I have more energy, my skin is glowing and I’m a lot happier. Also, in one month, my incontinence is going away because I am getting stronger. I can get my squat to the ground, I can lift up to 50 lbs. when I started with the plastic bar and I’m sweating. Really sweating. So I know weight loss will come.
WOD – Workout of the Day, AHAP- As heavy as possible, Box-Crossfit gym
Never let fear keep you from what you want. If I can do it, you can do it. Love, Kathryn (the “Haute Angel”)