★ Confessions of a Crossfit newbie

After the Amsterdam marathon in October, I stayed quite active and ran 2/3 times/week regularly. But with winter approaching fast and with snow and ice on the horizon, (safely) running outdoors will soon no longer be an option. In my preparations for the 2011 Stockholm marathon, I joined a gym for 3 months and ran on a treadmill. I wasn’t going to do that this time. This year, I have a different plan.

As with most of the crazy sports ideas in my life the past 3 years, Pieter has something to do with this. He started doing Crossfit in the beginning of 2012 and was (and still is) very happy doing it. I hadn’t really looked into it much but I knew there was a Crossfit box in Leuven, so after Amsterdam I sent them an email to ask if I could come and try out for a week.

Before my first session, I considered myself to be in relative good shape (I had finished a marathon a month earlier). No dice. Try doing a pull up when the only sport you’ve done for the past 5 years is running. Ain’t gonna happen.

Let’s back it up for a minute: what is Crossfit? Let’s check wikipedia for that:

CrossFit describes its strength and conditioning program as ?constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement," with the stated goal of improving fitness (and therefore general physical preparedness), which it defines as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains." Workouts are typically short?20 minutes or less?and intense, demanding all-out physical exertion. They combine movements such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, flipping tires, weightlifting, carrying heavy objects, and many bodyweight exercises; equipment used includes barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, kettlebells, medicine balls, and boxes for box jumps.

Wikipedia Crossfit page

No fancy gym equipment, no electric machines. 4 walls, a roof (or: a box), a bunch of weights, barbells, a couple of pull-up bars and you’re set.

Everyone in the group (usually around 10 people) goes through the same exercises and movements and finishes the session with the same workout. But off course, not everyone can lift the same weight or finish every movement 100% as described. You can adapt the movement and the workout to your abilities but it has to stay challenging. What’s important is that you keep moving, even if you’re tired and/or sore, you finish the workout.

When you feel like starting Crossfit, you’ll probably have google’ed it and ended up watching videos on youtube (like the one bellow) and you’ll be feeling (a bit) overwhelmed. I was too (and still am when I see the WOD (= Workout of the day) some days)


The thing is, you shouldn’t be afraid to be the slowest or the smallest in the group. It’s not about beating the other people there, it’s about getting better, getting fitter and beating yourself. And you may not be the strongest in box but you’re still beating everyone that’s still on the couch. Instead, look at this one:


So if you’ve thought about giving Crossfit a shot, let this be the extra push in the back you needed to get you out there.