Saturday morning I had the opportunity to go check out Courtney’s new CrossFit box, CrossFit Seventy, out in Wentzville. Courtney and her husband Chris (and daughter Payton) opened the gym about a month ago and I have been dying to go check it out. Courtney graciously offered an opportunity for me and some other St. Louis Bloggers to come do a workout with them and check out the box on Saturday. Of course, I couldn’t say no!
But first, I want to give you guys a little background on my experience with CrossFit. I talk about doing WODs (workout of the day) all the time, but I haven’t really gone into detail too much about how I got started and other little details.
It all started about 5 years ago when I was working as a strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) at a small “gym” run by a physical therapy company. We primarily focused on athletic enhancement for middle school and high school athletes, working with individuals, teams, and sports camps. It was one of the best jobs I ever had and I constantly miss working there, not only because of what I was doing but because I worked with some really awesome people and made lasting friendships with them.
My boss at the time, Kevin, one day told me about this thing called CrossFit. After reading about all the different workouts on the website, I was ready to give a WOD a try. I don’t remember which one I started with – one of “the girls” I think – but after I did one, I was hooked! Our goal that summer was to do the Filthy Fifty as a group. I will never forget how completely gassed I felt after having to do 50 burpees near the end of that workout. Killer. (Probably how my hate for burpees started.)
I loved the way that CrossFit made me feel. Like I was an athlete. It was intense and competitive. I felt like I got a great workout, even on the workouts that took less than 5 minutes. And I was seeing great results! I had muscles, I had abs, and I was stronger than I had ever been!
I continued doing CrossFit for the next year or so, even doing CrossFit Endurance for about two months or so. I did it at the place I worked for awhile, and then continued doing it at my gym. I loved it, but after awhile, I got burnt out and wanted to try something different. I did some Jillian Michaels and basic weight lifting stuff, but nothing gave me that same feeling that CrossFit did. After a year and a half break, I got back into it this past fall. I have been doing mostly CrossFit Mamas WODs, but after Saturday, I’m ready to take it up a notch. I had never done CrossFit at an actual CrossFit gym, so I was excited to get the real experience!
So, back to Saturday morning. Wentzville is only 15 minutes west of where I live, so it was a quick little jaunt out to CrossFit 70. I was greeted by Courtney and her adorable daughter Payton, who gave us a little tour of the gym. It was then time to get to work!
We started with a quick 300m row to warmup, followed by their basic warmup routine of overhead squats (with a PVC pipe), walk outs, pushups, and a hip flexor stretch.
I did my workout with Rachael (Style Everyday) who was new to CrossFit so we started with the baseline workout.
40 Air Squats
Seems easy enough right?! Don’t let that little workout fool you though. It was tough! We got our bands for our pullups ready (I used a medium strength band – I almost did a lighter band but I’m so glad I didn’t! The one I used was hard enough!) and the we were ready to rock.
I started out really strong on the row, until about the last 100m, when I really started feeling the burn in my shoulders and quads. As soon as I got off the rower, I knew those squats were going to suck. And they did. So much. But I did them without having to take a break, which I’m proud of.
Situps were next with the ab mat. I’ve used an ab mat maybe once before. It’s a little awkward at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly. Much different than my situps with my feet being held down.
I knew the pushups were going to be tough. I’ve been working really hard on improving my pushup form – keeping my hands under my shoulders and my elbows tucked into the sides, and NOT doing girl pushups. I can do about 10 good ones before needing to break. I took a break at 14 and then again at 17, and then finished them out.
And let me tell you, pullups after pushups AND rowing SUCK. There were only 10 but they were the hardest 10 ever.
I finished the workout in 5:40 (I think). I totally forgot about the clock during the workout and didn’t look at it once. Rachael finished not long after me, but having her there to compete against was a huge driving factor for me. I am so competitive and it was fun trying to push myself to beat someone.
We took a little water break and then Chris (Courtney’s hubby) coached us through some lifting. He went through the Clean, which is one of my absolute favorite lifts. It makes me feel strong and powerful, like a true athlete. We started with a PVC pipe and quickly moved from a 35 pound bar to the bar with 10 pounds on each side. I cleaned 55 pounds pretty easily and threw on another 10 on each side.
After several reps at 75 pounds, I was ready to move up. I took of the 10s and grabbed some 25 pound plates, to give me a total of 85 pounds. I did the first one easily, but it took me awhile to just get 2 more reps. After I got those 2, I was ready to try for 95 pounds. I’ve maxed on the clean before, but not since I first started CrossFit. I think 5 years + a pregnancy later, it was time to figure out a new 1 rep max (1RM).
95 pounds was HARD. The clean has 3 different parts: the first pull (from the floor to about mid thigh), the second pull (from mid thigh to shrug/waist line), and the catch (pulling your elbows under and catching the bar in front squat position). With 95 pounds, I could easily get through the first 2 pulls, but I just could not catch it. It could be that I’m just not quick enough to get my elbows under, but I’m pretty sure it was mostly a mental thing.
I dropped the weight down to 85 again, and cleaned it with no problem. Put the weight back on. Nope. Dropped down to 90 pounds. Nope. I was done after that. I spent a good 30 minutes just trying to do 95 pounds. But, I’ll take my 85 pound 1RM. Now, I am determined to work on my clean and beat 85 pounds. I will freaking get that gosh darn 95 pounds!
Janice showed up a little late, so she did her workout while we were lifting, but you can read her awesome write up about her experience from a newbie perspective.
Courtney and Chris were amazing coaches! They explained everything well to us and you could just see in their eyes the passion they have for what they are doing. They were my biggest cheerleader during the workout and during my lifts. They want you to do well and to succeed. Seriously, I cannot compliment them enough on what they are doing there.
I had such a great time! I was really worried about going because I knew I was going to fall in love with working out at an actual CrossFit box, and guess what? I did. If I didn’t have 2 other gym memberships or need a pool for triathlon training, I would be there all the time! Such a great atmosphere and so much fun! I will definitely be going back as a drop in though!
Do you do CrossFit or have you ever tried it before? What is your experience?