CrossFit Fairy Tales

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Yesterday I was talking to one of the members after the noon class about an interesting effect of CrossFit. Namely, the one where your priorities tend to shift from the standard pre-CrossFit exercise avoidance tactic, “I have a hard time finding time to workout,” to the Kool-Aid-drinking and now hopelessly WOD-addicted, “We have to do it after 6 because I do CrossFit at 5.”

Yeah, worse things can happen.

When you let CrossFit take a hold of you, the effects are incredible. In fact, when talking to prospective members I don’t even try to mention all the ways CrossFit will improve their life because it would sound like I’m trying to sell them a unicorn that shits golden eggs.

But I realize that I’m preaching to the choir. I don’t need to tell you all the great things CrossFit can do for you – you already know. So before you post your Paleo recipe today, tell us about something that CrossFit has done for you. This goes for everyone too – not just the folks in the Paleo Challenge – leave a comment about some way your life has changed because of CrossFit.

I could tell you my story, but I have to go clean up after my unicorn.

  • Jeff

    OK, so I have been thinking about this for a while and wanted to post my thoughts about the challenge, progress and community. Since the middle of January I have been totally paleo. I have done my best to be at the gym as much as I can and also to follow all the advice and coaching that Tai and others have offered. Well, the experiment so far is pretty amazing. I have continually felt and performed better. I have slept better. I have thought better and been able to concentrate for a longer time. I have also enjoyed being at the gym much more; enjoyed interacting with people there more; enjoyed watching other people also do better than ever before. My life is now better than it was before. I can’t believe how well this has worked. I guess I really wanted to thank everyone at the gym, Tai, Danielle, Jackson and all the other members, it has really been awesome so far and I can’t wait to see what happens from here.

  • Sylvia

    Well, being a new member I’ve gone through quite a few emotions since joining! First it was total excitement, seeing everyone doing all these amazing things and wanting to do them myself. Then it was complete shock, fear and nervousness as to how hard it all actually is! But after meeting so many great people at the gym and getting advise and encouragement while working out, I’m at the stage now where I want to get stronger and faster! I’ve set my goals Tai and know in time I can do it!! So now I’m back to that excitement stage! Thanks everyone, your all such a great family, and I’m glad to be part of it now! 😉

  • Ladybug724

    I started doing CrossFit just over a year ago. I remember when we started, I was amazed at all the great athletes in the gym. I remember watching Casey do kipping pull ups and being amazed at how strong and controlled she was. I watched her do muscle-ups and thought, “WOW! I HOPE I can do that someday.” But I never actually thought that day would come. CrossFit has made me realize that if you work hard and challenge yourself, you can do amazing things. Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid to fail. Just listen to the coaches, and work hard. Unlike a traditional gym, nobody here is going to judge you. Everyone at the box is here to help. This is the most awesome sense of community I have seen, and I look forward to coming to the gym each day to see my CrossFit family, and to challenge myself with another WOD. Thanks to the coaches, I’m slowing removing “I can’t” from my vocabulary, and turning it into “I will.” Thank you everyone!

  • Brittany

    This post explains exactly how Crossfit has changed my life… I was just like the person you were talking about. Always making up excuses as to why I can’t make it to the gym today. I have a happy hour, I’m not feeling well, and I’m SO tired! Blah, blah, blah… there was always something. And then Crossfit came into my life. And it is as you said; I now plan my weekday activities around crossfit. I think it is the sense of community that crossfit brings. The encouragement of the people around you going through the same stuff you are, all working to better themselves (and those around them, even if they don’t realize it). It’s amazing looking at how far I’ve come in the past year, when running a mile seemed like a task much less pull-ups, push-ups and god forbid any type of Olympic lift! But since those first days I’ve drawn inspiration from all of the coaches and realized that the only person that can tell me I can’t do something, is myself… and I refuse to listen to that voice anymore! I’ve drank the cool-aid and there’s no going back…now for that damn muscle up.

  • Michell

    I discovered CrossFit completely by chance. About a week after registering with Groupon, this interesting deal came through my e-mail. I figured I would give it a chance, as I needed motivation to make time for the gym. I then proceeded to make time not only for the gym, but for the next available on-ramp, and then getting my bottom to class as often as I can!

    I started the Paleo challenge mid-January, and although I haven’t been 100% Paleo, I have been making better food choices all around. I am so much stronger than just 2 months ago! My goal is still one unassisted pullup, but now that looks like a short-term goal, rather than a “sometime before I die” goal!!

    See you all at the gym!

  • Carol

    I joined CrossFit at a one of the lowest points in my life. I felt weak, defeated, and powerless, both emotionally and physically. I was so eager to get started and super excited to see all the things that I would eventually be able to do. I saw hope of becoming stronger than I had ever been. After about a month and half, I stopped coming. I allowed for the excuses to become the priority. I used to check the website to see the WOD and if I deemed it too hard or impossible for me to do (me…a muscle up??), I would not go. My first workout back after almost two months had me literally in tears. Tears of disappointment that I had allowed for bullshit to get in my way of becoming the best me ever. Tears of anger that I had regressed in strength and ability. Tears of hope because I now wanted it more than ever. It was quite cleansing. It flipped a switch in me. Today, I am making decisions about what I eat and how I exercise that have never crossed my mind before. I nearly doubled my PR for back squats, shoulder presses, and dead lifts in the two months that I’ve been back. And now when I check out the website to see what the WOD is, it’s to preview what new thing I’m going to learn and conquer. Thank you Tai, Danielle, and the rest of our CFMC family for the continuous support, encouragement, inspiration, and occasional “kick-in-the-ass”!!

  • Janelle

    Wow, it’s difficult to describe just one way that CrossFit has changed my life…CrossFit has become kind of a “lifestyle”!

    But anyway…

    When I joined CFMC in March 2010, I was bored with gym. I looked for any excuse to justify skipping the gym on any particular day. If I couldn’t find one, I’d drag my feet, get there, go through the motions, and go home. I had no motivation, and in turn, got minimal results. Nevertheless, I thought I was in pretty decent shape; after all, I did go to the gym.

    Then I paid my first visit to CMFC. Minutes into Tai’s intro workout, I realized what a half hour on the treadmill and a couple sets of pushups and situps was NOT doing for me!

    In CrossFit, I found exactly what I needed – challenging workouts and a motivating environment. Yes, I wanted to die during those first few weeks – I could barely breath during the workouts and barely move after. In some crazy way, though, I loved it and quicky became addicted!

    Over the past year, CrossFit has truly become a priority, if not the number one priority, in my life. I, too, arrange my schedule around CrossFit to the point that I have taken time off of work to fit in a WOD on a busy day!

    And though the greatest benefits that I have seen from CrossFit are surely physical (can you say “Murph”?), not enough can be said about the friends that I have made at CFMC. You guys are some of the greatest people that I have met since living in Maryland!

    Thank you to everyone at CFMC, coaches and members, for helping me become “Better than I’ve ever been” (so far)!

  • justin

    I am a unicorn that shits golden eggs.

    Aside from that I’ve net lost 30 lbs since February 2010. I love crossfit. Mentally it’s addicting, physically it’s rewarding. I love crossfit. I do owe Tai a bill for the clothes i’ve had to buy now that my old shit is so loose i look like a child. (Well now that i have a mustache that’s fixed!). I love crossfit.

    There is no substitute for what CFMC has done for my personal well being. I owe CFMC a lot. I have photos to prove what i’ve accomplished. before and after tells a lot. Lately i’ve been working too much (not an excuse) and haven’t been able to get to the gym as much as previously. It’s taking a toll on my stress level. There is nothing better than coming to the gym pissed or amp’d up about work, then leaving stress free because that WOD just kicked the shit out of me and i forgot why i cared about work.

    CFMC is great. Crossfit is great. You just have to trust me. It is life changing and whether it changes your life…that is up to you.

  • Erik Herik

    I recently celebrated my one year anniversary at CFMC. After years of adhering to a “push/pull” free-weight routine, the normal pressures and responsibilities of being an adult finally led to my declining motivation at the gym. That loss of focus made me question why I even continued to spend 1+ hours at the gym each night.

    Before I even walked into CFMC, I had a basic familiarity with CrossFit shaped by being dragged through various WODs while deployed with the military. I appreciated that the training kicked my ass, but I was intimidated by the heavy and complicated olympic lifts. Thankfully my wife, Lindsay, viewed CrossFit as a way not only to kick-start our stalled routine, but also as a way to spend valuable time together. The last part of that sentence may seem like a joke, but the time we spend together at CrossFit is some of the most rewarding time we spend together all week. It’s an amazing feeling to see other people, especially your significant other, challenge themselves to overcome physical and mental barriers using only a kettlebell, wallball, or several 45lbs plates.

    The community and the trainers at CFMC truly make the experience worthwhile. In a reflection of the shared sense of community at CFMC, those preparing for (or recovering from) a WOD encourage those engaged in a WOD at that moment to work beyond their comfort zones. Within the group there’s great respect for everyone’s relative strengths, and the trainers patiently instruct each person on ways to improve their individual technique and drive.

    Every night feels like the most grueling WOD of my life. This feeling reminds me that no matter how stressful the day was, the WOD will inevitably be the most demanding, yet rewarding, thing I do that day. Before you know it, CrossFit is more than just a work-out, it’s a lifestyle.

  • Quang (KWAN)

    The new normal. From a triathlon/marathon background, I thought I was strong on endurance until I could not last through the 7 min initial assessment. I just started about a month ago officially in the box (end of January 2011) and went from 3 legit pullups to 99 in a recent WOD (Rx). And I went from not being able to get into an overhead squat position to actually getting weight on the bar. Someone observed that I was ‘All Show, No Go’ and doing CFMC is helping to turn that observation around. One pullup at a time.

    Other workouts just don’t have the camraderie, intensity, or results as this weird mix of exercise called cross fit. Welcome to the new normal.

  • Emily

    It’s been interesting reading everyone’s posts, because I could just say, “ditto” to each and every one. I’m not a good writer, so here are the bullets:
    1. I used to complain about everything. Since drinking the kool-aid, I’ve found that I actually WANT to push myself to do things I would whine about before.
    2. I just told Jeff yesterday that I no longer look at the time spent at CrossFit as a chore, now it’s fun and I can’t wait to go. I’ve never felt that way about any exercise routine or sport. And yes, I schedule a lot of plans around it.
    3. Tai and Danielle are awesome and make me lift heavy things even when I don’t think I can do it. I’m not sure how they do it… maybe it’s that magical unicorn.
    4. Tracking my progress, and seeing the other girls’ progress motivates me to do even more. Setting goals like “I’ll be off that damn purple band in 2 weeks or else!” is also helpful for me.
    5. I love when everyone is cheering for you to finish when you’re the last one finishing a WOD. I also hate it, but mostly I love it. The comraderie at CFMC really makes me feel like family.
    6. Most importantly, I’ve lost weight, am in the best shape of my life, and feel more positive all around.

  • Lorena Skelton

    Amazing stories everyone. I never was into sports growing up. Where I come from, girls were not allowed or pushed to do sports so I never get into it. I have been exercising for about seven years on and off. I joined a gym five years ago to get fit for our wedding and yes it worked for the pics, arms looked fit (now I realize they only looked fit, but they were not). I really thought I was fit when I came to Crossfit because I eat healthy and exercise regularly.
    My husband BJ invited me to join him when he bought groupon passes. The first day in the groupon class I thought I was dying: I could not breath, everything hurt, I hated those burpees, and worst my love/ hate relationship with wall balls started. Today I can say that had joined Crossfit was one of the best decisions BJ and I have made. I look forward to every class and there is not greater satisfaction when I get things done the right way. Some days that is the only time BJ and I see each other. Crossfit helped us to be closer and to encourage each other day to day.
    All the trainers and members are great and I know everything they tell us in our best interest. It is the best thing when they encourage and correct my form because they are not judging me they are just helping me to achieve my goal.

  • I cannot mention how CrossFit has changed my life without mentioning how Tai Randall has changed my life. Thanks Tai…so glad I walked in that day!

    The CrossFit mold and concepts are amazing, however, Tai’s coaching has helped me perfect movements, get strong and get lean. His humor, friendship and coaching style make it fun to show up, even if I am scared of the WOD. With Tai’s attention to detail I have shedded my fears of some of the heavier lifts…although I still need lots of work. He is what Lombardi defines as a coach…making you do what you don’t want to do so you can be who you want to be…hence why my son calls him ‘Coach Tai.’

    As far a CrossFit is concerned it is great to go to a gym where you only get the real deal. People are there to train hard and train right…No B.S., no fluff. I grew up in NJ where bodybuilding was my foundation for training. That left me with lots of injuries and dysfunctional movements. Training at CrossFit focuses on movements versus muscles. This is how one needs to train to live a healthy and energetic life. CrossFit has shown me the true path to follow for maintaining my health for a lifetime.

    I owe a sincere thanks to Tai, Danielle and my fellow CrossFitters (I bought the shoes and drank the cool aid) for the consistent drive, fun, competition, education and humility!

  • Courtney

    I’ve loved reading these all day, and have been thinking about what I wanted to say. So many of the previous comments read like I could have written them myself.

    I’m a relative newbie to CrossFit, but it took me about two seconds to get hooked. When I signed up for the OnRamp I ended my Bally’s membership and never looked back. I haven’t been in a “traditional” gym in over three months. Until today. Objectively it is a huge, shiny, new, high-tech gym. And I HATED IT. I couldn’t get used to my reflection in all the mirrors as I worked out. I would have killed for a bucket of chalk and a pullup bar that was actually attached to a wall or ceiling instead of a machine that I was CERTAIN would tip over if I dared challenge it with some kipping pullups. When I couldn’t stop thinking about putting a smashed water bottle under some random kid’s chest while he was doing pushups I knew it was time to leave. CrossFit has completely changed what I consider a workout. I couldn’t bring myself to touch the many machines that I’d worked out on for YEARS before joining starting CrossFit. They seemed so foreign, strange and useless.

    Maybe more personal to me, is how CrossFit has changed my goals and body image. After years of wanting to be skinny and measuring goals and accomplishments in pounds lost, I now find myself more focused on being strong and measure my accomplishments in pounds lifted. How liberating!!!!

    I love Jerry Maguire. So in the spirit of the final scene of that movie, a quick thank you to Danielle, Jackson and Sara– without you guys I’d be lifting far less weight and clinging for dear life to my resistance bands. And finally, Tai, my coach, you are my ambassador of kwan*.

    *According to Rod Tidwell, kwan “means love, respect, community… and the dollars too. The package. The kwan.” Forget about the dollars, but the rest applies.

  • Matt Immerman

    I have always considered myself to be in decent shape. I would go to the gym 4-5x a week, do some cardio, lift weights and call it a day. However, I was never really pushing myself past my limits and always felt like I have been maintaining my level of fitness versus improving. In addition, I never ventured outside of my comfort zone when it came to trying new types of exercises of lifts.

    Since joining CFMC, and with Tai and Daniele’s expert tutelage I was able to identify my weaknesses and since working on them I have seen great improvements in my squat and general flexibility (even though I still have some ways to go). Even my jump rope skills have improved from absolutely pathetic (those who have seen me jump rope know what I am talking about) to just plain old pathetic, and I expect to be able to jump singles indefinitely relatively soon. Also, I recently ran a personal best 5k (by approximately 40 seconds) after basically not doing any running for several months. I attribute my new PR to the inherent intensity of the WODs and my overall increased flexibility.

    Thank you Tai, Danielle and the rest of the wonderful coaches and members at CFMC who push me past my comfort zone each day!

  • Kelsey

    I felt compelled to comment on this blog as I read Tai’s posts regularly and many times have used comparable wod’s for my Sunday Funday programming after reading what CFMC’s wods were that week. Tai was at my L1 Cert in June, my 1 yr into Crossfit and his coaching is awesome. I also came down to do the Games wod in July at CFMC and helped judge at the Hopper Challenge in Oct.
    I found Crossfit after my friend in Iraq mentioned to me that he thought it would be something that would challenge me into getting into shape. I found CFHQ one night while at work and was immediately hooked. If you can imaging attempting to practice squats right there in the middle of the hospital…yup that was me! Shortly there after I found Crossfit York which was about 50 min from my house in Gettysburg. It was feasible with my 12hr work schedule so I signed up after dying through the introduction. I wasn’t like I didn’t know about fitness, nor nutrition. I participated in sports throughout highschool, including wrestling my senior year. And I’m a nurse for heavens sake, but my Y membership had been directly debiting my bank account for about a year and half and I hadn’t stepped into the place! I was so nervous and nauseous driving down to the box every day and I had ample time to think about turning around and changing my mind. I would sleep for an hour after coming home from work at 7am, drive down to York, workout and then drive home, return to sleep and get up and go back to work at 7pm. Addicted I tell ya. Luckily for me I now live in York about a mile from the gym so distance is no longer an issue.
    Crossfit has allowed me to do so many things I never thought I could do. And my switch flipping moment was the first time I stepped into a green band and pulled myself over the pull up bar. I could do a pull up, yes assisted, but there was no looking back after that!!! So long bands… I’ve traveled across the country on a roadtrip to visit my brother and based my trip on the Crossfit boxes I wanted to stop at. Every one of them welcomed me like I was a regular. That’s awesome. A life changer, a life saver. I hope in the future that I will be able to pass on my enthusiasm and knowledge for Crossfit to others, maybe someday through my own box, who knows. Cause now, the possibilities of what I can do…are endless.
    Thanks Tai and Danielle for your awesome wods and blogs as well as for everyone’s Paleo recipes, they don’t affect only CFMC, they inspire and represent to a lot more people as well.

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