How I Got Started with CrossFit

By Rob Zych | In Editorial | on November 1, 2014

I remember the first time I heard about CrossFit. It was the Spring of 2009. At the time, Coach Eddie and I were pushing through our respective workouts, and exploring every new fitness trend under the sun. I was struggling to find a balance between a full-time job, going to law school at night, maintaining personal relationships, and getting in my workouts. Needless to say I was always pressed for time. Spring was upon us, and as always in a typical meathead mentality, I had packed on the pounds over the winter and would only now be concerned with “cardio” and serious training for Spring Break or Memorial Day weekend. My normal workout routine included training individual muscle groups in the evenings: Monday – legs, Tuesday – shoulders, Wednesday – back, Thursday – chest, and Friday – arms. Further, I would include a separate morning workout of one hour on the Stairmaster, followed by 30 minutes of abs every day. This pace was arduous and time-consuming, and could only be kept up for a few months at a time. Because of my naivety and inexperience, the strength gains would come and go and so would the fat. I was, “spinning my wheels” with no track and no direction.

Then in passing, a good friend flippantly remarked, “Why don’t you try CrossFit?” I was dumbfounded. I had no idea what she was talking about. “Cross what? Cross-Training?” I asked. “No, idiot”, she replied. “CrossFit. It’s a comprehensive approach to fitness that this guy developed, and my brother does it. He’s an Army Ranger. He and all of his friends do it and they are strong and lean. The workouts are high-intensity and vary, but are supposed to be short and efficient.” Curious, I humored her as she showed me the website. For the next three days, I watched almost every “demo” video and “benchmark” workout there. Forget about the shape of the male armed forces and police officers that demonstrated these workouts, the women were even more amazing. Just like my friend explained, they were all lean and strong as hell, but oddly not overly muscular, just strong. These people, I thought were like Olympians; a whole different caliber of athlete. In short, there was no way I could ever train like that. I was intimidated. I shied away from something that appeared to be fit for only elite athletes based solely on my perceived limitations. I was wrong.

WOD Inside

Fast forward to today, and I am one of the largest proponents for CrossFit WODs (workout of the day). After introducing CrossFit’s high-intensity, variable training methodology to my regimen, I have lost over 50 pounds of once stubborn body-fat, and gained strength, confidence, and knowledge that I can achieve great things. My journey wasn’t an easy one, and started by overcoming the concept that this sport was beyond me, or too hard.

I decided that if I ever wanted to be capable of completing the WOD, I must attempt one. Bear in mind that leading up to this first attempt, I had let so many excuses build up for why I had not trained with consistency over the last 2 years that I could barely do 1 (one) standard pushup, never mind a burpee. Nevertheless, I made up my mind to try a WOD. I found a CrossFit workout that I could complete outdoors, away from the stares and criticism that I may endure if I tried it at my regular gym. I modified the workout using less challenging versions of the same movements, so I can still accomplish a high-intensity pace. The modified 5-Round workout was supposed to be completed in 30 minutes. 3–2–1, Go! The next 28 minutes were grueling. Within the first 2 minutes, I was winded, drenched in sweat, and sore. But hey, 28 minutes, not bad, right? Wrong! I had been too ambitious.   I completed only a feeble 3 Rounds, which included a an insane amount of kneeling pushups. It took me a full week to recover, both physically and mentally.   I could not comprehend how I was destroyed by a 30 minute workout. I was sore in places I didn’t know I had muscles. I felt that I had a better workout in 30 minutes then I ever did in two and a half hours at the gym. There was definitely something to this CrossFit “nonsense”!

However, through a myriad of conversations with friends and family, I have learned that society’s general consensus on CrossFit mirrored my first impression; it’s intimidating. And, why not? The limited knowledge the average person has of CrossFit is that of seeing elite professional athletes or military service men and woman participating in commercials during sporting events or on Youtube; watching the best CrossFitters in the world compete on ESPN for the title of the “Fittest on Earth”; and seeing friends-of-friends post motivational pictures of the fittest CrossFit athletes on Facebook demonstrating an advanced weightlifting movement or a complex gymnastic feat.

WOD Outside

But, the aim of CrossFit, the sport of fitness, contrary to popular belief is to bring the comprehensive methodology and programming to the community at large. It is broad, general and inclusive. CrossFit points out that the needs of the average person, our grandparents, and professional athlete’s differ by degree not kind. Specifically, the same methods that elicit optimal response in the Olympic or professional athlete will optimize response in the the deconditioned, the sedentary, the overweight, the pathological, and the elderly. Accordingly, CrossFit uses the same routines regardless of the individual’s level of fitness. Instead, CrossFit relies on its infinite scalability – scaling the load and intensity for a given routine – rather than changing an effective program.

My first WOD that day outside on the High School track was profound. Without knowing it, I had utilized the scalability approach to perform and almost complete a CrossFit workout. I scaled the workout based on my individual level of ability for a purpose. To practice form and technique while building competence in the exercises performed at a high intensity pace.

The lesson to take away is: Don’t be intimidated. CrossFit is an effective approach for increasing power, strength, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, flexibility, stamina, coordination, agility, and balance. The side effect of the programming is turning participants into healthy athletes through efficient workouts. Plainly, CrossFit is challenging. But not for the reasons many may think. Like anything else worth doing, it demands a high level of discipline, dedication, and trust in the methodology. However, whether the individual is a teenage high-school student, a bride-to-be, a new mom, a sedentary office worker, or a CrossFit competitor, all workouts are designed the same – to be challenging. The workouts are scalable with regressions available for all movements based on each individual’s level of fitness. The workout is the easy part, because regardless of what level you’re at, the feeling of accomplishment is the same.

Contact us now and get started with CrossFit Secaucus today. Email us or call our coaches at (201) 503-6320.

One Comment to "How I Got Started with CrossFit"

  • Eddie Maresca says:

    November 1, 2014 at 7:54 pm -

    Great article Rob! I love it…

© 2015 CrossFit Secaucus. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy
CrossFit Journal: The Performance-Based Lifestyle Resource

Sign up for our CrossFit Secaucus Newsletter!

  • Be the first to know about CrossFit Secaucus events
  • Get notifications about exclusive membership discounts
  • We don't do spam. It's not paleo friendly ;-)

Stay tuned about the latest CrossFit Secaucus news!