I recently joined a friend for an open house at a CrossFit gym. I know what you’re thinking “oh no, here goes a rant about CrossFit…” Well, not exactly. Let me tell you a little bit about my background. Growing up I was always playing sports and competing to win. That part of me is what enjoys the style of CrossFit. CrossFit is about competing, not necessarily against someone else but against yourself, to always try to improve. So, I’ve gotta say it was fun to compete again after being out of a competitive sport for a while now.
But, my experience in the weight room makes me second guess this CrossFit stuff. I’ve gained most of my knowledge from the traditional strength and muscle building style, which most people would know as “lifting weights.” A lot of this type of exercise focuses on keeping strict form and being safe while trying to move as much weight as possible. This seems to be an afterthought in a lot of CrossFit gyms these days. So the cautious trainer in me says “hey man, this CrossFit stuff may not be all that great” but I’ve gotta say that the CrossFit workout was really fun, and I may do it again. And the coaches there were good coaches and I never felt unsafe doing the workout. Maybe because I know enough about how my body works and how to avoid injury that I didn’t feel unsafe, but either way I enjoyed myself. That is the key point here… It was fun. I had a good time.
No matter what type of exercise you do, find something that you can enjoy and continue to do. If you don’t enjoy it you won’t keep doing it, and therefore you don’t have any consistency, and you won’t reach your goals. Finding the right form of exercise can be a huge factor in finding your success. I enjoy the bodybuilding and strength training form of exercise a lot. Cardio? Not so much… If i’m doing cardio it comes in two forms. The first is interval training (HIIT) because I can get a lot of work done in a very short amount of time, basically getting it over with as soon as possible. The second is in the form of competition, like playing a sport, which is fun to me. Running on a treadmill for an hour sounds like zero fun to me. Going on a hike up a mountain sounds way more entertaining.
So my point here is that you should find something that you enjoy, that will keep you active. If you hate running, don’t run. Find something else that you like to do that keeps you active (clicking through Netflix doesn’t count as being active though.) If you want to compete, then maybe CrossFit is where you should look. For me, my home away from home is in the weight room where I’ll be picking up heavy things and putting them back down. The traditional bodybuilding style workouts align with my goals of trying to put on muscle, along with the fact that I enjoy it. That doesn’t mean I won’t try something different once in a while, but I know that I’ve found something I can consistently keep doing. So wherever you are in your journey to health I challenge you to find out what you like, if you hate something, change it. Unless you have a specific goal you are trying to achieve and that is the only way to achieve it (ex. to finish a marathon you’re going to have to run), then there is no reason you can’t try something new until you find what you like. My only hope is that you don’t just give up being healthy and active all together because you didn’t enjoy going to the gym. Keep searching for what works for you. And if you don’t know where to start, you’ve got a friend at the weight room just waiting to help.