Fitness/ Running/ Winston-Salem/ Workouts

My Thoughts on CrossFit as a Runner

I’m a runner. And now, I’m also a CrossFitter. Yes, they can co-exist.

Are you ready to hear about my thoughts on CrossFit? I have a lot of them so this is gonna be long – get ready. 🙂 The first section is about the CrossFit gym (“box”) in Winston-Salem I’ve gone to vs. others, so if you’re local be sure to check that out. But the majority of the post is my thoughts on CrossFit in general, particularly as it relates to running and overall fitness.

Top Tier CrossFit Winston-Salem

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’ve tried CrossFit in Winston-Salem a few times over the past few years and never really enjoyed it. I never got a great workout, I didn’t feel welcome, and left feeling like I could have worked out so much harder and much more efficiently only my own. So, when a friend asked me to go to CrossFit, I took a bit of convincing because I had such bad experiences previously. (2018 Update: I was all cryptic at the time when I wrote this post…that “friend” who invited me is now my husband. 😉 ) It also required some convincing because, well, I was nervous and a bit intimidated. More on that below.

I had heard about a new CrossFit gym in Winston-Salem, Top Tier CrossFit, that was supposedly a super nice facility and very welcoming. I went for the first time a couple weeks ago with a friend and really enjoyed the workout. And the rumors were true – Top Tier is really nice. I’ve heard that CrossFit is supposed to be grungy and minimalist, but the boxes I’d tried previously were…too grungy; I felt like I needed a tetanus shot afterwards. And the people at Top Tier are equally as nice as the gym itself, which was a big change from the other box I’d tried. So I’d absolutely recommend Top Tier to locals if you’re new to CrossFit and a bit nervous like I was.

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Thoughts on the CrossFit workout 

I was intimidated by CrossFit because even though I’m in very good shape, my body is very used to the workouts I do. I get solid workouts from running, and I lift somewhat regularly, but I’ve been doing the same fitness routine for years now. (I’ve been running regularly for 16 years! Crazy!) Trying anything new can be intimidating so I think the whole getting-out-of-my-comfort zone was part of what kept me away from Crossfit (and all the terrible experiences I had previously!).

Unfamiliar workout moves can be scary too. My thought process looking at the WODs (workout of the day): “WTF are wall balls? Snatches? Oh, I knooooow what burpees are and I hate them.” (Now it’s more like, “Oh wall balls? Damn…those are hard. But I’m in. I’ll get better eventually.”)

Plus, trying new-to-me moves is so good for my body. After two CrossFit workouts last week that left me so sore I could barely stand up/sit down or walk, let alone run, I realized that my body is very fit in a pretty singular way and could definitely stand for some variety. I don’t believe “pain is gain” (and there is a difference between pain and discomfort), but I do believe muscle confusion leads to gains. And I know I neglect my glutes and hamstrings and regular Crossfitting would help strengthen those…and therefore make me a better runner.

Another reason I’ve loved Crossfit, aside from the sure-to-come fitness gains: it’s fun, plain and simple. I love the variety, I like how quickly the workouts go by, I like the camaraderie, and I love the challenge. Plus, I really, really push myself in the workouts and that’s just a good feeling.IMG_0299

I think I’ve been anti-Crossfit in the past because…well, I’m a Runner, capital R. Surely I couldn’t be a runner and a CrossFitter.  But labels really, really don’t matter.

The CrossFit Culture

I’ve heard from friends (granted, these are non-CrossFit friends) how cultish/obsessive CrossFitters can be. But I don’t really think this is a bad thing; I think it’s great when people can build a community with their workouts, for motivation, accountability and for friendships. I’ve blogged multiple times about how much I love the running community, near and far, and I think Crossfitters feel an equal love to their sport.

When the communities become unfriendly or cliquish, that’s an issue, but I don’t think that’s a CrossFit problem so much as an individual’s problem. (Another plug for Top Tier – everyone is so welcoming and friendly. Granted, I’ve been taking classes with a friend so that certainly helps it feel friendlier, but it’s just a welcoming environment from the minute you walk in.)IMG_9987

Intimidation and labels aside, CrossFit is a FANTASTIC workout.

It ripped me up pretty badly (and by badly, I mean, in the best way) last week. But after talking to my Crossfit junkie friends, they told me that my body will get used to it (or at least more used to it). And I believe that. When I go back to yoga after a hiatus, I get pretty sore since I’m using muscles that have been neglected (including all those small ones I forget exist). The body is pretty amazing at adapting when you push it.

So, bottom line: will I keep doing CrossFit? Yes.

I need to figure out how to fit it in my schedule because I will always be a Runner and like to run 4-6x a week. And if I’m running all the time, I have to fit in yoga so I don’t get injured. So…when do I fit in CrossFit? We’ll see.

Oh, one more thing: I went again tonight and LOVED the workout. Each time I go I think, “Ok, that was my favorite WOD so far.” I think that’s a good sign.

What are your thoughts on all this as a runner? As a CrossFitter? As both?

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  • Kalynn C.
    at

    Love this post!! (As you probably could’ve guessed from prior comments.) So, you already know I’m all about running and crossfit! Just as a point of comparison, here’s what my weeks have looked like lately while marathon training…
    Mon – teach BodyPump
    Tues – crossfit & easy run
    Wed – speedwork & hot yoga
    Thurs – teach BodyPump
    Fri – crossfit & easy run
    Sat – usually rest or crossfit (our box usually does partner WODs so I can go easier if I need to & make my husband take more of the work haha)
    Sun – long run & hot yoga
    It’s a lot, but it’s worked well and I definitely back off when I need to with lighter weights or a day off from crossfit. I’d love to read more posts about your thoughts later on, progress, etc.! Welcome to the “Runners who crossfit” club! 😉

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
      at

      Thank you so much for sharing your workout weeks while training for a marathon! That’s really helpful and makes it feel much more doable to do everything! I think it works well for me to double up on Pure Barre and CrossFit in the same day (they work muscles so differently) and then maybe I could double up a CF day and an easy run like you do. Thanks for the warm club welcome! 😉

  • Anne @ CandyCrazedrun.com
    at

    This is a really interesting post, I think you hit the truth of a lot of the issues and controversies surrounding Crossfit.
    Specifically, that when Crossfit (or anything!) becomes cliquish, it’s a people problem, not a crossfit problem.
    And shoot, if anything is fun, I say why not?!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    at

    Awesome! I really want to try crossfit at some point! I think I would love it even though I am not big into anything with a “group” atmosphere. I love my lifting, yoga, and running alone, but sometimes it is nice to throw in something different and feed off of other’s energy!

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed
    at

    Yay! I love CF. I totally agree that the vibe of a particular gym can make or break your experience. A lot of the criticism also comes from the idea that the only goal is to lift as much as you can as fast as you can. In a good gym (like my gym :D) the coaches will keep you focused on your form and technique and won’t let you add weight until you’ve mastered the movement!

    I definitely love the community. And I enjoy having coaches. At CF I push myself so much farther than I ever would at the gym by myself!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
      at

      I totally agree with everything you said – it just depends on the CF gym! And I 100% agree with CF pushing me way more than I’d push myself alone. I need to get comfortable pushing myself even more at CF, particularly with weights. (Once I master my form of course!:)

    • Rebecca @ Bring Back Delicious
      at

      A lot of CF gyms focus too much on speed and weight and not enough on form, so definitely watch out for that. You can hurt yourself pretty badly if you’re not careful. That being said, sometimes good form actually gives you a better workout!

      Amber’s right though. It’s basically up to you and how much you want to push yourself. Get in the zone, chief!

  • Mari
    at

    Sorry this has to be said*
    *bad joke alert

    Surely a person doing barre is a barrister? (Yes I know, really bad, but it’s almost 2015 and then it will be last year 🙂 )

    I’d love to try cross fit one of these days, a question of logistics at the moment. Good luck with fitting it all in, you’re inspirational.

  • Kristen
    at

    I think there’s something to be said for being an all around “fitness person”. Running, yoga, CrossFit, lifting, Pure Barre, walking, hiking…. just move.

    • Eva
      at

      amen to that! biking, tri-ing, swimming, lifting, climbing, cleaning, partying, eating… i like to do it all! 😉

      happy new year!

      • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
        at

        I’ll pass on the swimming! 😉 I love that you included cleaning and partying in your list – ha!

  • Katie
    at

    Pure Barrist… HAHA! love it! I still need to try Pure Barre (not many places offer it in my town!) However I feel like I could get hooked!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
      at

      hehe! I hope you can find a Pure Barre studio – it’s different than barre classes offered at gyms. It’s such a great workout!

  • Jessica
    at

    I love that you are doing CrossFit. I think the biggest misconception about CrossFit is that it must be a standalone and not a contributive methodology to other areas of fitness — in the same way that yoga is. Another great thing is that there are small communities of practioners who specialize in other areas as well — like running! Look up CrossFit Endurance and check out this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sO_V5NDdcQ

    Chris Hinshaw is an awesome resource for runners who also CrossFit. Check him out!