I was hooked on Crossfit for over 3 years but haven’t been to my gym in about 6 months. Here’s why I quit and what I’ve noticed since I stopped WODing.
I’ve been asked by friends, family, blog readers and instagram friends for the last 6+ months why I quit Crossfit and I felt a little funny answering because there was never really a point where I was like, Peace, I’m out. It was more like we drifted apart.
- I first cancelled my monthly membership when I realized I wasn’t going 3-5x a week anymore.
- Then I switched to a punch pass.
- Then my punch pass ran out and I never replaced it.
- And considering I haven’t been back to our gym in months, I guess it’s safe to say I’ve quit…for now.
Looking back, I can identify a few reasons why I drifted away from Crossfit and why I eventually just stopped going back. Here’s why.
1. Balancing running and CrossFit made me not very good at either
Lots of people have asked me over the years something along the lines of, will Crossfit make me better at running? Maybe. But I had a really hard time balancing the two, especially when I had a race on the calendar. When I was training for the Boston Marathon a year ago, it was really hard planning my runs around WODs. With nearly every WOD, I felt like I needed to tweak it so I wouldn’t destroy my legs for the next day’s run. And after a WOD — even if I didn’t go all out — it was hard to hit my goal paces on my next hard run. And I didn’t feel right about showing up to the gym and tweaking everything they had planned for the class.
When I was super into Crossfit, I LOVED going really hard and really heavy, but once I was running 50+ miles a week, I was just too worn out to do that. My one rep max for the deadlift was 250# and my 3-rep max was 225#. Last night, I stuck to 5×5 at 115# and that was plenty.
shoes | caf sleeves | shorts | tank | hat
2. Our Gym Changed
Our gym went through some coaching and management changes and it just didn’t feel like it used to feel. The culture was very different than I had experienced in the past (and very different from other gyms I’d visited). Quite frankly, it just didn’t feel fun anymore. I also didn’t like the direction the programming had taken.
On top of it, my gym wasn’t super supportive of going lighter than I was capable of to accommodate my running. Not to say that all gyms are this way (they’re not), but my gym was not very encouraging. But I often got comments like “Oh well, that’s why you shouldn’t run” — which is not great to hear when I love running. I recognize that’s a hard balance for a coach (especially one who doesn’t know me well) because while I appreciated how strong I became over the years because they pushed me, I didn’t feel supported when I wanted to back off to meet other goals (i.e. running the Boston Marathon).
When I’m training for a marathon (like I was last spring and again right now), I’m usually running 60-90 minutes a day and time is a premium — and sometimes the WODs were just not a good use of my time. Oftentimes, and even more often with the recent programming, the workouts were only seven minutes, and I get that you can get a great workout in seven minutes (trust me, I’ve been destroyed many times after a 7 minute WOD!), but I was still there for a full hour, at least. Or, I could go to my regular gym, work the key groups that wouldn’t leave me wrecked for my next run, and get in and out in 30-40 minutes, tops.
Has my body changed since quitting Crossfit?
Honestly, yes. And while I know many women (including some of my closest friends) quit CrossFit because they didn’t like what it did to their body, that wasn’t the case for me. I really liked having more muscle — you can see my before and after CrossFit post here. And I quite miss the muscle, particularly on my hamstrings and in my shoulders and arms (so….I guess I miss all of it, ha!). But, I do feel more myself with less muscle and my normal wardrobe fits again. I definitely had some dresses and blouses I couldn’t zip because my back broadened with muscle that now fit again. I was about 8-12 lbs heavier when doing CrossFit than my “normal” weight — and that amount of weight is quite a bit on my 5’1″ frame when you put it in percentages.
This is me about a month ago.
shoes (the exact ones are old and sold out) | leggings | watch | socks | tank | bra
And this was me when I was doing Crossfit 2-3x a week (and at one point, I was doing Crossfit 4-5x a week!). I especially notice the decreased muscle in my shoulders and arms in pictures. Alas.
Will I go back to Crossfit?
I’m not saying that I’ve quit CrossFit forever and I very likely will go back to it at some point. I love visiting my mom’s CrossFit gym when I go to Utah and a CrossFit gym in Boone because they’re fun, it’s something different and I get a great workout. And while I really love the full body aspect of Crossfit and the variety, right now I’m focusing on running. And perhaps after the Boston Marathon, I’ll go back to complement my fitness. But I’m not sure I’ll ever make it my primary workout like I did in the past.
I’m still hitting the weights, but my strength work is specific to improving my running. While I’m sure there are CrossFit gyms that program specifically to help runners, ours isn’t one of those (and I bet they’re rare). Improving running is simply not the end goal of Crossfit — and that’s fine.
What’s the “best” workout routine
What really matters, is finding a balance of workouts that makes you feel the the healthiest, happiest and most “you version” of you. I’ve tried nearly every workout out there and every combo — running, crossfit, yoga, cycling, teaching Les Mills RPM, lifting solo, pure barre, golf, you name it. But I always come back to running as the one thing that makes me feel most me. And that’s fine too.
Looking for more about running and/or Crossfit? You may like these posts:
- My thoughts on Crossfit as a Runner
- (Trying to) Balance Crossfit and Running
- My first Crossfit Competition
- Balancing gym memberships + Crossfit
- What every runner needs
Shop my workout gear
To see more of my workout gear, check out this post
Great perspective, really appreciate the insight. I quite enjoy your blog (crosfitter, runner, triathlete)
Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Runat
I imagine it’s hard to balance running with any other type of workout when you’re training 50+ miles a week!
I got injured when I was training for half-marathons and doing crossfit a lot, so I understand how it can be hard to juggle.
Is Tommy still doing it? 🙂
Thanks for sharing! I started a strength program about 4 months ago through the sports rehab/movement specialist I go to. He is awesome and everything is to complement running. I do 2 workouts a week and one usually is an 60-75 minutes and the other is 30-45. Very manageable during marathon training (gearing up for my first Boston!). On 4 other days I do mobility work that he has specific for me and certain weaknesses, that takes 10-15 minutes post-run. He even updated for me two weeks ago after I went in with a new complaint. All that to say I highly recommend it for something in the future! https://www.chirofarm.com/outdoor-athlete/
Interesting write-up! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Being a “slash” or hybrid athlete is challenging (but fun!). I haven’t run a marathon and tend towards 5k or 10ks. However, I also love obstacle course racing (Spartans), which include some CrossFit elements. I dropped from 150 lbs to 140 lbs for a ~12 mile Spartan Beast race in 2017 because I thought I had to…in 2018 I competed at 150 and improved my time by 1 hour (same course). At 5’7″ this is fairly significant weight gain but like you I felt more like myself. This winter I’ve traded running for more weight training (up to 165). I think it’s healthy for athletes to explore different regiments and body weights. It keeps things fresh and IMO reduces likelihood burnout and injuries. Keep running strong!
I think that it’s a shame that your coaches couldn’t support your fitness goals. I’ve been super inconsistent with my gym attendance for the past year (since being postpartum), going one or twice a week, and sometimes not at all. But my coaches are always super supportive of me whenever I do show up and never rag on me for any of the scaling that I find necessary.
Like Hillary said, I can’t imagine trying to balance 50+ miles with any other training and I know how often CF destroys my legs, so good for you for realizing what works best for you 🙂
Only running trains for running events. Marathon runners are skinny, quite the opposite of crossfit athletes. 3 years of gains depleting to support the marathoners body.
Those arms though! Have you ever thought about Orange Theory? I like it because it incorporates running and is helping tone me up