How often have you been to the gym and “worked out” for more than an hour only to leave and wonder what it was you actually accomplished there? That was me for a long time. Sometimes I would even dread walking into the gym because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I got there. Some days I would follow someone else’s workout. Other days I would hop from machine to machine thinking, “Oh it’s a full body day.” Who was I kidding? I wasn’t getting fitter; I was just checking the box.
Fast-forward a few years. After spending a weekend with CrossFit HQ’s seminar staff and a few dozen other open-minded participants, I realized I wasn’t working out to get fit at all. I had no way of knowing if there was any improvement in my fitness. Why? Because I never measured anything.
Now, maybe I picked up a heavier set of dumbbells or maybe moved the pin down on the leg extension machine, but that wasn’t fitness. I never took the time to see how things were improving. I eventually learned that to be fit one needs to work several different areas of fitness: strength, endurance, stamina, flexibility, agility, accuracy, coordination, speed and power. When you look at each one, all are essential for a fit and healthy life. All of them can be trained and practiced in a way to be fun and measured!
Today my training looks much different. The shorter amount of time I spend in “class” is now a lot more fun, especially when I’m with friends, and I know exactly if I’m getting more fit. Training has become more efficient, which is great since my schedule has become busier. It’s easier to look back and see if I’ve become stronger, if I am able to run longer or faster, and see if my flexibility has improved. All these essential attributes of fitness I ignored before are measured with CrossFit.
No more wondering where the last few years of training have taken me. No more wasting time doing mindless routines on movements that won’t help in the real world. No more boring hours in a gym with people I don’t really know. Now I’m having fun, and I can see my progress!
Eli Capel is Owner/Head Coach at Crossfit Pawling, and a Level 2 Trainer.