Exercise has been a regular part of my life for a long time. I was a Navy Diver, I am a runner, triathlete, and ice hockey player. But as I get older, I realize my risk for injuries, especially those of chronic overuse, gets greater.
So, I joined True Athletics to gain balance in my training, better core strength, mobility, and flexibility. I didn’t expect any other results. But, within 3 months of training I had cut back my average running time from sub-10 minute miles to sub-9 minute miles.
I improved my PR in an Olympic distance triathlon in New Hampshire this past summer and can’t wait to see what results I can achieve by next summer. Hopefully, place in my age group
How I Became a CrossFit Yogi – Julie B
After several years of practicing Vinyasa yoga, I was looking for a change. That old climbing injury in my right shoulder was not feeling so good and my Vinyasa class wasn’t helping that (too many sun salutations). I wanted intensity without the repetitive stress. I first went to an all women’s boot camp-like gym, but after a few months, decided that it wasn’t the best fit for me. I mean, some women love that kind of place, but it just wasn’t for me. The crowded classes, manicures and made up faces at 6:30 am started to get to me, but I didn’t know what my other options were.
Ironically, one day one of the instructors pointed out how they weren’t “like Crossfit”. They weren’t like CrossFit? Hmmmm….that made me curious. I had been looking for something “different” and CrossFit may have been it. So I ended up doing some research about CrossFit and discovered two gyms in my area. One gym’s website had pictures of their coaches online and that immediately turned me off. The coaches looked sort of like Drill Sergeants. I wasn’t looking for someone who was going to yell at me or applaud me when I puked. Don’t get me wrong, some people respond well to that. Not me. I end up crying. It’s not pretty.
I wasn’t going to trust my exercise program to just anyone either. As a yoga teacher I know that bad form can lead to injury and I had too many people counting on me to be injured due to poor attention to technique. I was looking for a knowledgeable coaching staff who knew about and supported proper form and technique. So I chose the gym that had experienced and knowledgeable coaches who seemed supportive and unlikely to yell at me (CrossFit True Athletics). The fact that their website had plenty of pictures of their members (all shapes, ages, and backgrounds) told me that gym was member-focused and wasn’t so much based on hero/coach worship. And finally, the fact that one of the coaches was female and a climber finally convinced me to call the gym to set up my first intro class. And so, I gave the gym a try and…loved it! A year later, I still love the workouts, the community, the fact that we have journals to keep track of our progress, the competition, the compression socks! I love it all.
But wait, how do I reconcile my Crossfit life with my life as a Yogi? Easy! Let me count the ways:
1. The Movements
Yogis and Crossfitters need to be both strong and flexible. I was able to squat, do a handstand, and use my full range of motion in order to perform a lot of the Crossfit movements.
It’s all about Balance. Both CrossFit and Yoga emphasize balance. There are 10 domains that a typical CrossFitter tries to be above average in. According to the CrossFit Journal, the 10 domains are:
1. cardiovascular/respiratory endurance
A yogi balances themselves physically in cool poses like:
Yogis also talk about energetic balances, yin qualities with yang qualities. We notice the balance in many aspects of life and recognize them as life good/bad, life/death… It’s all life.
At my box, life balances are encouraged too. The head coach often encourages people to take rest days. He reminds people that there is life beyond CrossFit and on those rest days they should go out and experience it! I love that . Oh yeah, and Crossfitter also do handstands, handstand push ups, and other crazy arm balances. So much fun, so little time.
From yoga, I learned about Svadhaya, the practice of self-reflection. In training we were encouraged to keep a journal in order to enable us to reflect upon on our own personal yoga practice and ever-changing perspectives and thoughts about life, yoga, learning, and teaching. As a young girl, I journaled every day. It helped me clear my thoughts and even helped me weed through my heavy adolescent thoughts to find moments of insight and clarity (like, “Wow, maybe breaking up with this guy really IS a good idea! What am I crying about?”). I stopped keeping a journal once I had kids and looked forward to the prospect of journalling about my life once again during my yoga training.
When I was at the all-women’s gym, I felt quite unaware of my own progress. I just felt like I was lifting what ever weight was set in front of me and 30 seconds later, I was frantically moving onto the next activity. I missed this idea of tracking my progress. In the climbing world, climbers are always keeping track of how hard they climb (based on route difficulty ratings). Granted, the route ratings are subjective and depend upon the route, the setter (if climbing indoors), and the attributes of the particular climber (I’m short, so give me a “crimpy” route that’s not too “reachy” and I’ll be happy). I was so relieved to learn that CrossFitters are renowned for keeping journals of their own personal progress. I love this because it helps me see my own progress and keeps me motivated to out-do myself and to strive for PRs (personal records all the time). I’m not competing against anyone else. I am competing against myself.
4. Mental Focus
Yogis and CrossFitters alike need mental focus. Enough said. Let the Jedi-Mind Training begin.
Breathing and breath control are crucial in both yoga and CrossFit. Coming in with years of experience with Pranayama (breathwork) really accelerated my ability to relax parts of my body that were holding tension and to engage other muscle groups when necessary (picture lifting weights with intensity, but without turning blue).
6. Core Strength
You need solid core strength for both yoga and for CrossFit.
One last point. Once I started CrossFitting, my yoga practice began to change. The muscle-based very athletic Vinyasa yoga that I was practicing just wasn’t serving me anymore. It was too much on my muscles and I knew I needed something different. In response to my changing exercise regimen, I learned about Yin Yoga, a slow, passive practice that stimulates deep connective tissue, joints, ligaments, and tendons. The long-held poses lend themselves to a meditative and contemplative state. I also saw the need in my community for a yoga class made specifically for very active people. People that have very physically active lives, and would benefit from a slower practice depending upon their own seasonal activities. And so was born my class called, “Yoga for Athletes”. So my Vinyasa practice may have “softened”, but my meditation practice has become so much stronger and steady. I feel more complete as a yogi now. Who knew that CrossFit could ignite such change and transformation?
And here lies the story of a CrossFit Yogi. It’s not so strange after all.
I just wanted to give you both a huge thank you. Training with you over the past year helped me develop the mindset that I could finish the race. Without it, I’m not sure I would have had the mental toughness to get through it.
We finished in 1 hr and 43 minutes, meeting our goal of 8 minute miles (we were actually a little faster than that). It felt awesome and the event was great. That being said, I’m really looking forward to giving my legs a break and getting back to crossfit more regularly. Thanks again!
See you soon.
I Just wanted to say that I absolutely love the classes. We always have time to learn all the different exercises and correct movements when lifting heavy weights. You made this experience so easy to love. I feel so comfortable talking and working with you guys. So excited about this program!
I had heard mixed reviews about Crossfit, mainly about instructors not really paying attention to form and also that it was pretty easy to get hurt. I did not find any of that to be at True Athletics. You guys make it a point to really stress the importance of form and make sure that we all had the form correct and had learned the exercise before we moved on to the next one.
I wanted to thank you for being so patient with your instruction; I came to your class with a bit of prior knowledge and experience with crossfit, however, I had more questions than I did answers. You carefully and intelligently answered all of my questions and put any concern that I may have had at ease.
I would also like to let you know that I haven’t used my inhaler in quite a while! As someone who has struggled with exercise-induced asthma for over 20yrs, I was happy to find that regular work at your facility has significantly lessened my asthmatic symptoms! Not only do I feel fitter and stronger after working out at True Athletics, but I feel healthier as well. Good-bye inhaler, and hello WOD! I look forward to spending more time at True Athletics and, with your help, seeing my transition from “average individual” to “athlete”. Thank you again for all of your hard work and dedicate to your members!”
I have to say you do a great job of breaking down complicated exercises and explaining them on a level everyone can understand. Even with a decent size class I still received a lot of one-on-one attention, which I find important, versus just kind of being a number in a big group of people which I’m sure happens at most places. I think one of the biggest strengths of True-Athletics is that know everyone by name, small family type approach. Personally, I really had a great time and it literally took one class to get me completely hooked.
In addition I think your love of CrossFit and desire to truly help people improve is easy to see and people respond to that. This is by far the best shape I’ve ever been in and I’ve only been doing this 3 months. I’m sure it would cost most people a small fortune to get the level of training we get at the Saturday competition team workouts, I really appreciate it.”
“I was sore, but it was a good sore. You’re facility is wonderful…I just wanted to let you know from a business perspective you are doing a PHENOMENAL job! From our first conversation, it’s clear you know what you’re doing and you love what you do. Your website is well done and easy to navigate, and your follow through has been truly impeccable – Keep it up!”
“I’ve worked out for a very long time and never have I seen & felt such dramatic changed over such a short period of time.”
I want to start by saying I am excited to be a new member of your Crossfit family. I enjoyed my first class last night (even though I can’t do a darn pull-up).
The Coaches were extremely helpful in not only learning the correct moves but also becoming familiar with your equipment. It was nice to have them give us that more individualized attention as beginners.
I was really intimidated at the thought of beginning the program, but the way you eased us in made me feel very comfortable. I enjoyed the experience and hope to continue with CrossFit for a while.
I’m pretty excited that we (Jeff & I) began the program. We have found CrossFit to be just the kind of activity we need to keep us interested and engaged.
I found the classes to be a very informative experience. You taught the basics to weightlifting very well. As someone who hasn’t ever done any lifting, I found it to be very helpful. The repetition was key in helping me get the movements right.
I learn something new with every class. I always go home looking forward to the next class, which is more than I can say about other classes/programs I’ve been involved in.
The coaches always provide enough individual attention. It’s also nice having multiple coaches mixing it up, as they each offer their own perspectives and teaching style.
The coaches were great with taking their time helping everyone out and making sure we all did things correctly. It wasn’t rushed and you were able to make sure we had enough time to get things down correctly. Now I’m just excited to keep at it and get better!
I must say however, even with a history of athletics and gym memberships, it became apparent within the first week that I had a lot to learn. My interest was peaked by the aspect of learning new movements that would challenge me and keep me motivated.
Now that I have a couple of classes under my belt I am so glad that I joined. The instruction continues in a way that each member can grow at their own pace and still fully participate. I have to admit that even while I write this my legs are saying “what the heck did you do to us today” but it was well worth it and I am looking forward to my next class. I can’t help but know with certainty that this experience will increase my strength, speed, endurance and health again and again.To wrap it up, I feel as if I found your program at just the right time. Along with your great coaching and great facility, there’s nothing to hold me back. Thank you for this opportunity. I am looking forward to being a member of your growing family of CrossFit athletes.