Prior to CrossFit, I would go to the gym after work doing the same types of lifting I’d done my whole life – all the types of bench press, leg press, leg extensions, backs & bis/chest & tris – typical bro gym stuff. I would do some cardio and then spend an hour doing sets of 10 on whatever I felt like doing. I don’t know that I didn’t make progress on any particular area, but I don’t know that I had any specific goals other than “do strong things”. And frankly, I wasn’t good at any of them.

The gym I belonged to offered a 6-week training class, which was basically what people thought of CrossFit back in 2009 – we did some box jumps and some burpees. They had some big tires we hit with hammers, and some big ropes we … did whatever thing you do with a big rope. It was actually pretty fun and a much better workout than what I’d been doing on my own.

I ended up talking with some people about doing real CrossFit and was talked into giving it a shot.

I remember the very first CrossFit workout I did: Do 150 pushups. Every time you stop, run 100 yards. I had been doing the “100 pushup challenge” so I thought I was prepared. I was not. Several days later, I could move my arms again and decided this brand of insanity was for me.

I was definitely nervous when I started out. I had lifted as part of high school sports, but even with that experience there wasn’t much foundational material that I knew – my back squats were nowhere close to parallel, my power cleans were a bicep-curl-and-pray, I’d never even attempted a front squat, much less a full clean, and what’s this about a snatch???  Plus you’re working out alongside some remarkably fit individuals, all of whom appear to know exactly what they’re doing… it can definitely be intimidating.

So why did I keep doing it? And why do I (hopefully) wake up at 5:45 every morning to do it? In no particular order:

  • Workouts last an hour, max (now including some dynamic mobility!)  No more slogging through some cardio and then slogging through some 3×10 sets waiting for people to get out of my way so I can do more bench press.
  • Someone else plans my workouts. I don’t have to put any mental thought into what I’m going to do – I just show up and do it. I’ve read some articles about the mental cost of making decisions, and I have been very happy to eliminate those decisions from my life.
  • The guy who founded (developed?) CrossFit, Greg Glassman, defines fitness as “increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains” From a physical standpoint that is what CrossFit has given me. In English, I can do more, faster, and better than I ever could before.

So that’s a sales pitch for CrossFit.  But CrossFit MVA, compared with some other gyms I’ve experienced over the years, is a cut above, for several reasons:

  • The coaching. Coaches at MVA are top notch athletes with years of CrossFit experience.  The coaches here are as dedicated as the athletes, and they’re all pretty great people too. They train alongside us, they know what motivates us, and they obviously put in the time and effort to help us succeed.
  • The planning. In line with the coaching, the planning that goes into our workouts is obvious. Whether it’s working through a 6-week squat cycle or a series of “fun” workouts building our engine and mentality up for the Open, everything we do is planned out ahead of time.
  • The structure.  People can (and do!) scale and modify workouts all the time, but when you’re in the gym for a class, you’re working on the same things as everyone else who’s there for that class.  There’s no distractions where some people are working on strength and some folks working on skill movements, etc. Each class time is dedicated and only people in that class are in the gym at that time.
  • The people. We have a great community of people at MVA. There are people of all skill levels, and it’s great to know that when I do show up at 6am (or any other time), everyone is going to work hard and have a great time doing it.

In closing all I’ve got to say is that you should come in and check us out. Challenge yourself, and see how you feel. Keep doing the work, and it feels pretty dang good.

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