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McConville and Wright Introduce CrossFit to Boston College

This is part of Her Campus BC's "Have a Healthy New Year" series, which focuses on eating healthier, getting in shape, and making 2011 great without going to extremes.  Look for a new article in this series every day this week!

I walked onto Court 10 not quite sure what to expect.  It was early September, and I was trying out CrossFit for the first time.  Thousands of squats, lunges, sprints, lateral jumps, sit ups, burpees, beads of sweat, and sips from my water bottle later, I am beginning my second semester with CrossFit - and I am addicted and in love.  The workout is unlike anything you have ever done before. 

Justin Wright, junior chemistry major and CrossFit instructor at the Plex grew up in the gym.  With a background in boxing and wrestling, Wright was used to a tough workout.  However, when he discovered CrossFit in the summer of 2009, it didn’t take him long to realize that although it was similar to what he had done before, it was much harder.  “It kicked my ass, end of story,” said Wright.  

Senior Mike McConville, sociology major and CrossFit instructor, however, told a different story about his fitness background.  As we sat in Lower, he laughed telling the story about a recruiting trip to West Point at the age of 16 (Mike is in the Army ROTC).  He remembers taking the pull-up portion of the fitness test.  “I did one, and the girl next to me did like 16,” says McConville.  Now, however, Mike is a fitness professional.  “I look at everything in life like a challenge that I’m going to conquer.”

McConville started doing CrossFit a few years ago with now BC alum and Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Eric Cash.  Wright joined along and the three began the CrossFit Boston College club.  They started posting workouts online and doing the CrossFit workouts together.  McConville already knew the biology and body mechanics behind CrossFit due to his experience as a paramedic, so the three taught a Total Body Conditioning class at the Plex, until Wright and McConville decided to try out teaching a CrossFit class this past fall semester. 
Although they initially didn’t know what to expect, the class has become a huge success with about 30-45 attendees every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  So what exactly is CrossFit?  “CrossFit is a means to waking up every morning and feeling good about what you’re doing that day.  You don’t have as many bad days.  You wake up, and you’re just ready.  It’s a lifestyle.”  An advantage of CrossFit is that every class is different and the various exercises, though high in intensity, are short in duration.  Therefore, the hour-long class moves along at an unbelievable pace that never leaves one watching the clock.
Wright and McConville spoke passionately about the community aspect of CrossFit.  The CrossFit community is one that works together in friendly competition, helping and encouraging each other to succeed.  “You just see people more confident with everything in life.  If you can get through a workout, you can get through anything.  Other things in life don’t seem as stressful in comparison,” says Wright.  Much of CrossFit is about setting personal goals, and pushing yourself to succeed individually.  “The community wants people to work hard and be happy.  If you don’t cheat yourself during a workout, you won’t cheat yourself in life.  It teaches you discipline,” says McConville.
Both instructors agreed that one of the most challenging things about CrossFit is the initial start.  “Just close your eyes and jump,” says McConville, “Why wouldn’t you want to do something that will make you happier, healthier, and fitter, not only in the long run, but tomorrow, in all aspects of your life?” 
Although your first month of CrossFit will most likely result in soreness after each class, within a month or so you will find yourself building up incredible strength.  That said, you do the CrossFit workout at your own pace and intensity.  After a while, 100 air squats in so little time doesn’t seem so daunting.  Soon, instead of limping across campus, you’re climbing the million dollar stairs with ease.  Next thing you know, you can’t wait to get back from break to see your CrossFit friends and to start sweating. 

“The results are real,” says Wright, and beginning my fifth month doing CrossFit, I can verify Wright’s statement.  I am a group fitness instructor and soon-to-be personal trainer.  I have spent hours upon hours on ellipticals, runs, swims, doing pilates, and yoga, but CrossFit takes your workout to the next level.  CrossFit gets you in shape, both in mind and body, unlike anything else out there. 

Looking for a push to start?  McConville referred me to this Charles Darwin quote.

“In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.”

Julianne is an Ohio native studying communication at Boston College with a concentration in journalism. She got involved with Her Campus BC when the chapter launched in December 2010. She began as an editor and contributing writer, and since has moved up the ranks to Campus Correspondent. Aside from working for Her Campus, Julianne is a certified personal trainer at Boston College's Flynn Recreational Complex and teaches group fitness as well. During her sophomore year, Julianne was a part of the Arrupe Program at BC and traveled to Guatemala, learning about the culture, political, social, economic, and religious issues of the country. Her goals post graduation include writing for a health and fitness magazine or working in communications for college or professional athletics. As for now, however, she is enjoying life at the University she loves so much! An avid hockey and football fan, one can always find Julianne in the stands rooting on BC and the Boston Bruins! Other hobbies include running, yoga, cooking, baking, and photography.
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