I first joined a CrossFit gym on Long Island near the end of my senior year of high school. I wanted to get fit, and CrossFit seemed just intense enough to deliver results. It was almost an example of me wanting to work harder than smarter.
CrossFit is defined as a fitness regimen that focuses on high-intensity interval training. It was created and licensed by Greg Glassman and is based on functional movements.
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The first day was intimidating. The gym was in tones of gray, buff men and women were lifting impossible weights, and I was entirely lost. My trainer was an older man with a better physique than I’d ever seen on anybody before, and he guided me through some simple sets. He was a very laid-back coach, only giving me what I was comfortable with, and never pushing my boundaries too far. He customized sets for me every day, and I quickly found myself losing weight and feeling more fit, though my entire body would burn for days on end. I went there 4 days a week, taking Friday and the weekend off. While I don’t think I became stronger overall, when I wasn’t sore, I did begin to feel more agile and flexible.
When I came to Boston, I knew I wanted to continue with CrossFit, because I felt it had been the most effective fitness regimen I had worked with thus far. I found a CrossFit place near Fenway and registered as a student for one-hour training sessions as many times in a week as I wanted.
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I felt the difference as soon as I walked into the gym. Instead of the laid-back atmosphere I was used to, I was presented with something different. Both insecurity and confidence mixed in the air and the coaches presented themselves as role models. I took this as a challenge, likening the atmosphere to something of friendly competition. However, as time went on, the coaches began treating my inexperience as a liability.
Despite having done CrossFit for months, I was considered a beginner — those who were experienced had been working for years. Consequently, I struggled with a lot of material. The difference between my first gym and my new one in Boston was that the new coaches seemed to have no true desire to help me. I felt like a burden when simply asking for help. It weighed on my mental health, and I eventually quit prematurely, despite the fact that quitting made me feel guilty. I didn’t feel or see myself getting any healthier in the Boston CrossFit program, and I believe it was largely due to the mindset the atmosphere put me in.
I resigned to using FitRec and creating my own workouts, which has historically been a struggle for me. However, I’ve learned how to motivate myself to meet my goals and found myself feeling more mentally and physically healthy. What matters is the mindset your environment puts you in — so again, work smarter instead of harder.