My back went out on Christmas Eve. I took that as a sign to slow down, cozy up to a heating pad, and try to eat my weight in cookies and chocolate. It was all part of a serious backslide that started on Halloween (is it not strange that we send our children out in grotesque costumes to beg for candy? especially when we know we’re going to wind up eating most of that candy ourselves?). So now I’m up to my ears in diet and exercise new years’ resolutions.
Luckily, I don’t have too far to go to get back on the exercise wagon. I’ve been developing a near-fanatical devotion to yoga for the past three years, and it’s hands-down the best thing I’ve ever done for myself that doesn’t involve a cute pair of shoes. Ok, ok – I’m being glib about a life-changing practice, but I’d be happy if I could convince just one cynic that yoga isn’t all weird chanting, incense, and the kind of flexibility usually required for a casting call at Cirque du Soleil. Seriously, people, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Just imagine taking ten deep breaths in a quiet room, stretching until every muscle is thoroughly relaxed, and then multiply that sense of peace by a factor of ten. Spiritual, schmiritual – it just feels good.
Still not convinced about yoga? That’s ok. There’s plenty of other ways to get your exercise on: running (a classic), Pilates (trendy, but still good – like yoga without the breathing), and here’s a new one: CrossFit Training.
I’d heard the phrase ‘CrossFit Training’ but didn’t know anything about it until a friend mentioned that her husband was training as a coach. She said it’s like working out in someone’s garage – that most of the equipment looks like it’d been put together from stuff around the house. You can do it in groups, and the emphasis is on practical, functional movements – strengthening you for the way you have to move every day in your life. Hmmm… I’m intrigued. There’s something very appealing about the low-tech, group dynamic approach (remember, I’m coming at it from a yogi’s minimalist perspective… I don’t even need shoes, for petesakes). So I decided to take a closer look.
The flyer my friend gave me said “Get into the best shape of your life,” and I’d be lying if I said that promise didn’t start my adrenalin pumping. The flyer mentioned “high-intensity workouts designed to optimize your physical competence, building strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, speed, power, and mental toughness.” Namaste, indeed.
So I looked a little deeper. “Our specialty is not specializing” is my favorite line from the website (http://www.crossfit.com). Love that… our culture is out of control with specialization (do we really need stores that sell only one type of item? really?). I learned that CFT has a devoted following among military and police personnel, martial artists, experts on nutrition and supplementation, and coaches and athletes from dozens of sports. So they’ve got credibility covered. On the other hand, it sounded just a tiny bit intimidating. I’m just a mom who does yoga – I can’t remember the last time I had to tackle a perp – is this too intense and serious for me? But all workouts are scaled to each individual’s ability, and CFT can boast that its devotees include Olympic athletes, grandparents, cage fighters, and housewives.
I called and spoke to a very nice guy named Dolph Geurds who runs two CFT facilities (http://www.crossfitmercer.com), and got some more good news. There’s a FREE workout offered every Saturday at 9:30am. If you’re interested, contact Dolph (609.498.5221 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and mention you read it here on PrincetonScoop. Why not? There’s nothing to lose but those extra holiday pounds.
Cary Sullivan is a freelance writer, editorial consultant, and community volunteer. She enjoyed a variety of editorial roles during her 25 years in corporate publishing, and holds a degree in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She moved to Hopewell from New York City with her husband and son nine years ago.