Before I start I want to clarify that in this post I’m going to describe the differences between CrossFit and classic bodybuilding from my very personal experience and my point of view. This means I’m not going to write about anything you can read on a book, but what I have experienced myself, even I’ll be talking about features most of us already know about one and another.
It’s been a while now since I started practicing sports, but it was about 5 years ago that I decided to sign up at a gym, with the only goal of making my boddy better, stetically speaking, so I started little by little and I liked it. Then I started caring about my diet and everything started getting improving resulting on a huge change in my body structure. But there was something I started feeling after some time. I started to get bored falling in humdrum routines day after day, trying to vary my exercises and trying to make them more fun. Not sure what it really was, but I was starting to miss something.
I had been told about CrossFit but I, at first, thought it was not for me, that it was a really tough sport which I would not be able to face. But this is exactly what lots of people tend to think when they have not practised (or at least what I’ve heard) it, but maybe I’m wrong. Despite that, I decided to cross the line and give it a try and I realised how wrong I was. I had finally found what I was looking for when I started falling into the monotony of the traditional gym, and what was it? Motivation, desire for self-improvement, innovation… among many others I could ennumerate that CrossFit is providing me now.
It’s hard starting doing CrossFit if you haven’t practised any sports before, which fortunately was not my case, even it took a while for me to get used to the pace of the sessions.
The first couple of weeks were absolutely exhausting… and addictive. This addiction defeated the exhaustion and the eagerness for learning new stuff day after day. I remember my first progression in pullups: I was used to strict pullups, but that’s not the way we approach them (we use kipping/butterfy) in a WOD (this is how trainings are called), or as a bodybuilder would say “those are not proper pullups”. Well, maybe the bodybuilder is right, but when you need to get sets of 21, 15 and 9 (Hi there, Fran) everthing changes. What I mean is it’s a different way of training, aiming for different objectives. Some other progress I’ve made are double unders, handstand pushups, and even a ring muscleup, some weightlifting: clean, jerk, snatch, improve my skills and many other that are yet to come and that I can’t wait for.
CrossFit includes many skills: strength, agility, endurance, coordination and even strategy when it comes to make up your mind on how to pace and break your sets to finish as fast as possible.
The difference here is that, in the gym, you go, train and head back home while in CrossFit, there’s something new every day. I mean: usually, when you go to the gym, you do biceps, triceps, leg, abs, back, shoulders… but it’s basically the same exercises day after day: curls for biceps, triceps pulley, pushups, chinups, pullups for back work… but it has little room for variaations. CrossFit has nothing to do with monotony. You will hardly do the same routine twice: there is some strength work, skills, weightlifting, gymnastics, endurance, cardio… highly variated routines that test you every time you do them and, as time goes by, you can see improvements on your results. This is what is addictive and what makes people like Crossfit. But hey, I’m not saying it’s better than bodybuilding because one man’s meat is another man’s poison and I’m talking from my own point of view.
In this 4 months I’ve been into CrossFit, I’ve changed radically in every aspect: phisically, since it’s a fullbody training everyday; mentally, you get stronger because you fight and defeat your weaknesses. You think you cant but you do, and it’s when you do that you want more and more, and this is what catches you: you set goals for yourself so you always have something new to work on or to achieve. Competitiveness and comradeship merge together when you want to be the first finishing your WOD while you are cheering your buddies up so they do their best, just like you are doing.
CrossFit has made me feel great and also bad, but most of them have a positive component. And this is why I’ll keep on doing CrossFit until something happens, keeping me away from it, because it gets the best out of you and helps you take advantage of it. I encourage you to give it a try and see by yourself if it really catches you as it has done with me and with many that are already practising it.