My introduction to the box.
Photography by Olivia Bee
Normally, I’m a toning and lengthening kind of girl. As head costume designer for ABC’s “Switched at Birth,” I pay attention to how clothes look on the body. So I like my workouts to accentuate lean muscular form, which is why I generally gravitate toward studio classes and power yoga. Still, I know it’s important to change up my routine. My boyfriend told me he’d tried a CrossFit class and found it more fun and less intimidating than he thought it might be. I never let him one- up me—not even in Costa Rica, when he jumped 40 feet from one waterfall pool to another. So I figured, CrossFit, hey, why not?
When I was gearing up to go to my first CrossFit class, I’ll admit I was a little daunted. It seems like people who do it are really into it, and it’s not like yoga, where you can do one class and then come back a month later. Plus, my body is not a typical CrossFit body. I’m strong and have muscle, but my frame is smaller. I wondered, Am I going to be able to do all of the exercises?
The community aspect I really liked, because it made me work harder, and it’s motivational to see the person next to you really working too. I can’t do the gym because it is so solitary. I want to be part of a team. While CrossFit isn’t a team sport, there are other people involved and it makes you feel like you’re supporting one another.
Basile, the instructor for my Intro to CrossFit class, started with a friendly lecture introducing us to the basics: how every movement we learn in CrossFit is applicable to real life. Then we stretched, focusing on opening up our hips, and began the foundational movements of CrossFit, mostly emphasizing the squat. Oh, did we squat! Squats upon squats. And then we added bench press and kettlebell swings.
I noticed while we were doing these that Basile paid very close attention to not only my form (and that of everyone else in the class), but also our physical vulnerabilities. I feel like a lot of times classes can be so large. There is a teacher who watches you, yes, but she’s not necessarily correcting movement. Here, even though the workout was really hard, Basile made sure none of us was truly overextending ourselves.
Next, Basile showed us the ropes—literally. We learned how to hoist ourselves up by positioning one foot and snaking the other leg around, so as not to rely so much on upper body strength. I surprised myself by climbing all the way to the top, touching the ultra-high ceiling of the CrossFit box.
"It’s motivational to see the person next to you really working too."
All of these things led up to a more fluid experience—the Workout of the Day, better known as the WOD—where we incorporated many of these movements into a series of repetitions. Today we kept it simple, mostly holding plates over our heads while we lunged.
It was competitive in a good way. If someone in front of you did the rep well, you wanted to do even better. I also liked the fact that you worked super hard for a short amount of time and built strength and stamina and then it was over. Or at least for that day!
In my career, I started at the bottom as a production assistant and worked my way up to where I am now. I know what it’s like to set a goal and push through to get somewhere bigger than I could imagine. And that’s kind of what it was like when I hopped up on the rope, and later finished who knows how many squats. When I put my mind to something, I usually end up getting further than I ever thought I could. Like that waterfall in Costa Rica, this class was something I had never planned on, but was so invigorating that it opened my eyes to trying things that I might otherwise be scared of. You never know what you’re really capable of until you try something outside your comfort zone.