Last week I attended my third CrossFit class. For those who may be unaware, CrossFit is a strength- and endurance-based workout that has lately been taking the fitness world by storm. Fitness bloggers, celebrities, and professional trainers (including Bob Harper from “The Biggest Loser”) have been heard and seen extolling the virtues of this incredibly trendy workout.
Because of its seemingly overnight popularity, I was extremely leery of testing the CrossFit waters for myself. In the past, my experience with bandwagon health efforts and trendy diets has been less than favorable. I have tried pretty much every fad diet that has ever crossed my path: Atkins, South Beach, The Zone… even the cabbage soup diet for a (very short) while. Each and every time, the results were the same. I’d lose some weight, and then I’d gain it all back – and usually with a few extra pounds in tow.
These experiences have made me wary of trying too many new things when it comes to my weight loss. Trying (and failing) at so many different diets made me cling steadfastly to the “correct” method when I finally “got” it (which in my case is eating whole foods, counting calories, and moderation). Since working out this system, which resulted in a 60-pound weight loss for me, my mentality has been, “Well, I know what has worked in the past, so why should I stray from that?” And while this may be true in some ways, it should definitely not be a hard-and-fast rule either. Doing the same thing over and over again is boring, and variety is the spice of life! Sometimes, that may mean trying out whatever new fitness activity your friends may be all atwitter over: CrossFit, Zumba, Bikram Yoga, Spinning … whatever!
I have recently become aware that my proclivity for skepticism when it comes to jumping on the bandwagon doesn’t need to extend to fitness. As long as you are practicing your fitness activity of choice safely and with a reputable coach/trainer/gym, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to test the waters and see what the buzz is about. I put off trying CrossFit for a long time because I didn’t just want to be part of another fad, but it turns out that I am really enjoying it. And for me, finding any kind of activity that I can even moderately tolerate is a definite boon. Granted, I am a mere three classes in, but that’s three hours I didn’t spend sitting on the couch. And who knows? Maybe finally allowing myself to give this particular trend a try will be result in me finding the fitness activity that I can make a permanent part of my healthy lifestyle.
Though we often lump diet and fitness into one category when thinking about improving our health, the truth of the matter is that they need to be handled very differently. Don’t be afraid to jump on a particular fitness bandwagon just because you’ve had bad experiences doing the same with a diet in the past. You never know what you might find.
Gretchen Powell is a fitness and healthy living blogger in Falls Church. She is not a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or medical doctor, and a medical professional should be consulted before undertaking dramatic diet changes. For more, visit honeyishrunkthegretchen.com.