Is this muscle-building workout as intense as everyone says?
I wasn’t just nervous about checking out Windy City CrossFit—I was scared as hell. A few of my Facebook friends do CrossFit, and here’s a typical post after a workout: “I haven’t been this sore in a looong time. I don’t know about others who participated, but those CrossFit sessions yesterday kicked my ass!” It’s not unheard of to throw up at the gym.
CrossFit works like this: It’s strength training and conditioning in a group setting, using varied, high-intensity repetitive workouts that last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and emphasize muscle building. Workouts of the day are called WODs, just one of many terms in a secret language spoken by CrossFitters (box means CrossFit gym, globo gym is a derisive term for a commercial gym, Oly is Olympic lifting…).
But lucky for newbies like me, you don’t dive headfirst into the lingo or the intense workouts. Windy City CrossFit—an industrial, no-frills space without even a front desk—requires new members to graduate from a four-week Foundations course, where you’ll learn the basic moves and techniques associated with the workouts while preparing your body for the intensity that will eventually take place. But these beginning classes aren’t for wimps. One of my sessions involved jumping rope, hanging on monkey bars, dead lifts and Russian swings (swinging a kettlebell with locked arms, using the momentum of your swaying core and hips) to a soundtrack of Lenny Kravitz and Bush.
Once you graduate to the regular CrossFit sessions, you’ll find yourself in a supportive, eager group that’s all about taking your workout to the next level. In my case, that meant sore hamstrings and shoulders the next day. But it also meant feeling stronger and having the urge to return. Most members (former college athletes, marathoners and other fitness enthusiasts) adopt nicknames, and many cheer each other on during especially tough reps. I can see myself being on this team—I just wonder what my nickname will be. 4043 N Ravenswood Ave (windycitycrossfit.com). Four-month Foundation memberships $275 for first month and $190/month for remainder. Continuing memberships $190/month.