As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, no one can avoid the fact that summer is approaching and with it comes sunny days filled with bikinis, short shorts and topless tanning (just me?). And as someone who marginally tries to stay fit and is always in search of a new challenge, the lure of CrossFit has been enticing. Enticing and terrifying, of course.
In its most basic form, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that focuses on calisthenics and weight exercises. If you’re envisioning burly men flipping Mack Truck tires across a field, you’re not far off. The practice uses everything from barbells and dumbbells to rowing machines and sandbags in an effort to get you moving and lifting. Which is to say, it is designed to work every muscle in your body and make you cry your own sweat. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The newest space in Toronto that specializes in this type of torture is CrossFit YKV, a premiere Yorkville gym. My first thought upon walking through their doors is that I’ve just stepped foot into my final resting place. The brightly lit room is filled to the brim with rowing machines, weighted plates, ropes, rings and barbells. But before I can change my mind and run right out, Instructor Blair leads me to the floor to begin.
And begin we do. Our afternoon class consisted of rowing, burpees (oh god, the burpees), crab walks, bear walks, deadlifts, weighted squats and rope climbing. Mercifully, Blair saw my trepidation at the thought of climbing a rope and allowed me to only use them to pull myself from a seated position into a standing one and back down again. One of the best parts about CrossFit is that since there are so many different workouts to be done, it can cater to a client of any skill level.
Most of the workouts were completed on a clock. Heavy lifting allows for a few beautiful moments of rest in between, while cardio and squatting becomes a race against time. The fitness freak with the best time gets their face up on the board. (FYI, I did not make it up there.) Somehow, the hour goes by fast yet painstakingly slow. Don’t ask, CrossFit is beyond explanation.
I’m not going to lie to you; CrossFit is hard. Really hard. Once it’s all over however, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride. I deadlifted more weight than I ever thought remotely possible. I held a barbell over my head while squatting. I basically climbed a rope and touched the ceiling. Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the point.
While I’m not quite a convert to the cult of CrossFit just yet (burpees = death), I can say that it’s ideal for people looking to challenge themselves physically. I was told that even people new to the idea of working out can partake, but I found myself thinking that most of what I was doing would be unbearable if I hadn’t been lifting weights recently.
If you’re looking for one of those fitness routines where you work out without feeling like you’re working out, then CrossFit is not for you. You’re looking for Zumba. If you want something that will kick your ass and leave you feeling it days later (and trust me, you do) then CrossFit YKV is your new favourite spot.
“Busy B” is a new column where intrepid contributor Bianca Teixeira attempts to better herself through fitness classes, skin care treatments, therapy sessions and more. Follow along every month and judge for yourself whether or not Busy B’s experiments are right for you!