Picture on the left (3/7/11) v. Right side (3/7/12)
So I suppose it’s time for me to do a Before and After Photoset. I have been CrossFitting for over a year now (1yr was 3/7/2012) and have gotten amazing results as far as my performance and physique goes.
I used to be the scrawny kid, at 6’1” ish and 165 lbs, I entered college never having been in a gym other than to play basketball and run the PE mile in high school. I decided my freshman year that I wanted to get stronger and started lifting with my roommates, doing the bench, back and bicep/tricep rotation like most people do. Cardio was out of the question. I was a smoker and was way out of shape, but was getting stronger and progressed from a 95lb bench press to a 115lb bench press in the latter half of my freshman year. I didn’t squat, but did a lot of situps, lat pulldowns and bicep curls. My physique and strength improved a little, but not really significantly.
My sophomore year, I continued to lift, with various people, and at the tail end of it/beginning of my junior year, I started working out with a guy from my school’s Army ROTC program. He was competing for the top PT score in the nation at the time and started getting me into heavier/longer workouts. We routinely spent 4 hours in the gym lifting, followed by a 4-6 mile run. I got stronger in my lifts, I began to squat, continued to bench and use various weight machines regularly. By the end of a week, he would have me use every one in the gym at least once; again, maintaining the rotation of muscle groups each day we worked out: upper body/back, then lower body. In addition to that rotation, every day we did a hellish abdominal routine that I wasn’t able to do at the same intensity he was. I continued this until March of my senior year when a friend of mine, Ben (whom I met Ben Smith (article WFS) through) suggested I try CrossFit.
I had never heard of it, so I got online and did some research. I don’t exactly remember what I had found, but he told me that I should do a workout called “Angie” three times over the period of our spring break, and that he would start up working with me when he got back. Well, I did it. Instantly I was hooked, and found myself wondering where this program had been my whole life. It was hard, it sucked, but at the end you knew you accomplished something real. You worked hard and were spent. It didn’t feel like the 4 hours in the gym used to. I worked hard then too, but this was different. I gave everything I had. I did more research, and started doing workouts on my own before he even got back, and when he did, we had opposite schedules anyway. It took us a while to catch back up and we still workout pretty regularly together.
I have learned a lot on my journey this past year and have gained a lot of ground physically. I have found new limits to push and have forged myself into the best shape I have ever been in. I have a new goal now, not just to be stronger, but be able to accomplish more work faster, in every workout, every day. My newest long term goal is to make it to the CrossFit Games. CrossFit has changed my life and I will likely stick with it, until some other program proves itself better, which I doubt. ;)
Here is where I’ve seen the most improvement: a short list of some of my more significant accomplishments. I didn’t start keeping track of my workouts until August 2011, so about 4 months into the new lifestyle is where I begin to have some data.
Flat Bench Press: 155(before CrossFit)-230(2/3/12)
Strict Press: 75lbs (before CrossFit)-150lbs(2/20/12)
Back Squat: 135lbs (before CrossFit)-255lbs(3/20/12)
Deadlift: 205lbs (before CrossFit)-365lbs(3/19/12)
Power Clean: None (before CrossFit)-225lbsx3reps(3/30/12)
Thruster: None (before CrossFit)-185lbs(4/2/12)
I haven’t done a max in some of the movements, like Overhead Squat, Snatch, Jerk, etc because the gym I work out in doesn’t allow weight-dropping. However I look forward to joining the local CrossFit gym in my area soon, and will likely see a spike in my strength when I do.
I have improved my conditioning as well, but this is harder to explain I think, to anyone not familiar with CrossFit.
My “Cindy” has improved from 10 rounds to more than 15 rounds (3/20/12) over the course of the year
My “Fran” has improved from 9+ minutes to 6:09(1/2/12)
My “Angie” has improved from 41:35 to 25:00 even (2/20/12)
CrossFit has improved not only my physical capacity, but also my mental capacity. It makes everything else I do in life easier. Pushing through a workout and what it takes mentally to pick that bar back up or do one more rep shows you how you can put all of your effort into everything you take the time to do. It has helped me to see just what I’m capable of and I can’t wait to see how far I can take CrossFit.