Am I too ______ to CrossFit?

Fear is a Liar.

As I traveled the USA making friends and learning CrossFit I was fortunate to enter 13 different CrossFit communities.  At each CrossFit box (facility) I found surprising things.  It was not an alpha male dominated environment.  It was warm, friendly and inviting to visit as a total stranger.  These two things among others dismissed many of my expectations of what a CrossFit community would look like and act like.  Below are some in’s and out’s from my journey through CrossFit in the USA, and will likely be found here at The Arsenal:

  • +/- 65% of the most consistent, involved and active members of CrossFit boxes are female
  • I worked out with a gentleman nearing 70 years old
  • I was on the same team for a team WOD (competition for the workout of the day as a team) who was 5’9″ roughly 270 lbs.  She did awesome, and we won
  • The average age of a WOD (Workout of the Day) ranges from 15 years old upwards of 65 years old
  • The range of skill starts at beginner (don’t workout at all and have never done CrossFit) to elite levels and everything in between
  • High fives and fist bumps were rampant, it was very difficult to not be motivated through every minute
  • Even as a stranger everyone seemed to care that I finished the workout and gave my best effort
  • Mental toughness mattered more than anything else, as CrossFit is challenging for every level of athlete
  • Respect and honor were a consistent theme at each location
  • Fun, fun and more fun
  • Family, dogs, kids, roller skates, and much more, quite literally ALL ARE WELCOME

These are gathered from my personal experiences during my travels, and may not be the same as what others have experienced.  However, The Arsenal will be a place where the best of CrossFit will be demonstrated on all levels.  Family, spirit, friends, mind, body, toughness and community to name a few of the “best of’s” that will be staples of The Arsenal.  If you are interested in learning more about our plans, or are interested in a Founding Membership, please reach out via the GET STARTED button on the right.

(I don’t know what gym that image comes from up top, but it is true.  The only thing that makes you incapable of CrossFit is fear.)

What is CrossFit?

First and foremost, CrossFit is awesome!

TheArsenal_Logo_Icon_HighResCutout

It’s a community of people, which says quite a bit about it already.  Millions of people every day go to their box (box = CrossFit Afiliate Gym) and meet the CrossFit Community for what is sure to be a test of fortitude, strength, and courage.  They trust each other to get them through the workout and to do their best at every rep.  After the workout they log onto their gym’s website to see how the rest of their community is doing with their attempt at the workout of the day and wonder how their friends and co-workers did and if they are gaining ground on their goals.  The next day when a member of the community doesn’t come to the workout, their family is on the comms providing support for them to make it to the box on make-up day to complete the workout.  We care when members of our community need us, and we are there every day to support them.

Second, CrossFit is a workout regimen

A very broad one.  In fact, CrossFit’s main speciality is not specializing in anything.  Our definition of fitness is: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.  This brings about two important questions;

  • What does it mean to increase one’s Capacity? and;
  • What does it mean to do this across broad time and modal domains?

The answer is fairly simple…

Increasing capacity is an increase in your ability to do physical work as measures in physical terms such as Force, Distance and Time.  Force is generally expressed as either weight or some other load such as band thickness or a percentage of bodyweight, while distance and time are generally self-explained.  Sometimes this can get tricky because we often combine these terms to get power (force/time), or impulse (force x time), or velocity (distance/time), or even acceleration (force/time/time) as a way to measure performance and determine the outcome of a training period.  To do this across broad time and modal domains means that you can do a lot of different things (modes), each for a variety of time periods.  to explain this more practically lets take a simple example, running.  You can run either for a short time, lets say 12 seconds, or you can run for a long time, maybe 30 minutes.

This seems simple enough, but wait… there’s more.  If you run for 12 seconds, how far would you expect to run?  90 meters (roughly a football field) would not be a terrible result, but what if you ran 100 meters… you have increased your capacity in that mode (running) and time (12 seconds) domain.  CrossFit trains its athletes to increase their capacity across many modes (running, jumping, weight lifting, gymnastics, and so on…) and many time domains, from a few seconds to several minutes and longer.

Third, CrossFit is a sport, and CrossFitters are athletes.

The CrossFit Games began in 2007 and has grown to over 100,000 athletes in 2013!  The Games give every CrossFit athlete on the planet a fair shot at achieving the title Fittest on Earth, but just because it’s fair doesn’t mean its easy.  The aGames are played in three stages; The Open, Regionals, and Finals which takes place in LA, California.  The open begins in March and features one workout per week for 5 weeks and CrossFitters across the globe can submit their attempts to earn a spot at regionals.  Each of the 17 regions worldwide hold a competition for the precious few slots at the Finals in California in July.  The Finals, at the Home Depot Center in LA, is one of the fastest growing spectator sporting events in the world, as is the race to be the Fittest on Earth!

Why Women Should Lift

Lift Heavy, Be Awesome!

Somehow, over the past few millennia the conventional wisdom has been that men and women are completely different species, especially when it comes to training.  Many women are pushed toward ankle weights, step classes, and “toning” exercises by the self-defeating assumption that women should not lift heavy weights.  False.  Women most certainly should lift heavy weights, regularly, and with intensity. 
“But, I don’t want to get Bulky!”
          -Anonymous Female Trainee

Why Women Should Lift

Image Credit: CrossFit Rockwell

Image Credit: CrossFit Rockwell

As we well know, there are some pretty distinct physiological and hormonal differences between us, but the chemistry by which we manage our metabolism and growth is largely the same.  More specifically to my point, the ways in which healthy men and women consume, store, conserve, and expend energy are basically the same, and how much of that weight is fat, muscle, and other tissues can be changed over time by making changes to your diet and training!

So you may be wondering at this point, since we gain and lose weight in the same way, why are men generally bigger than women and why can most men get so much bigger than most women?  The basic answer is good old testosterone.

Men produce a relatively large amount of testosterone compared to women.  In fact, the average male between 25 and 50 years-old produces 14 to 16 times the testosterone of his female counterpart!  Since testosterone has a mostly linear dose-response, more test means more fat-free mass, larger muscle size, increased strength and power and reduced fat mass, among other things.  Men are hardwired to be generally bigger and stronger than women, and adult men grow at a faster rate than women with similar training histories, diets, and training.  This, sometimes among other ‘alternative’ reasons, is why some men seem to get huge while not seeming to work very hard at at all, testosterone is on our side.

So, ladies, unless you are aiming to become “bulky,” chances are you won’t. Although you are certainly capable of it if you put your mind (and body) to it.

The Results are in the Training

So there you have it, lifting heavy typically does not make women bulky or cause them to look like bodybuilders with veins popping out of their neck and legs, and very little “feminine features” to speak of.  Figure athletes and bodybuilders are very deliberate in their pursuit of the body they show off on stage, and the training they use is specific to their results.  Even though lifting heavy weights and exercising at relatively high intensities are usually a part of the bodybuilding regimen, they are among the most effective fat-loss training strategies for healthy women and they produce the lean, defined, athletic-looking physique most women (and men) are after without the large muscle-size of traditional and non-traditional bodybuilders.

As an added bonus high-intensity training makes you stronger and combined with a healthy diet, more resistant to sickness, injury, and the negative effects of stress and the environment.  So get out there ladies and lift, then lift heavy, get lean and defined, become athletic, and be awesome!

CrossFit has made it to Muncie

Within a few months CrossFit will arrive in Muncie, Indiana at The Arsenal at 115 S. Walnut St in historic downtown.  The facility spans 7,400 square feet and will be one of the largest facilities in the Mid West.  I and my co-founder Johnathon Hill have been hard at work the last 4 to 5 months completing the ground work to launch this concept in the city we call home.

When the doors swing open athletes of all ages, sizes and skill levels will join one team and compete everyday in the tireless pursuit of the vision:

Our Vision

A community that is safe, self-confident, powerful, and humble.

Our Mission

Tirelessly work to elevate each and every individual to her or his potential.

The Mission is the path by which we will realize the Vision.  The members of The Arsenal know full well that they did not join a “gym.”  They understand that they joined a family, a team and a way of life.  Together we will forge an environment where it is safe to learn, grow and encourage each other.  Each person will grow stronger and become more self-confident in themselves mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  It will not be the trainers or the owners that will sustain that environment or motivate each individual.  It will be the community.

If you have made it to this post and feel that CrossFit and our vision and mission connect with you, please “like” our Facebook page, “follow” us on Twitter, and “subscribe” to our YouTube channel.  It is only through others that we will achieve the lofty goals we have set for this community, and every “like, share, re-tweet, and follow” makes you part of the community.  All of the links are found at the top of this page.

If you have been discerning becoming a CrossFitter consider becoming a Founding Member by clicking the “GET STARTED” button on the right. These are pre-opening rates that will only be available for a limited time.  We have already welcomed an outstanding group of people to our Founding Members group, and would love to have you join the movement that is The Arsenal proudly founded and headquartered in Muncie, Indiana in 2013.