Traditional Gym Experience vs. CrossFit

13 Dec

I am a gym rat. I’ve been going to gyms since I was in high school (so for the past 10 years), and I’m a regular 6 days/week kind of girl. You name the class, I’ve taken it. Name the machine, I’ve been on it. So I’m like…in really great shape…right…right?!

urmph. Not quite.


I’m almost a little sickened when I look back and think of all the exercises I use to do that I thought were making me more “fit”. The truth is that I was potentially injuring myself. Ever try to isolate a muscle? You know…go to the ab machine, tricep machine, the weighted squat machine…etc. Ever believe that you should lift light weights in high reps? Me too! Only to find out that that’s not really the most efficient/ healthy form of exercise.

Not to mention…I really believe traditional gyms elicit unhealthy comparison and competition.

Traditional gyms (in my opinion) isolate both people and muscles…


So what’s different about CrossFit? In one word. COMMUNITY.


I’ve been going to CrossFit Lake Effect for the past 6 months, and the main thing that keeps me coming back, and excited, are the people. I liken it to a near death experience…Every WOD I think to myself, “I’m gonna die, I can’t do this!”, AND every time, the coaches and my girls cheer me on and push me farther than I ever could imagine! I’ve tracked my progress over the past months, and it’s amazing how far I’ve come!

In the Beginning

  • The first step to joining a CrossFit gym is to take your foundations.

It’s exactly as it sounds –  Learning basic movements and skills.

Want to hear something funny?

I thought I was going to be able to “test out” of my foundations, I mean, I “knew” how to workout…right?!


I highly recommend EVERYONE take a foundations course, even if you don’t plan on joining a box. I learned that I was doing just about everything incorrectly. And we all know what happens when you do something wrong for 10 + years…You form bad habits, poor technique, and the potential to really hurt yourself.  (Which is also why you DO NOT want to try to do CrossFit on you own, and should join a box!)

When I did my foundations I found the coaches knowledgeable, patient, and encouraging. They didn’t laugh at my “inchworm” push ups, or my “wiggling” on the bar in attempt to do a pull up. They clearly explained what I was doing, and how the movement is meant to be done.

When you join a CrossFit gym, with high quality coaches, you start to learn the science behind the movements. Not to mention that the mobility aspect of training is amazing. Sometimes I think I need to skip a WOD because I’m sore…but high quality gyms plan that into their training with mobility work and proper warm ups.

Common MISCONCEPTION: I’m not in good enough shape to start Crossfit.

TRUTH: Everyone needs to start somewhere! And getting in shape to get in shape is just silly.

What about you?

Have you done your foundations course? What did you think?

Do you live in the Holland, MI area? Check out CrossFit Lake Effect. I PROMISE you will be impressed.


2 Responses to “Traditional Gym Experience vs. CrossFit”

  1. Barb Draft December 14, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Hi, I’m getting your blog. I think my ipad either is locking up, or the weather. It’s just my email. Anyway, great work and just think about baby steps for the students, unless they have a way to move around. We had gym about 1 semester in all my student yrs. by the way you’re not a gym rat! When you were younger you needed a gym, or to work out. Maybe not perfect but you kept going back. I respect you as a person and your talent’s, which are many. Please stay safe, and know I love you. Bubba

    • Ashley December 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      Thanks Bubba! Love you too! Ryan and I have some time off this Holiday, where we aren’t driving all over W.Michigan! We want to stop by and visit 🙂

      On Sat, Dec 14, 2013 at 10:18 AM, ohsheshines

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