Ah, CrossFit — the sport that looks incredibly rewarding in the most badass way possible, but kind of high-key makes me sweat just to even consider trying it. TBH, whenever I think of CrossFit, I usually envision abandoned old gyms filled with ripped athletes who are yelling and grunting their hearts out. I mean, I can't be the only one, right? And if that stereotype rings true, why should I do CrossFit? Don't you have to have some sort of Super Woman gene to even breathe the same air as these athletes?
Honestly, after getting the chance to sit down and talk to CrossFit competitor and U by Kotex Fitness partner Elisabeth Akinwale, I'm now realizing my assumptions couldn't have been more wrong.
For those of you who aren't already in the know, CrossFit is a type of workout that focuses on strength and conditioning by using the weight of your own body as a form of resistance. So yeah, if you're someone who hates traditional cardio and weightlifting with a burning passion, believe it or not, CrossFit might actually be right up your alley.
In an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, Akinwale gives us the real low-down on how CrossFit actually isn't as intimidating as it may seem, and why you should totally be incorporating some of the moves into your own fitness routine.
Between being a mom, a fitness trainer, and a CrossFit champion, Akinwale is basically the dictionary definition of a badass. After first learning about the sport through her sister's friend, the fit mom quickly catapulted to CrossFit stardom. Less than six months after being introduced to CrossFit, Akinwale qualified for the 2011 CrossFit Games, placing 13th overall. She's now known for her appearances in the Annual CrossFit Games, and when you really think about her success, it's honestly inspirational AF, because she started out as a total CrossFit noob, just like you and me.
Still, Akinwale is no stranger to the common misconceptions surrounding CrossFit.
She tells Elite Daily that the pro athletes you typically see online or in the CrossFit Games are often not at all what your everyday CrossFit classmates actually look like:
CrossFit classes are actually really inclusive [of] all fitness levels, not just ultra fit people.
Plus, if you're like me, and you have absolutely no clue where to begin when it comes to trying something like CrossFit, Akinwale says the workout is totally "scalable." She tells Elite Daily,
[Being scalable] means the workouts can be modified to meet any fitness level or special needs.
Through its scalability, CrossFit can be performed safely by a wide range of people — no need to be intimidated!
But still, why choose CrossFit when you can stay in the comfort of your usual routine on the elliptical, or better yet, the safety of your own private dorm room workouts? What's the real difference anyway?
Akinwale tells Elite Daily she prefers CrossFit over other training methods because it allows her to truly grow as an athlete.
She loves the incredibly broad spectrum of activities in CrossFit, and though you might think the sport is totally its own beast, the workouts often include things you're probably already familiar with, like weightlifting, gymnastics, plyometrics, and much more.
There are endless ways to train CrossFit.
I also really enjoy the high level of skill development that it takes to keep developing in my CrossFit abilities, and find that many of my clients enjoy this skill development aspect, as well.
And the importance of continually growing throughout your fitness routine — both mentally and physically — cannot be understated. According to a 2016 study published in the journal Psychological Bulletin, setting goals and monitoring your progress and growth, especially when it comes to your workout routine, will help you to actually see the results you want in the long run.
But if growth, gains, and goals still haven't convinced you to give CrossFit a chance, maybe you're still hung up on the possibility that this hardcore form of training will make you look too "bulky."
Akinwale totally puts that notion to rest though, telling Elite Daily,
The idea that doing CrossFit or weightlifting will make women bulky is an unfortunate myth.
I believe that this type of training helps women become more confident, more physically capable, and more aware of the things their bodies can do — not simply what their bodies look like.