I'll be the first to admit I've often looked at CrossFit with a skeptical eye. Even after getting my CrossFit Level 1 certification years ago I wasn't sure what to make of this phenomenon. It's easy to read stories of cult-like crazy behavior and workout-related injuries and think "no way". But like all things, what the media covers isn't always fair or representative of what's going on. I've had the pleasure of working beside the beautiful and amazing Ashley Rutherford at Equinox for the past year. Watching her grow and challenge herself physically, mentally and spiritually through the sport and community of CrossFit has been eyeopening for me. I challenge anyone to read her story and tell me that CrossFit isn't a positive force for the many athletes working with experienced and reputable coaches.
1. What attracted you to CrossFit and what has your experience been participating in the sport?
I had been kickboxing and doing Pilates for over a year and I reached a point where I stopped seeing changes in my body and I wanted a new challenge. The experience has just been finding myself. Finding out what I am capable of mentally and physically. It's been becoming part of a community who loves and supports me and who pushes me to be the best version of myself. It's given me an edge that I didn't have before and the confidence to take on any challenge.
2. What do you say to people who poke fun or criticize it or you for it?
I laugh. There are definitely risks if you don't listen to your body or don't take care of yourself, just like any other kind of workout. But nobody understands it untill they try it. All I can do is explain how it changed my life and invite them to join me to see what it's all about. That always changes the perspective.
3. Specifically what benefits does CrossFit bring to your life?
The benefits are endless. It's helped me fully recover from an eating disorder because you learn how important fueling your body with healthy foods is and now I can look in the mirror and no longer obsess over the small imperfections, I can look at myself and think "This body can do amazing things". It's given me a body that I'm proud of and am confident in showing off. It's given me a mindset that I can overcome anything. It's given me lifelong friends who always push me to be the best I can be and help celebrate the amazing milestones along the way. It's given me a drive to always strive to be better, in every aspect of my life. All of that In addition to being able to eat so much more and sleep a lot better at night!
4. What advice do you have for women (and men!) who want to try CrossFit but are afraid to take the plunge?
You won't get bulky! You'll lean out and you'll become strong. You'll learn you are capable of so much more than you think! And it doesn't matter what level your at in fitness. It is meant for everyone. Whatever your limitations or injuries are, there is a way to regress ANY movement to cater to your needs and still give you a great workout. We will teach you how to take care of your body, recover, and prevent any injuries. There is a whole community behind you to help you succeed. Nobody cares where you start when you come in, As long as your putting in the amount of effort that YOU can, that's all that matters.
5. What is your absolute favorite life or part of CrossFit and what is your longterm goal?
It makes me feel strong. I put weight on my bar and sometimes think, "I've never done this much before, I don't know if I'll be able to do it, but I'll give it everything I have and I won't stop trying untill it's accomplished" and then I throw it over my head, it gives me a feeling of success and pride and confidence. It's safe to say that I've become addicted to feeling unstoppable. And I love that CrossFit has prepared me to live an amazing, fun, and active lifestyle with no disadvantages.
My long term goal would be to eventually make it to the CrossFit games. I'm training like that's where I'm headed. Untill that happens, its winning smaller local competitions and just becoming as good as I possibly can. That's all I can ask for. I've fallen in love with the process of change and success. So I will be chasing that as long as I can.