Is Crossfit Bad For Women?

I’m sure you’ve heard of Crossfit by now, it’s all the rage in the Paleo community, but is it really as good as it sounds, or can it actually be bad for you?  If you don’t know much about it, it is an intense workout combining weights, body exercises, and cardio.  It is usually done as fast as possible to achieve maximum results. CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.

Crossfit might not be as good as you think... especially for women

It was about one year after having my baby when I went to try my first Crossfit class.  Up until that point, I was mainly doing workouts from home that usually only lasted up to 20 minutes and included things like pushups, squats and those sort of things.  Just not quite as intense as Crossfit.  After I completed the trial workout (well really only like half), I was shaking and nauseous, and I thought I was going to toss my cookies (or actually my smoothie) all over the place!  I knew I was going to be hurting for the next few days!  Despite all this, I was up for the challenge and wanted more.

 

I went pretty steadily for about 6 months.  I was loving the way all the weight lifting was making my body toned and strong.  But then I was starting to get a little worn out.  Now this was definitely compounded by the fact that my daughter was getting her molars in, she still wasn’t sleeping through the night, and because I was still breastfeeding her.  I knew better to go to a Crossfit class if I did not get a good nights sleep, so I was not making it in very often at all.  This is why I decided to take a break.  I was actually getting less exercise by being in Crossfit because if I didn’t go to class, I just didn’t exercise at all.  I would just hope to make it in the next day.

 

By being able to exercise at home, I can get it done whenever I have an extra 20 minutes.  Doing these shorter exercises at home has worked better for me, because I actually am exercising more frequently and not wearing myself out too much where I don’t have any energy left to take care of my daughter and other things around the house.

 

And no I don’t feel guilty or like a failure for quitting.  I listened to my body and was doing what was right for ME.

 

I love the concept of Crossfit, but think sometimes people can overdo it.  I personally think an hour of a Crossfit type exercise is too much for most people (which is how long the classes were I was going to).  I think it is a VERY effective type of workout, but you can get that benefit from doing shorter intense exercises as well.   Don’t get me wrong, I love that they encourage you and are there to take you to the next level, but I’ve seen so many injured crossfitters in my experience, or people who tell me they are doing it 5-6 times a week and not losing weight like they are wanting too.  My recommendation would be…

SLOW DOWN!!!

Sometimes more is not better!

 

My whole point of this story is this, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!  I think going really hard is great for a while, but you need to know when to take a break as well.  Especially us mothers.  We can wear ourselves too thin very easily.  We have to find the right balance and what works for us.  This post is not about bashing Crossfit, I actually love it, but it just wasn’t the right thing for me at this time in my life.

Here are some reasons why Crossfit might not be right for you:

  • You have very high levels of stress.  This would probably mean you have high levels of the hormone cortisol (which can cause weight gain).  You don’t want to OVER-exercise if you are stressed.  Stick to shorter sessions, 45 minutes max, or more calming exercises like yoga, Pilates and walking.
  • You have adrenal fatigue.  Again, this will just be too stressing for your body.  If you have adrenal fatigue, the most important thing to do is rest, sleep, and get proper nourishment.
  • You do not get at least 7 good hours of sleep a night.
  • You are on a calorie restricted diet (which I don’t recommend by the way!)

 

I’m not saying Crossfit is bad, I’m just saying that it might not be right for YOU at this point in time, at least that was the case for me.  I am just sharing with you what led me to quit Crossfit, at least for now.  I love the idea of switching it up.  Do Crossfit for a few months, then change it up and do some yoga or a lighter activity for a while.

It’s all about creating balance in your life.

Strength needs to be balanced with flexibility, and stress needs to be balanced with relaxation.  So just listen to your body and if you feel like it is time to switch it up and do something else, go for it!

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