Most of you regulars know that my diet choice is primarily paleo–based on the dietary theory that humans operate at their optimal level when we eat like our ancestors ate (no processed foods, white sugar, rice, bread, pasta). It’s worked phenomenally well. And in the two years or so I’ve been vocal about paleo, the follow-up question is often, “Do you cross fit?” At first I didn’t see the connection…what does cross fit–a combination of cardio, gymnastics, and core training, have to do with paleo dieters?
For many, cross fit is part of the paleo lifestyle. Think about it…our ancestors ran in short bursts, either to hunt for food or run away from it (lol), we climbed trees, pushed heavy things like rocks and tree trunks. The cross fit circuit attempts to mimic those activities. When you put in in those terms, it totally makes sense.
So I decided to try it out. I went to the free Saturday, 10AM session at CrossFit Incinerator in the northern end of Temecula. The setting is in a boxy warehouse building, which lends lots of space to run around, jump rope, climb up ropes, and play on an adult-sized jungle gym. The group was very welcoming of “the newbie” was supportive and helpful in making sure I knew how to do each circuit. This appeared to be a really close-knit group–they all knew each other’s names and engaged in a little harmless teasing. That indicated to me that these folks see each other pretty frequently, which lent the question…how often are these folks getting together to do this??
My pitiful attempt to climb up a rope…
I’m a die-hard yoga person, and I dedicate three hours a week to the practice. So I inquired to the coach about how often I’d have to participate in cross fit to be able to climb to the ceiling on a rope and do 20 pull ups on the jungle gym. He told me that I’d have to give a minimum of three days a weeks, or cross fit wouldn’t be effective. I did the math…three hours of yoga AND three hours of cross fit a week, or cross fit three days a week and NO yoga?! My schedule doesn’t permit me to physically train six days a week or two hour all at once. If I was going to do this, I’d have to choose. It was either the yoga or the cross fit.
By the end of our session, I took a look at the physiques of the women. It’s just something I do…different exercise regimens have different effects on the body. For example, female competitive swimmers often have broad shoulders that lean in slightly–a effect of using upper body strength to push through the water. It’s a similar look the cross fit ladies had, perhaps an effect of rope climbing, dead lifting with bar bells, and doing pull ups. If part of my goal in exercise is to optimize my feminine physique, it was looking like cross fit wasn’t going to be, well…a fit.
I also noticed that during the stretching and cool down, people groaned in major discomfort when the coach initiated a rather basic hip opener stretch I often do in yoga. It was nothing for me to hold this for a minute, but most everyone except for the coach hated it.
Was I willing to sacrifice my hard-earned flexibility to be “down” with the cross-fit-paleo crew?
The yoga I practice is called “hatha,” which focuses on strong postures, strength, and alignment. It is VERY strenuous. You heart will beat fast, your muscles will burn, and you’ll be sweating bullets. And while advanced yoga is a good and legit workout, it also helps to reduce stress, detoxify the body, and maintain flexibility (a VERY important aspect as I go further into my 40’s.)
That’s not to say that I won’t need to supplement my workouts when I’m not at the studio, so I’m really enjoying the variety of workouts available of AcaciaTV
. A recent trip to the chiropractor showed how my sway back is causing some damage, so the doc recommends I beef up my core, so I’m really liking all the pilates activities I can do in the comfort of my own home.