Written by: Jordan Christensen, Move Better PTAs a physical therapist, my early impression of CrossFit was quite different than the outlook I have now. Before CFIS, my only experience with CrossFit athletes was with those who were injured and coming to see me in my clinic. It was easy to make judgements about a style of working out in which I had never participated – especially regarding intimidating workouts, like Murph and the Filthy Fifty. I had also seen some pretty crazy YouTube videos of failed box jumps, muscle-ups, and handstand push-ups. (Whether or not you have the time, look these up on YouTube – it’s well worth it.) However, last year, James talked me into participating in my first-ever CrossFit class (luckily, the day after Murph) and I never looked back. My entire perspective of CrossFit changed quickly and drastically. I fell in love with the thing I had unjustly critiqued from afar. Nine months ago, I started Move Better Physical Therapy here in the front office of CrossFit Infinite Strength. I have really enjoyed working with the athletes here and participating in classes myself. Recently, James asked me to share some of my experience and what I have learned about CrossFit with you all – so here goes!WorkoutsThe workouts are certainly the most discussed and widely known of the three pillars of CrossFit. When people think of CrossFit, they often picture athletes lifting heavy barbells and flipping giant tires. They also think of the YouTube videos of injuries I mentioned earlier. Of course, there is much more to the workouts than simply lifting heavy and getting injured. When performed correctly and under a certified coach’s supervision, the workouts are extremely safe and effective. In fact, injury rates in CrossFit athletes are significantly lower than those of repetitive sports, such as running and swimming. CrossFit includes ten general physical skills – cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, maximal strength, stamina, power, speed, coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. Each of these skills are programmed into each and every one of our workouts. The programming at CFIS far exceeds that of any other gym or program in which I have worked alongside – which is why I participate in training here myself and recommended a wide variety of my patients to participate in classes as well. (I’m sure a lot of you have seen me in the gym with my 80-year-old patient doing burpees and WODS.) In addition to the science behind the programming, my favorite things about CrossFit is that it is unique in its focus on celebrating what your body can do, rather than punishing it for the calories you ate earlier in the day. Almost every day in our box, I see someone learn a new skill (double-unders, handstand push-ups, muscle ups) or set a new personal record (weight in back squat, snatches, cleans, etc.). Personally, I grew tired of counting down the minutes on the elliptical. When I found CrossFit, I fell in love with moving all over again. The things we love are best enjoyed sharing with those we care about. Bring a friend to the partner workout this Saturday (or any Saturday in March - we’ll give them their first week free!) and spread the joy. (Maybe we’ll initiate them by making them flip the tires out back.)LifestyleWe’ve all heard Greg Glassman’s famous statement regarding a healthy diet: “eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” Before beginning CrossFit, I never considered diet as an essential pillar to my training. A recent survey of CrossFit Infinite Strength Members showed that over 2/3 of our members struggle with their diet. The science behind diet and nutrition can be overwhelming and confusing. Despite the endless amounts of research, even the Food and Drug Administration struggles to determine what kind of diet is best for us. Because I am certainly no expert in nutrition science – I’m going to keep it simple here and repeat the most useful nutritional advice that was every given to me: look at food as fuel and nourishment for your lifestyle. When selecting an afternoon snack, think about how your performance—physically in the gym, mentally at work, and emotionally with your family—will be affected by your selection. Don’t try to revamp all of your eating habits at once. Just make one healthier choice at a time. A healthy lifestyle is created by making small, incremental changes that eventually become habit. If you have questions about your lifestyle as it pertains to diet and nutrition, contact our nutrition liaison, Kyle Thompson, or one of your CFIS coaches. They’re happy to help!CommunityWhile most of us came to this gym initially to get into shape, many of us stayed because of the community we have found in our box here in Scottsdale. We hold each other accountable, cheer each other on, and are there for each other when the workouts (or life) doesn’t go as planned. I’m extremely thankful for the family here at CrossFit Infinite Strength that I call my home away from home. You never know how big of an impact you have on the person next to you – so make it a good one.The next time you see someone new or unfamiliar in your class, introduce yourself, welcome them to the gym, and give them a fist bump when they post their accomplishments on SugarWOD. My experience here at CFIS has taught me that CrossFit is more than just lifting heavy weights and flipping tires. It’s about our tribe of athletes who value the perseverance necessary for ongoing success. It’s about escaping the troubles of the world for an hour a day to sweat it out with our friends. It’s about having fun and learning what we are capable of – both inside and outside of the gym. I’m really grateful I found CrossFit Infinite Strength. Thanks, everyone, for being my tribe.