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Why CrossFit Is Better Than Running

After 18 Years of Running, I Gave It All Up For CrossFit

Like a lot of people, I started running to lose weight. That was in 1998, when I was a junior in college, battling the 40-plus pounds I'd gained from my diet of pasta, french fries, and Sour Patch Kids. It took me over five years to lose the weight, but I never was able to get super lean and muscular like I had always wanted to be.

As a mom of two, I put the idea of my strong and chiseled body on hold for a bit. I have gone through two pregnancies, gaining 50-plus pounds during each, and always ran to lose that postbaby weight. Even running 45 minutes three to four times a week didn't help me lose those last 10 pounds. So I signed up for a half marathon, thinking training would kick my body into gear. But running an hour five times a week and doing long training runs on the weekend just made me super hungry, and I ended up gaining weight.

Running became a chore. I wasn't excited to do it anymore because it wasn't offering the results I thought it should. I decided to take the leap and sign up for a month-long "on-ramp program" for CrossFit. I had wanted to try CrossFit ever since giving birth to my second child, and now that he was almost 4 years old, it was time to stop making excuses and learn the basics.

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I dove in headfirst and started going five days a week. After one month of CrossFit, I was shocked at how my body had changed. And it wasn't just because I was working out — I had previously been doing hour-long runs five to six days a week along with yoga once a week. I also didn't change my diet at all. If anything, I was eating more. I'm convinced that it's because at CrossFit we do interval-style workouts and lift heavy weights. We also never plateau by doing the same thing over and over: in the first month I was there, we never repeated the same workout. It's also intense. Before trying CrossFit, I put in a lot of miles running, but my heart rate never got as high as it does doing five minutes of wall balls, box jumps, and burpees.

It's been three months since I started CrossFit, and I have yet to go on a single run. And you know what? I don't miss it one bit. I'm loving my new routine because I'm actually excited to go — when my alarm goes off at 4:40 a.m., I'm actually pumped! It's fun to try new exercises, I'm proud to see what I can accomplish (I climbed a rope!) and how strong I'm getting, and I also look forward to sweating alongside the same dedicated, supportive, and inspiring group of people who also like to work out at 5:45 in the morning.

Doing CrossFit made me realize that even though running was free and easy to fit into my schedule, I actually hated it because the harder I worked, the less I saw results. The harder I push myself in CrossFit, the better results I see, and that's how it should be. We write down the details of each workout and there is written proof that I'm getting stronger. And I can also see it in how my body looks different and how my clothes fit.

With this new full-on addiction, I can't say I've given up on running for good, but don't call me anytime soon to go on a run with you. If you need me, I'll be at CrossFit.

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