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How Crossfit Changed My Life: From Skinny Fat to Fit

By Maida Dipa 

Why I Began Working Out...

My crossfit journey started in December of 2011. Though I am naturally skinny and have been the same weight since I was 14 years old, I lived on fast food in college and was what they call "skinny fat." However, just because I could eat whatever I wanted and did not gain weight, it did not mean I was healthy. I knew I had to make some changes in my life because eventually my bad eating habits and lack of physical activity would catch up with me. I knew going to a regular gym would not work for me, having only been five times in the past two years of my membership. Knowing that I do better in a group setting, I decided to give crossfit a try.

Me (right) with a crossfit friend :)
Me Today
Why Crossfit...

Me During a Crossfit Workout
For those that have never heard of Crossfit, it is defined as "constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement." The workouts are different everyday so your body does not adapt to the same routine, i.e., there are no plateaus. Crossfit workouts are known to be intense; the idea is to finish the workout in the shortest time possible with a maximum effort. By including weight lifting, Crossfit delivers the double benefit of strength training with cardio. During my first couple of crossfit classes I was in awe, not only were the workouts intense but everyone was extremely fit. Some of the ladies were much older than me but in amazing shape: they were both strong and lean. Before starting Crossfit, I would have never considered weight lifting, I thought that was for males only, and I did not want to look "bulky." However, what I have learned is that weight lifting is the key ingredient to building lean muscle and sculpting your body.

How to Stay Fit...

During the last two years, I have learned a few tricks on how to stay fit. Many of the tips come from  my amazing training, who have inspired and pushed me to always do better. I am going to share with you what has worked for me in achieving a healthy lifestyle and staying fit.

Form the HABIT of Working-Out....

Going to the gym a couple of times a month is not going to give you any results. I understand everybody has busy schedules and there is not enough hours in the day to do everything we need. With that said, if you want to stay fit and healthy, you have to form a habit of going to the gym or doing whatever physical activity you enjoy at least three times a week. It takes 90 days to establish a habit, so just start somewhere by doing something that gets your heart rate up even if it is just running or being on the eliptical for 30 minutes. The key is to be consistent. I started out doing Crossfit classes three times a week, and once I was hooked, it was hard for me not to go.

How Many Hours Do I need to train?

Most people have a misconcpetion that you have to spend hours in the gym to stay fit, lean, and sculpted. That could not be further from the truth. In one hour, I can stretch, do strength training, cardio and stretch again post workout. Your body adapts and plateus when doing one movement at a steady pace, so increased intensity is the key to burning more calories. Giving your maximum effort in any workout or movement for a short period of time followed by a rest period before repeating is the best way to achieve this. 

How Intensely Do I need to Work Out?

Be challenged! If you still look pretty post workout, did you really give it your all? The only way to get better is to reach that uncomfortable zone and push through it. With high intensity training, your metabolism will increase and your body will burn calories 24 hours post training. High intensity training also stimulates the production of human growth hormone (HGH), which not only burns calories hours after working out but also slows down the aging process, and who doesn't want that? 

Strength Training Rather than Cardio...

I believe the most important aspect of staying fit is strength training. Yes, cardio burns calories while you workout but working out your muscles burns calories when your body is at rest, and it also boosts your metabolism. Do not become obsessed with the scale, and do not rely on it to track your progress. Muscle is denser than fat, your scale may not budge but you will see inches coming off. Before Crossfit, I would have never stepped a foot in a weight room, I had no clue what to do and it is very intimidating to be around bunch of "hulk." Crossfit has taught me that girls can be strong and that our bodies can withstand almost anything but still look feminine and sexy.

The Advantages of Joining a Crossfit Class...

I highly recommend joining a class such as Crossfit (or working with a personal trainer) to learn the different techniques of weight lifting. Proper form is key to weight lifting, if you lose form, you have a higher chance of becoming injured. Do not be scared, and give it a try! I promise you will not regret it. It is the best thing that has happened to me. My body has changed so much in the last two years, I have definiton in all areas of my body and I constantly get compliments about how fit I look. Remember, strong is the new skinny!!

Do NOT Diet, Eat Healthy!

Now that you've put time in the gym, do not forget to eat healthy. I do not believe in dieting, I am a firm believer in eating healthy. There is no secret or shortcuts when it comes to staying healthy. Both working out and eating healthy is a lifestyle. You will burn a lot of calories with high intensity training and weight lifting which means you have to fuel your body so you do not lose any muscle. A lot of people make the crucial mistake of not eating enough when strength training. Your body is burning fat even when you are resting; if it doesn't have enough fuel, it will start burning your hard earned muscle. It is important to eat foods high in protein because protein builds muscle. I eat a lot of lean meat, veggies, and snack on fruit. A slice of pizza or cake once in a while is not going to kill you, but keep processed sugars to a minimum. Eat clean and train dirty fashionistas!

Below, you will find some inspirational quotes and photos of me in Crossfit classes! 

Workout Inspiration
Me With my Crossfit Classmates 

Me: Burning Calories During a Crossfit Workout 

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