Inside Crossfit: The Real Deal from a Brave Beginner

Crossfit is a great environment for healthy competition.

It packs measurable results, modifications that take you from formidable beginner to advanced AMRAPS (that’s short for As Many Reps As Possible), and a philosophy that’s positively focused on weight. Best of all, we hear the Crossfit community provides an uplifting atmosphere.


So we followed our very own Athleta employee and Crossfit newbie, Melinda Hughes, to her local ‘box’ (Crossfit-speak for gym), called Crossfit 38 Degrees North. The seasoned graphic designer is chalking it up like nobody’s business.

Q: You’re new to Crossfit. Why did you decide to give it a shot?

A: I first learned about Crossfit a few years ago, through my husband. He had majored in kinesiology and he was fascinated by the new approach to ‘functional fitness’ and easy access to olympic weightlifting. I was not at all interested. Fast-forward a few years — a good friend of ours joined a local box and was loving it. We were both bored with our gym routines and ready to take on a new challenge. We went in for our first class four months ago and haven’t looked back!


Q: What’s been the most challenging part so far — whether physically, mentally and/or emotionally?

A: When I first walked in, I was SO intimidated. There are some incredible athletes in our group, so it’s hard not to compare yourself to their string of unbroken muscle-ups while you’re scaling down to ring rows. It has taken me a while to accept my current abilities and not get too hard on myself for not being able to do more/better yet. It also takes some time to catch onto the crazy terminology and remember the difference between Hang Power Cleans, EMOMs and Split Jerks.


Q: Tell us about a difficult Crossfit move that you’re proud to have mastered.

A: Currently, I feel super-strong any time I can throw a barbell loaded with weight from the ground to over my head (looking at you, snatch), but I dream of the day when I get my first ring muscle up!

Q: We hear Crossfit has a welcoming community. Do you agree? And if so, give us an example.

A: There’s something about the energy of being in a crazy WOD together that puts everyone on the same level. Failing a movement is never looked down on, and more often than not, your fellow Crossfitters are cheering you on (and picking you, and your barbell, up off the floor, if needed) as you attempt to get a new PR. I haven’t experienced any competition between the athletes in my class.

“Everyone is happy when someone walks out of the class satisfied with their latest accomplishment and completely soaked in sweat!”

Q: What’s your go-to Crossfit outfit?

A: A towel? Ha! But seriously, Crossfit is super sweaty. My go-to getup is a pair of capris (like our Sonars) or shorts and ALWAYS a tank. Sleeves are just too confining for all of the burpees, barbells, and kipping pull-ups. I also have to have those silicone no-slip grip hair ties to keep my fine, slippery hair contained and out of my face.


Q: How does Crossfit empower you in life?

A: Since starting Crossfit, I feel strong in a way that I never expected I would. Growing up, I tried every sport I could, and I was terrible at all of them. It took me a long time to realize that not being good at team sports didn’t mean I wasn’t athletic. Crossfit is the latest chapter in my quest to challenge my potential, try things that are out of my comfort zone and connect with kick ass women along the way who are on similar journeys of their own.


Q: Crossfit may seem daunting to beginners. Why should other women give it a try?

A: I think other women should try Crossfit because we all know heavy lifting isn’t just for the boys. As a girl, it’s easy to get sucked into the more girly activities, like pilates or spin class (I know it’s not only girls who participate in these), but there’s no reason we can’t jump in and tackle the heavy weights alongside the boys. I think women can definitely find a sense of power in doing these kinds of workouts. And my biggest piece of advice would be to go easy on yourself and not give up right away. It will seem very foreign at first, but you’ll catch on quick. Before you know it, you’ll be buying your own jump rope and tracking your squat progress!

We could not be more proud of Melinda for crushing doubt and embracing confidence. With communities like this, and sisters like these, we can all realize our limitless potential.

Shop Melinda’s Outfit

Napali Mesh Sonar Capri
Napali Laser Cut Double Dare Bra
Fastest Track Tank

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Kristine Henschel

June 18, 2016 at 8:43 am

THANK YOU for sharing! Good for you, Melinda!!!!

Cassie Tran

June 18, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Melinda seems like such a strong, inspirational woman. I love her relationship with fitness and what Crossfit has to bring for The Power of She!

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