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Adam Bennett 08-22-2009 09:18 AM

Help me help my wife!

I've been doing CF for roughly a couple of months (albeit sporadically!) and i'm absolutely hooked! I'm 24 from Adelaide in Australia, 6' and 72kg - i think that's about 165lb for all the Yanks out there :)

Anyway, i'm not too unfit - i was already in the Australian Army Reserve when i discovered CF - and I'm gradually working my way into the new exercises and WODs, so that's not a drama. My question is in regards to how to introduce my lovely wife into CrossFit without intimidating her with the exercises or starting her off too hard and her not being able to move for the next week!

My wife is 28, 5' 6", about 194lbs and it has been a while since she has been able to workout much - we have 2 kids, a 3yo girl and 18mth old boy - but she is keen to give this a crack with me. Unfortunately she is not really familiar with a lot of the exercises and we don't have convenient access to an affiliate locally.

At the moment the garage gym is still very much a work in progress (I do my workouts at a nearby school playground, restricted to bodyweight exercises).
The equipment i have so far is:

skipping rope
med ball 4kg (9lb)
dumbells (adjustable up to no more than 20lb each - not 100% sure)
barbell (the crappy kind using same weights as above)
wooden dowel for barbell technique training

plus, i will hopefully order a pair of elite rings in the next few days, i also have plans to make a 20" box imminently and a pullup bar a little while after that. Oh, i also have a couple of hessian sandbags just waiting to be filled. Sadly an Oly bar and bumper plates would appear to be a little further down the track... So, not exactly CFHQ, but I feel like there is definitely potential lurking.

Any advice i could get would be greatly appreciated as i really want to be able to get my wife involved in something i am so passionate about, plus i feel like if she can get a taste of it gradually and start to feel some results, then she'll be just as hooked as i am.

Thanks in advance, guys

Frank E Morel 08-22-2009 11:56 AM

Re: Help me help my wife!
dude... remember the saying about leading a horse to water???

make sure that this is something that .... SHE WANTS TO DO. Otherwise.. your in for a rough ride.

Adam Bennett 08-23-2009 05:49 AM

Re: Help me help my wife!
Haha, yeah - I hear you, mate! Wise words...

I will definitely keep that in mind and just drop the subject for a while - although this may be hard as I'm sure "CrossFit" seems to be the only thing that comes out of my mouth these days... Will do my best to rein in my enthusiasm, however!

You sound like you've got some experience on the matter?

Michael Ricketts 08-23-2009 05:53 AM

Re: Help me help my wife!
I let my wife find it on her own. It took her a year but she came around. Anytime I tried to "get her into it" was a brutal mistake! lol Now she is a memebr of the local affiliate and loves every second of her workouts, she is even recruiting friends!

Adam Bennett 08-23-2009 06:14 AM

Re: Help me help my wife!
Hey mate, thanks for the advice - that's very encouraging!

I'll just have to work my arse off and let the results do the talking. I've only been CFing for a month or two when time allows and she already likes what she sees, if you know what i mean :)

Thanks again, mate.

Ted Apollo 08-23-2009 01:08 PM

Re: Help me help my wife!
i am going thru the same thing. she was in rotc (military training) during high school and the few times we have worked out she definitely puts out 110%. but the consistency issue is a problem. i have started to figure out what movements she likes and what turns her off. so i try to program a 'fun' wod for her. jump rope, kb swings, wall balls, slam balls, short runs, etc... but i know if i tell her to do jumping pullups the wod is over. so just try to keep it fun for her and don't overtrain her.

Dimitri Dziabenko 08-23-2009 08:56 PM

Re: Help me help my wife!
Motivation is a difficult subject, but a google search may prove useful. I say this, because everything really depends on the person.

I'll take myself as an example. I get motivated by encountering something difficult, I get motivation from adversity/difficulty (up to a reasonable point of course). Other people get motivation from community. Maybe if you two worked out together, she'd value the time together much more than the actual workouts. Whatever works. That's how I got my GF into working out with me, and when I moved to the States, she resumed swimming/running, but she definitely doesn't do Crossfit any more. That's fine, as long as she's active. Remember that Crossfit is not for everyone. Not everybody wants, or needs to deadlift 2xBW. Many women have stayed active well beyond their 100th birthday (ie.without turning into a vegetable), never having achieved a sub 3 Fran.

You know your wife best. Find out what motivates her, and try to incorporate that into training/progress measure. If it's Crossfit, great. If not, also good. Whatever you do, tell her that she *must* exercise. By your description, her BMI is 31.3, and I gather it aint muscle. Statistically, she could add 10-15 years of life just by exercising, eating healthy food and restoring her bmi to the normal range. Or, if she is motivated by fear, she is losing 10-15 years by doing nothing. It's important she starts taking care of herself asap.

Adam Bennett 08-24-2009 07:13 AM

Re: Help me help my wife!
Hey Ted, Dimitri,

just wanted to say thanks for your posts and the thought that you put into them. You both raise good points and i'll definitely take them on board!


Michael Ricketts 08-25-2009 02:02 AM

Re: Help me help my wife!
My husband left this up on the computer. We went through the same thing. When my husband started CrossFit, I hated it. I first looked at it as something that took time away from our family time. He tried and tried to get me try it out with him. I did a few here or there but it wasn't fun for me because I didn't see any results. It wasn't until I started training with a trainer through a gym and started seeing a little results that I really started to push myself. I first started with the diet. I started the zone diet and lost 5 lbs immediately and that really gave me a boost. I am a numbers person. When I saw that that was working I then went from training at the gym to occasionally doing a WOD with my husband and when I paired the two together I got huge results. I started out by doing CF on my own back in April and only recently went to an Affiliate because I was getting frustrated when I couldn't do a complicated WOD on my own. That really bumped up my motivation because I was finally getting the proper training. I know you said there isn't anyone close but you may look at trainers in town to see what they base their workout programs off of. It may help her to get excited about CF and fitness in general if she's working out with a professional. I know you really want her to workout with you but to start off with she just may not be comfortable yet because you have been doing it for a while and you are in better shape. Get her a trainer or a membership and let her discover fitness on her own. This is what worked for me. I now will do a few WODs with my husband but we both share the love for CF.

David Hughes 08-25-2009 07:07 AM

Re: Help me help my wife!
Dmitri, thanks for a good laugh. I'm guessing you aren't married? [QUOTE=Dimitri Dziabenko;650418]Whatever you do, tell her that she *must* exercise. :rofl:[/QUOTE] yeah, I'm not so sure that approach will work. ;)

Dmitri brings up very good points, especially about having a loved one who could live longer and be happier by becoming more fit. If you have a loved one (mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, etc.) who is "out of shape" it can be difficult finding what would motivate them to exercise and improve their eating habits.

In my personal experience light encouragement (don't be a nag) is beneficial. If she is interested in some other physical activity then encourage it. She doesn't have to do CrossFit, and you may find that after she begins to get more fit through whatever avenue, she may then become more interested in CrossFit. Also, if she does attempt some WODs with you, make sure you do not hurt her. I made a huge mistake one time. My wife started doing a few WODs with me, and one day I was in the mood to do a WOD with a lot of pull ups. I encouraged her to try it, but after it was all over she hurt bad for a few days. That was not extremely encouraging for her. She still pursues CF methods, but it took a while for interest to build back up after the pain went away.

It reminded me of an article in the CF Journal that stated if you hurt people early on they won't come back. It's exactly the same thing for our family members. As you get healthier and happier, your loved ones will probably become interested. They may also be nervous about joining you. If they do join you but leave with bad muscle pain for days, they may become discouraged and not return.

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