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CrossFit: The Ultimate Workout Challenge

I think it's safe to say that I have a family that is moderately obsessed with one another. We're unique in that my twin sister Rachel and I arrived into this world on the same exact day that my brother showed up, only two years later. So, we all share the same birthday (July 25th), we're all Leo's and we're all tolerably unhinged.

To demonstrate this claim, we all decided less than two months ago, at the exact same time  (in support of one another), to ditch our gym memberships and take the definition of "fitness" up a few notches. Our motivation? Jaime, my brother's girlfriend and her newfound body after pregnancy and only 11 months of CrossFit.

The funniest part of this new feat is the fact that Ben, Rachel and I live more miles apart than we ever really intended but still somehow manage to motivate each other through the distance. Ben is in Atlanta, Rachel in Scottsdale and me, here in New York (somehow it always wins the award for being the most costly, no matter we're comparing across state lines).

In short, "CrossFit is a concept that prides itself on being a core strength and conditioning program. It is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy."

This may seem a bit intense to the average person, but what personally sold me is the fact that the physical aspect of this belief will support your everyday movements and health. Every movement you do in class serves a purpose that will enhance your daily living think lifting a suitcase into an overhead bin, carrying groceries or picking up your baby to hold.

I've heard CrossFit referred to as a "cult" or a group of like-minded people that those on the outside never really understand. This may hold true for others. For me, personally, the highlights of this program have come through nutritional eduction, competition, group workouts and motivation something you'll never get from a solo trip to the gym. Flexibility in class schedules and the ability to create your own demanding workouts no matter where you are, with or without a gym, with or without equipment, with or without friends is something invaluable for those of us who are always on the go.

My take on CrossFit is this: It's the most ridiculous, strenuous, lung-clenching, heart-throbbing and sopping-wet workout you'll ever do. Forget the elliptical what a joke. Yoga? No big deal. And running, is that all you've got? If it doesn't hurt and you don't feel like puking up your lunch then you aren't working hard enough. Go big or go home! Trust me, your body will thank you.

In all seriousness, I can say that I have achieved better results in five weeks with CrossFit than with any other attempt I've made at exercise. And I've pretty much run the gamut, from yoga, Pilates, biking, running, personal training; you name it, I've tried it. So give it a go and see if you feel the same.

Follow my family on this journey as we continue to learn, explore and enhance our overall health. I'll be reporting on the challenges we face, the progress we make and the results we experience.

If you live in New York, visit www.crossfitmetropolis.com and ask for Eric Love, the owner and accomplished CrossFitter. You'll love him, I promise. If you live outside of New York or will be traveling and need to find a CrossFit gym you can drop into, you can find affiliates in your area by visiting www.crossfit.com/cf-affiliates.com

To hear more about Jaime's, Ben's and Rachel's CrossFit experiences, please click here.

Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to the fullest on Shape.com. Follow her on Twitter!

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