I've been doing Crossfit for the past eight months. The past two months have not been perfect, sometimes for valid reasons, sometimes not. I'd give myself an 85% for those two months and a 99% for the rest. I'sm getting off topic, but I feel like it's necessary to address on my blog the times I screw up too.
I love Crossfit and think it's the best program (of those I've researched) for me as well as most people out there. I believe that I could have probably made bigger gains muscle wise with a strict heavy lifting and high protein diet, but it would have been at the expense of other benefits.
I've gained some weight and a lot of muscle definition. Muscle definition is always more impressive to the person experiencing it, because we're honed in on the nuances of our bodies, but when I look in the mirror and flex, I look like a little Greek god in training. With the standard amount of downlighting in a bathroom I have a clearly defined six pack, and when I flex my arms I have little bicep mountains.
I haven't had easy access to a scale recently, but I am probably up about 20 pounds total, most of which was gained early on when I could gorge myself on food at Casa De Luz.
I can lift a lot more, as a metric and also in a practical sense. When there's something heavy to be lifted I am confident I'll be able to do it, rather than before when I'd be sure of the opposite.
I was used to being the weakling in a group. It didn't make me feel insecure or anything, because I know I'm great at a lot of things, but it did make it clear that I had room to improve.
Now I'm usually middle of the pack, or even upper middle depending on the context. People occasionally gasp at the amount of weights that I lift (not impressive for serious lifters, but good for my size).
In Tokyo we walk a lot, often with our packs, and are always going up and down stairs. No problem. No heavy breathing.
The best benefit of all is that I now actively enjoy physical activities. I realized this just today.
We stood at the bottom of Mount Misen near Hiroshima, Japan. It's a small mountain that apparently was where Buddha became enlightened.
Two options were presented - a strenuous 2.5 kilometer hike up the mountain, or a ride in a cable car to the top.
I chose the hike. That in of itself is no big deal. I would have done that anyway.
The difference is that before I would have thought "I'd rather do the cable car, but I can't let myself be lazy, so I will do the hike."
This time I thought, "Awesome! A hike!"
Riding the car had no appeal to me. I actually tried to figure out if there was a harder route up the mountain.
I've gotten a lot of tangible benefits from Crossfit, but internally valuing physical activity and seeking it out is the best part.