Over the last year I have either thought or said those words out loud countless times. I have collapsed in a sweat-soaked heap on the floor wondering if I was going to puke, die, or both. I have stumbled to my car with my legs barely responding to my instructions. I have gone back to work red-faced and shaking so badly that I scared my coworkers. And I love it. Welcome to Crossfit.
A co-worker sent me a link to Crossfit Plano (www.crossfitplano.com) – he told me to check out the crazy people and their workouts. I had heard of Crossfit from a shooter’s forum (http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=59221) and it sounded interesting, so I contacted them to see how to get started. On Saturday, February 16th 2008 I showed up at 8am for their Elements class to get familiar with the fundamentals, then I was invited to stay for the Suffer on Saturday class to see what Crossfit was all about. Here is the posted workout from that day:
Suffer on Saturday:
"Resentment" - Have to rename this "The Deceiver" as it was much harder than it looked. No one started the second round today!
2 Rounds for time of:
1 Rope Climb (3 climbs from the Ground)
25 Box Jumps - 24"
25 Ball Slams - 20 lb
25 Kettlebell Russian Swings - 32kg
25 Pull Ups
25 Push Press - 65 lb
25 Wall Ball Shots - 20 lb
25 Knees to Elbows
25 Overhead Squats - 65 lb
25 Thrusters - 65 lb
Muscle Ups - 5 (Sub 25 Pull Ups and Dips)
25 Hang Dumbell Squat Clean - 35 lb
50 Foot Walking Lunge
Staying true to the name, I suffered. A lot. I thought it would never end. I had no idea what I was doing (and of course everything was scaled for me), but one of the trainers stayed right there with me to help and to keep me going. I left the gym, went home and slept for 3 hours. Days later I was still walking like a drunken Frankenstein and couldn’t raise my arms above my head. Two weeks later I joined Crossfit Plano.
Years of mainstream gyms, aerobics classes, kickboxing and entire collections of workout DVDs that I could recite word for word bored the hell out of me. Almost 5 years of indoor soccer was really fun, but earned me an ambulance ride to the emergency room and a large collection of medical braces and bruises. Only one year of Crossfit, plus a gradual change in eating habits (www.zonediet.com), and an introduction to ZHealth performance training (www.zhealth.net) has done what years of traditional exercise and dieting failed to do. I feel better, look better and have made a permanent change in my life that I can live with. No more yo-yo diets and gaining another 10 pounds while my sprained ankle heals. No more feeling deprived or guilty for eating (and, very important to me as a beer connoisseur, drinking) the things I enjoy. No more dreading the boredom of the same old workout. I believe this is what they call a life-changing experience.
Besides the touchy-feely stuff above, here are the facts. I have lost 30 pounds over the last year, which translates into a total loss of about 14 inches measured over 8 points along my arms, legs and torso. A year ago I couldn’t do a single regular push-up – now I can do 15+ in a row. A year ago I couldn’t do a single pull-up – now I can do 3+ kipping pull-ups (http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_Kipping1-Concept.wmv) in a row without an assisting band. (Guys, I can hear your eyes rolling already – bite me, I’m a girl, this is much harder for us, as much as I hate to admit it). I didn’t even know what a deadlift was a year ago – I hit my PR (personal record) on the deadlift of 200 pounds last month. I can back squat and front squat my body weight. I’ve almost mastered the intricacies of the snatch (http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/cfj-nov-05/snatch.wmv), and in the last year I have done more handstands, cartwheels and tumbling than I have since 5th grade. Being out of your element, out of your comfort zone, isn’t a bad thing, really – you never know when life will surprise you and that will come in handy. Crossfit isn’t about mastering a single lift or exercise, it is about being competent and efficient across a wide range of physical skills. From the main Crossfit site: "[Crossfit] delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist”. This is Crossfit. And I love it.