Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Second Change: CrossFit

Exactly 52 weeks ago today, at 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, I set foot in a CrossFit box for the first time.  In the early part of 2011, I came to the realization that I was incredibly out of shape... and fueling myself on a fast food diet while leading a sedentary lifestyle wasn't going to do my lifespan any favors.  I knew I had to find some sort of physical exertion that I could enjoy enough to stick with.  I'd tried running in my neighborhood... and found it to be boring.  Treadmills and ellipticals bored me even more.  But across from my old office, there was a gym that seemed to be thrown together in a warehouse.  Unlike most gyms, there was no traditional equipment to be seen inside... and the people who went there did odd things... like running around the block while carrying heavy objects.  Interesting.  The sign out front boldly proclaimed the establishment as CrossFit Strong.  As I wanted to find out more about how they would make me "fit" and "strong," I checked out their website... and tumbling down the rabbit hole I went.

I searched for a Crossfit affiliate near home and found CrossFit White Rock.  I decided to check out their free intro class on a Saturday morning.  It's an incredibly well organized facility (the best I've seen in my travels over the past year). After a brief talk on diet, health and the components of fitness, the coaches offered us a taste of what a CrossFit workout would be like. 

I almost passed out in the warmup.  I'm not exaggerating or being dramatic.  Things started going black and fuzzy during some shuttle run variant.  I had to step off to the side, elevate my legs and wait for the world to stop spinning.  We'll call this a decision point.  I could listen to the little devil on my left shoulder, walk out and go home because this CrossFit was "obviously too hard for someone like me"... Or, I could listen to the voice on my right shoulder and sign up because "I obviously need this more than anyone else in the room."

I started going to CrossFit twice a week.  For the first few months, that was all I could handle.  It took me a couple of days to recover from most workouts.  I wasn't lifting as much or running as fast as the people next to me... and I was finishing DFL often.  But I was finishing.  And loving it.  After a couple of months, I started running on my "rest" days.  Running was still boring.  But I was encouraged by the progress I was seeing in my performance and my waistline. 

While I had changed my diet pretty significantly, having gone 80-90% primal, it took me a while to make any correlation between my workouts and how I fueled for them.  Then my "Whataburger WOD" happened.  I was supposed to work late one night, and thought I would reward all of my hard work in the week with a small cheat meal.  I remember it so well.  A Green Chile Double Cheeseburger.  Tasty, for sure.  When I got off work earlier than I expected, I thought "Hey, I can still make the 7:15 p.m. class!"  I don't remember what the workout was, but it was the closest I've come to throwing up afterward.  (Fight Gone Bad came close, too...)  Lesson learned?  What you eat really does affect how you perform... day to day and in CrossFit WODs.  Things got a little more primal in my diet after that night.

Not good pre-workout fuel

By the end of the summer, I had signed up for unlimited classes.  Since then, I've been going to CrossFit 4 to 5 times a week.  After losing massive amounts of body fat, I started to add muscle.  I've still got some leaning out to do, but I feel like I'm improving with every workout.  And my times and weights affirm what I'm feeling.  My only CrossFit regret was that I did not log my first few months of workouts.  Not that I want to dwell on how bad I was, I would just like to know how much I've improved.

Painted on the wall of our box is the phrase, "Be better than yesterday."  With a year worth of yesterdays behind me, I look forward to every chance to improve myself in the coming year.  Come along for the ride with me.  Not sure if you want to hop on this crazy train?  Try an intro class.  Every CrossFit affiliate offers them.  Don't like the feel or culture of the first gym you tried?  Try another.  CrossFit boxes are popping up everywhere.  And hey, maybe CrossFit isn't your thing... but you'll never know until you try.  The important thing is to just getting moving.

A year from now, you'll wish you started today.

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