Adventures in CrossFit (Part 2)

In case you missed part 1, I was peer pressured into doing a month-long trial of CrossFit. I survived the month, and now I look like this:


Photo courtesy of: foxypar4

Ok, not quite (but, I do look devilish in a kilt). While I was hoping I’d be transformed into a Scottish Warrior, I’m not there yet. That being said, I have felt some noticeable changes to my physical fitness. For example, after my first day, I almost puked and I couldn’t lift my arms. After today’s workout, I still can’t lift my arms, but I just had a slight tinge of “I’m about to puke.” I’ll take progress where I can get it.

Now that my month has wrapped up, here are some of the highlights (and lowlights) from my adventures in CrossFit:

CrossFit things that I’m good at: Running, jumping rope, and (some) ladder drills

CrossFit things that I’m bad at: Rowing, extreme sit-ups, or anything that requires me to lift weights

Hardest workout: Since every workout seems harder than the previous one, I’ll just reference the most recent. Today we did a workout named “Cindy.” Side note, if a workout has a name, that usually means it’s a monster, and you’ll feel like all your muscles were karate chopped the next morning. In this case, “Cindy” gives you 20 minutes to do as many cycles of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats as you can. I felt annihilated by about minute 4, and by minute 20 I was what I like to call “black out tired.”

Easiest workout: Does not exist

Sorest muscles as a result of CrossFit: Abs, arms, abs, legs, abs, back, shoulders, neck, abs (seriously, did I mention that my abs are sore?) butt, hands, and I’m starting to think my ears are sore. I need to ask Coach Jo why my ears are sore.

The most rewarding thing about CrossFit: Since it’s really, really hard, I feel a sense of accomplishment after every single class. Since I’m new (and for all in tense and purposes; a weakling), I rarely excel during a workout. But that’s the beauty of it. I’ve finally learned that I’m only competing against myself, and if I finish a workout, I feel pretty darn good about it.

The most humbling thing about CrossFit: I’m 90% sure the people in my class are cross-bred with velociraptors, because they’re maniacs in there. No joke, you should see these people in action, it’s terrifying (in a good way). So, while I know that only I’m competing against myself, being surrounded by such a fit group is inspiring.

This is Armando (The Peer Pressuring, CrossFitting Stallion that got me hooked)

This is Armando (The peer pressuring, CrossFit Stallion that got me hooked)

My trial has ended, and despite the fact that I’ve been complaining non-stop to my friends, family, and co-workers about always being sore, I’ve decided I’m going to keep going. Waking up early is rough, and I still hate the rowing machine with a fiery passion, but once I’m awake and at the gym, it’s actually really fun. Coach Jo and my 6 a.m. classmates are awesome, and starting the day with a kick in the butt is extremely gratifying. So while I’m not a Scottish Warrior (yet), you’d better believe that I’ll be tossing cabers in no time!

Huge thanks to everyone at CrossFit Revival, Coach Jo, and Armando (the guy who convinced me to try it) for giving me the chance to give it a shot. If you get a similar opportunity, I highly recommend you try it. Trust me, if I can survive it, anyone can.

Adventures in CrossFit (Part 1)

CrossFit Revival

For the record, I can’t do this….yet.

It started innocently enough. I received a message from an old friend that read:

“Hey buddy. How have you been? I have a free month of CrossFit to give away to a friend….. You should try it out and blog about your experience! Let me know if you’re game.”

Peer pressure, you’re a despicable beast!

Here’s the deal, I’m not exactly what you’d call a “physical specimen.” I’m skinny to the point where every time I visit my doctor, I’m hoping my BMI (body mass index) hasn’t dipped into the “Seriously dude, gain some weight!” territory. My exercise habits revolve around running and a hodgepodge of city league sports (where my only redeemable asset is my hustle). However, since my son was born last year, I’ve fallen desperately out of shape. So when I got the call to try CrossFit, it felt like the kick in the butt that I needed. As an uber-skinny, half-coordinated, out of shape non-athlete, I didn’t have high hopes that I’d excel, but the peer pressure was enough to get me in the gym.

As I’m writing this (written March 12, 2014), I just finished my first class. I can barely lift my arms high enough to type (during this post, if you read something like “jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj” that means I’ve either passed out on my keyboard or my fingers got too heavy to lift). Here’s a timeline of events from day 1 of my adventures in CrossFit.

5:30 am: The excruciating wake up. The gym that I joined, CrossFit Revival in Eugene OR, offers a bunch of classes throughout the day. As a relatively new dad, finding time for exercise is always an issue, so I opted for the 6:00 am class. This seemed like a great idea until my alarm thunder punched me at 5:30 am. I threw on some sweats, pounded some Cheerios, and I was out the door.

6:00 am: The un-intimidation factor.  When I pictured a Cross Fit coach, here’s what I imagined:

CrossFit Coach

But in reality, my coach turned out to be one of the nicest, least intimidating people I’ve ever met. Here’s what she actually looks like:

Coach Jo

That’s Coach Jo in the red.

Coach Jo (she goes by Jo, but “Coach Jo” has such a nice ring to it) gave me a tour, introduced me to the class, and her warming personality tricked me into thinking that CrossFit would be a breeze. As I’d learn shortly, Coach Jo was a master at mind control, because there were no breezes to be had.

6:03 am: The “Holy cow, this is just the warm up?!” warm up.  We did a series of movements, squats, and stretches that would usually constitute my entire days’ worth of exercise. Turns out, we hadn’t started yet. This was the first moment when I thought CrossFit might be a bad idea.

6:15 am: The work out of the day (WOD). As a class, we dug into the WOD. Today’s work out consisted of rowing, running, and pull-ups. Here are my thoughts on these activities:

  •          Running: No problem, I was running in Pampers
  •          Pull-ups: Sucks
  •          Rowing: Suuuuuuuuuucks

After two sets of each exercise, I was ready for a nap.

6:40 am: My Baseline Test: Apparently today’s WOD was a “light work out.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?! Coach Jo’s definition of “light” seems downright insane. So with our “extra time,” Coach Jo asked if I wanted to do a baseline workout to see where I stood as a CrossFitter. It was at this point that I realized that Coach Jo was trying to kill me. My baseline workout consisted of the following:

  •          Push-ups
  •          Rowing (Yes, more rowing. Can we stop with the rowing?!)
  •          Sit-ups
  •          Squats
  •          Pull-ups

I think I blacked out about halfway through my sit-ups. I can’t be held accountable for any of my actions after the sit-ups.

7:00 am: Yep, I might lose my breakfast. Things went a little white after I finished my baseline test. I realized that my combination of being desperately out of shape and ridiculously competitive is a recipe for a CrossFit disaster. I pushed myself to the brink, and it tore me up! That being said, it was the best total body work-out I’ve ever packed into an hour.

Was I tired? Yep. Did I almost puke? Yep. Do I hate rowing? YES!!! But with all that, I actually had a really good time. The class was full of awesome people, and even though I was clueless as to what I was doing, I felt 100% welcomed by the crew. And, even though I accused her of violating my thoughts using mind control, Coach Jo was amazing. I’m not sure what my career as a CrossFitter looks like, but I’m going to stick with it.

I plan to document more of my CrossFitting, so stay tuned. That being said, If you never hear from me again, it’s because we did more rowing, and I’ve lost the ability to control my limbs. Blame Coach Jo.