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6 Month Project: Getting Fit and the Search for the Grail

I have to say, I was more than a little intimidated as I walked into the CrossFit gym.

I've never been much of a gym guy. At all. I've never been particularly fit in my life (except for a short period in 2nd year) and I've never fit in with that whole gym crowd. I can't discuss the game last night, or that crazy Ref/Ump (though lately I may be able to talk about the basketball game, thanks to GFM). I'm not particularly competitive, nor do I have any interest in being the fittest person around. A disclaimer; I'm not saying that all gym-goers are like this, only that many guy gym-goers, in my experience, have this kind of attitude. Plus, public showers? Ew.

So when I walked into the CrossFit and no one really greeted me, there was no one at the front desk, no one to hold my hand and encourage me along and say "Welcome!" I was a bit unsettled. I'm also used to yoga studios, where there are usually friendly and attractive people to guide you every step of the way, and encourage you to take it easy.

CrossFit is not that.

I eventually found the guy I'd spoken to before, let's call him Jim. Jim walked me through where to go and what to do step by step, but only so far as the next step, and occasionally interrupting mid sentence to say hi to people around him, chat to those folks, and to introduce me to them. I found it a bit unsettling, this all being very new to me, but I rolled with it.

He took me through a "warmup" which ended up being the hardest workout I had done in years, and the second hardest workout I would do that day, of two short sessions on the rowing machine. By the end my abs, arms and legs ached, and that had only been 5 minutes or so.

Then it was on to what they call their Baseline, or a set of timed exercises meant to see where you are in overall fitness, including rowing, pushups, squats, crunches and pull-ups. I managed to do fairly well, landing actually in the middle of the pack in terms of Baseline, taking about 9 minutes, when the average runs between 5-15 minutes, though a couple of the exercises were more forgiving versions (jumping pull-ups and knee pushups). Afterwards I rested for a bit, before going to their small change room, and realizing that my legs were seizing up and I couldn't walk.

Well, to be clear, I'd end up sitting down, or standing up, and realize that bending my legs caused me to curse wildly. I started to worry about driving home. Getting my socks on. And the fact that I was half naked in a change room (a single one), with my one friend who I knew there well out of yelling distance, and my phone locked away in my car. I started worrying about if I could actually do this CrossFit, how the Hell I was going to get fit in an efficient way otherwise, how my parents would react when I needed a drive home and for them to pick up my car and a bunch of other things.

But after a minute or two, I started tentatively moving my legs a bit, and finding only a dull soreness. I carefully got my socks on, collected my things, and got out of the room. Met up with my friend, and signed up as a member. It'd be scary, yeah. But sometimes with scary things you just keep going. You take a minute, sit down, give yourself a minute to feel it, to worry. Let the fear run it's course. Then move on.

So I intend to be going back 3 days a week. They have some daily workouts which vary up, and scheduled times for instructors to run small groups through them, but ideally, eventually, you should be able to do them on your own, at whatever time you like. My idea is not to do this forever. While it's challenging, and interesting, it's not what I'd call fun. While there seems to be a good community, I'm not sure I fit in with that crowd. I've still yet to find the physical activity that I would actually choose over lying on my couch watching TV or gaming, but I'm trying to be open. No, CrossFit is a means to an end; I intend to use it to build up a baseline level of fitness in myself; get my weight down, build up some strength and agility, maybe, so that in 6 months I can settle things down a bit; do more walking, cook better for myself, and maybe play a bit of Wii Boxing to work up a sweat. I have no interest in being in peak physical condition; good will be just fine in that front. I may end up, as my one friend said, getting hooked on the adrenaline rush of working out, and start to enjoy this kind of activity, but I have my doubts.

Would I recommend this so far? Yes, absolutely. It's an amazing, full body workout that I'm still feeling two days later, and it is fun enough that I can see myself doing this for the next 6 months. But it's still not, to me, the Holy Grail of physical activity. Still searching for that

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  1. Sounds like a blast. Good on you.

  2. Thanks for the review! Crossfit sounds like it could be the perfect workout for me.

  3. Congratulations on your decision!

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