I first heard about CrossFit from a Bloom magazine article about a year ago. Beginning to feel the aches, pains, and stiffness of “middle age,” I was intrigued by the training model, but neither of the locations was convenient. The small slip of paper with the phone number sat on my desk for months before I called.
This fall a friend mentioned that she joined a new CrossFit on the B-line trail near downtown and near my job. So I scheduled an individual introductory session with owner, Shaun Tieman, and signed on for the next 12-session “On Ramp” – 3 classes per week for 4 weeks.
Initially, my on-ramp cohort seemed pretty intimidating – a 17 year old athlete planning to enter the Air Force after graduation, his body-builder mom, his athletic step-dad, a woman training for a marathon, and another man twenty years my junior. More than 15 years older than the next oldest person in the group, I looked around the room and thought: Are you kidding me? We set off on our first 400 meter “warm-up” jog up the B-Line trail. Almost immediately they left me in the dust – not an auspicious beginning! And, I had thought I was in reasonably good shape.
During the four weeks of On Ramp, I alternated between feeling energized, challenged, not to mention a bit self-righteous, with discouraged, intimidated, and wondering if I had totally lost my mind. Fairly quickly the on-ramp group began to bond – encouraging each other to push to our limits and then push some more. After the “WOD” (workout of the day) there would be congratulatory slaps and high fives celebrating having completed the workout to the best of our individual abilities.
Ten weeks later, the changes are noticeable. During a workout earlier in the week, in the 15 minute time frame I jump-roped 810 times (90 per set) alternating with sets of 5 push-ups from the top of a box (55 total). Another day, I did 110 modified push-ups in sets of 10 alternating with sets of 5, 30lb thrusters (50 total). There are many activities for which I still need modifications while my strength builds up (kipping pull ups are a bitch and a half), but I can give these young whipper-snappers a run for their money in other arenas (jump rope, anyone?). Perhaps, most importantly, the intimidation factor has been reduced to zero! I now approach workouts with confidence and determination, not to mention playfulness.
At the same time, I decided to participate in the Paleo Challenge offered by Shaun and CrossFit co-owner Jenna Innis – a 6 week challenge to eat according to the Paleo diet consisting of primarily meat, veggies, and fruit (i.e. no dairy, grains, flour, or sugar). The sum total of the diet and the workouts has been a loss of weight, decrease in body fat, improved energy and mood, improved physical flexibility, strength, and endurance. Not bad for 10 weeks! More importantly, the bottom line is that I do CrossFit because it’s just plain fun!