The first thing you should know about me is that I have one of those keychains that lets you get a free Junior Frosty from Wendy’s every day for a year. No, really, I do. I also had a sandwich for lunch yesterday, with cheese. And I was really tempted to get sweet tea and was way too proud of myself for getting unsweet instead.
When You Don’t Think You Can.
I’m as normal as they come. I’m 5’3, three weeks shy of 23 years old, 145 pounds on a good day. Okay, 148. I get slightly winded going up the three flights of stairs to my apartment but only if I have more than 6 bags of groceries in tow. I like the idea of being in shape but honestly, most days, I like the idea of going home and reading a good book a lot more.
I have literally used forgetting a ponytail holder as an excuse to not workout over my lunch break.
Do you know why? Because getting fit is hard. And let’s face it- if something is hard, we’re going to try to get out of it. It’s human. We’ll take the easy wrong over the hard right any day.
You guys know what that’s a load of. I don’t even have to say it. Jobs, school, relationships, liquid eyeliner. They’re all work sometimes.
When You Want to Try
The truth is, there’s no Fitness Fairy Godmother. If you don’t want to, you’re not going to. No doctor or girlfriend or health blog is going to make you work out and not put garbage in your body.
That’s the first question I asked myself. Do I really want to be fit? Do I want it more than I want a nap? Or fried chicken? No one would look at me and think “Wow, she needs to lose weight”. (Right?…) My doctor hasn’t had a talk with me about getting things under control. But not being fat doesn’t mean you’re healthy. So my answer to that question needed to be for me.
I’m not happy with where I am physically, bottom line. And not just because if an axe murder was chasing me, I’d be lucky to beat a 12 minute mile. I’m not happy with where I am because I know where I could be. I used to be a gymnast. I was ripped, y’all. Ripped! Until I stopped at age 13, I could do over 20 consecutive pull ups. I won a back-handspring contest once by doing 17 in a row. 17!
So I decided I’ve been waiting on my Fitness Fairy Godmother for far too long and I needed to get up and do something about it. So I joined a CrossFit gym. Box, whatever.
Did I just lose your attention? How many of you just rolled your eyes? To normal people (people who like brownies and occasional Netflix binges) CrossFit can be a turn off. Like it’s for those people. Those people who have veins sticking out of their biceps and run for fun. Crazy people.
Well let me tell you about my first week at this place because I’m not one of those crazy people and it wasn’t at all what I expected.
When It’s Really Happening
I was really nervous the first day. You should’ve seen the people I had in my head that I was about to work out with. They were inhuman. They ate celery and celery only, did pushups for even thinking about drinking a soda, never took the elevator… You get the idea.
I also felt like I was very much going to be in the way. I knew I was going to have to ask a lot of questions. I just imagined myself flailing around in the opposite direction of these muscular robots and never being able to keep up.
If I’m being honest, that’s all partly true. There’s acronyms galore at any CrossFit and you’ve just got to ask sometimes. And guess what? They didn’t all turn around and scoff at me for asking. Contrary to popular belief, CrossFit is not middle school. In fact, the leader came up to me personally to make sure I understood and gave me tips before we started. I didn’t feel like the new kid with coke bottle glasses that came halfway through the semester. It was normal, natural.
The first day, the workout of the day (WOD) was 2 rounds of 50 wall balls and 50 burpees- after a warm up. I knew I was in for it when I was out of breath during the warm up. Most of the women grabbed a 14 pound medicine ball for the wall balls but those women also had triceps that could poke my eyes out. So the coach suggested I grab a 10 pounder and shoot for 25 reps per round instead of 50.
I’d like to say that I was just so full of adrenaline and fresh motivation that I ended up doing a solid 100 anyway. Nope. I did 30 the first round, 20 the second. There was a solid 3 minutes where I thought for sure I was going to throw up or pass out and I couldn’t decide which would be less embarrassing. There was this condescending timer on the wall, telling me how slow I am. I mean, people around me were literally doing twice the reps in half the time.
But hey, I did it. The changing room is upstairs and I had to take each step one leg at a time after the workout. I had to let the muscular robots pass me on the way up. But I did it.
I’ve felt more and more comfortable each time I’ve gone. Tomorrow will be day 6 and I plan to try this out for at least 30 days. I’m getting to know the people there, getting familiar with where the equipment is, understanding terms like Snatches and Frankenstein and 1RM.
Day 5 was the first day I felt strong(er). I finished way under the time I had set as a goal for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I was still slow. It was still hard enough to be described as miserable. But day 5 was the first day I didn’t have an exit plan in place for when I got nauseous.
I’m learning that life is just a balance between pacing yourself and pushing yourself.
If you’d like to join me on my fitness journey, you can signup to get an e-mail about my next post here.
This is part one of a three part series on “Getting Started with CrossFit”. Here is part two: “CrossFit: What are you worried about?”.
You may also like: 7 Reasons to Try CrossFit in 2015