“CrossFit sucks. Don’t try it. You’ll get hurt.” Those are the kinds of things you usually hear about it before you even get a chance to see what it is for yourself. I listened to those rumors for a while but eventually decided to see what it was all about. I figured, I was in shape and would probably just cruise through their workouts either way. I was in for a treat.
My first experience with CrossFit and the reason why I am where I am today took place in 2013. At the time, I was employed by 24 Hour Fitness and had a completely different outlook on what working out was all about. I was used to throwing on a pair of headphones and zoning out the world for an hour or two as I did my own thing. I’d do the typical bodybuilding workout where I’d lift some weight and then take a nice long rest until I lifted a little bit more. Every once in a while, I’d look into one of the many mirrors that covered the gym walls and check out my pump. You know, typical “globo gym” stuff.
By 2013 CrossFit had already spread quite a bit and although I didn’t think there was something wrong with my current workouts, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I had heard tons of negative things about CrossFit so rather than dropping in somewhere and possibly having a bad experience, I went straight to the source. I decided to go through the CrossFit Level 1 Certification course before forming any of my own opinions about CrossFit. Coincidentally, the next available Level 1 course I could get into was being taught at CrossFit Strong.
On the first day of my Level 1 all of the participants had to do a workout together. Right before we began warming up, the instructors informed the class that we were going to do “Fran.” As soon as this was announced, everyone but me had some pretty intense reactions. I was the only person in the room that had no idea what was about to go down. I’d find out soon enough.
During my first set of thrusters I probably did 5 extra because I had some guy named Gale no-repping me and screaming at me to go lower. As far as I knew, going to parallel was good enough. These CrossFit guys were crazy though. They wanted me to actually get depth ;) Once I was finally done with those darn thrusters, I hopped on the pull up bar and did 21 unbroken strict pull ups because I wanted to finish quickly and I didn’t know how to kip. Bad idea.
The next set of thrusters was no different than the first. There’s Gale again, screaming at me to get lower and no-repping me over and over. Doing his best to make me better. That, or kill me. I was about halfway through with my first CrossFit workout and I already hated thrusters. My next set of pull-ups wasn’t any prettier. Since I did the first set unbroken, I got to a point where I had to rest quite a bit and do singles so that I could get my chin over the bar. By this point my forearms and biceps felt like they were the size of my head. (My head is pretty big)
As I walked to my bar to do the last set of thrusters, I realized something that hit me like a ton of bricks. Everyone else was already done. I was upset and completely embarrassed that I was dead last. As I started my last set of thrusters, I completely zoned out mentally. I was bummed. It wasn’t until I dropped my bar and headed towards the pull-up bar that I realized I wasn’t alone. A small crowd of people had gathered around me. This same crowd cheered me on as I fought to finish my last set of pull-ups. I finished with a time of 9:55. This was 5 seconds under the 10-minute time cap the instructors had put in place.
It was finally over. My lungs felt like they were on fire and my heart was pounding out of my chest. It was at this moment that I realized CrossFit was the real deal. Not because of the way I felt physically but because of how I felt emotionally. I would have never been able to push myself that hard alone and I would have never finished that workout within the time cap without everyone cheering me on. Those guys and girls that screamed at me to get those last pull-ups done within the time cap left a lasting impression.
It was because of that group of people and those instructors that I am where I am today. I realized then, that CrossFit was more than just an exercise regimen. CrossFit brings people together from all shapes of life and builds them up together. I loved that. I was never going to go back to being the “globo gym” guy with headphones on shutting out the world. I wanted to be there with these people throwing weight around as the music blared. I wanted to cheer people on and be a part of something epic. I wasn’t ever looking back. I wanted to CrossFit and I wanted do it at CrossFit Strong.