You might have noticed some weird posts from friends on their social media lately. Mentions of WODs, AMRAPs and sumo deadlifts. Nope, its not a new sexual practice or iPhone app.. welcome to the world of CrossFit.
Cross fit, as I learned recently, is fitness program that focuses on exercises somewhat like ‘basic training’ in the army. Lots of pushups, squat thrusts, pull ups and medicine balls, no machines to speak of and a cult like following.Its short, aggressive and somewhat manic in its intensity. Like Zumba, Step Aerobics and other trends of its ilk, Crossfit has it passionate supporters who see it as a portal to a whole other world (I put that down to lack of oxygen), and some swear its made them a better person able to take on tough challenges in their life. Others think its ridiculous.
Skeptics ask how safe it is for non pro lifters to be jumping on and off boxes, skipping rope and hauling large weights around what is often not much more than a garage, but I can see how any gym could be accused of the same. I’ve seen enough dudes in wife beaters trying to bench 250lbs at Ballys to know that any exercise can be dangerous, regardless of the situation or ‘title’.Seeing a hernia pop out of some dudes groin one day at the gym ended my membership and any desire lift a weight every again.
6 months ago a few people I work with started ‘Crossfitting’. My boss lost 45lbs and my girlfriend started to look like a total bad-ass. They seemed really jazzed and the results were quite startling.
I remember delts. I seem to remember that I liked having them, but the whole gym grunting sweating thing? After 3 years of yoga and running it seemed so 90s’ and really not appealing at all. Nope, not for me. I did step, I did weights.. I was over that stuff.
Then one day, finding myself in a headstand for a few minutes I noticed that not only was my stomach relaxing into a very unappealing fold, but my thighs seemed to be heading south too. I giggled at my chub and watched in horror my entire body start to wobble, like a mini tsunami in reverse. Yowser. No. Just No.
Now I know that being tight and firm while upside down isn’t exactly a goal in life, but I have to say that I don’t fancy osteoporosis either and aging isn’t going to make me any fitter. Plus with newly tattoo’d arms, I can’t hide these bat wings forever. Well it is spring and I do need a new challenge.. time to change things up. Time for Cross fit. Ugh.. but maybe I’d get good abs out of it.
Arriving 10 minutes early, I almost didn’t make it to the first class. The size of the weights, the intense sweating, the crazed looks, pulsing veins.. and that was the women. Some of these chicks could snap me with their neck muscles. I want to get fit, not turn into Henry Rollins. But before I could turn on my heel, the instructor caught my eye (damn cute too), and I was trapped. Internally chanting my ‘I’m scared’ mantra (do it once, you can always leave), I decided to ovary up and at least check it out. Plus the instructor was hawt.
After practicing with plastic poles (approximate weight… 5oz) for 20 minutes, my thighs were burning and I my head was spinning with all of the things I needed to remember in order to lift the weight the ‘right’ way. I honestly thought I had a squat down.. but jeez.. this was like Olympic level coaching .. was he planning on having me lift a car or something? Still, time was flying, the sweat was pouring off me and I’d still not picked up an actual weight. Maybe the weights were just for the ‘big girls’. I looked over at the pile of weights in the corner and felt nauseous. I couldn’t do this stuff with a plastic pole.. never mind with 50 or 75lbs. What was I thinking?
Except 20 minutes later I was lifting 50lbs.
I was Iron Man. I was Rocky. I was Her-cu-lees.
And that’s the addictive part of Cross fit. With extensive coaching and technique you can do some quite incredible things. Like lifting 50lbs. I felt invincible and strong as I powered the weight over my head again and again…. I am Thor.. I am Woman…
..until we put down the weights and had to jump on and off a box.
At which point my legs turned to Jello and I fell over. And stayed there.
Which, while horrifically embarrassing, is also addictive. Because now I need to come back in order to not fall over. I was cross that while lifting 50lbs over my head was a breeze, I couldn’t jump on and off a box without turning to ‘fat wheezing chick’. So I’m heading back to Cross fit. To redeem myself as ‘lifter of heavy things’ and ‘jumper of boxes’ and not least, to figure out what on earth WOD means. Woman of Destruction? I kind of hope so… except maybe not so veiny.