One year of CrossFit, expectation vs reality
Well technically, today marks two years for me at CrossFit Kitchener. But for those of you considering getting in shape, it’s the first year that matters the most. It’s about the amount of time required to establish a new habit, that just runs on autopilot. It’s also the time during which you’ll see the most improvement, aka rookie gains.
Around the time I started CrossFit in 2021, I was looking for something to distract me from the divorce I was going through, particularly something that could be a source of positivity. I was no stranger to the gym and was a regular at the local Fit4Less for several years prior. I was familiar with all the standard barbell bro-lifts and tried really hard to never skip leg day. But once Covid hit, getting back to the big box gym seemed like a weight I just couldn’t move (see what I did there). So I looked elsewhere and found CrossFit Kitchener.
Once I was done with the on ramp program to get me oriented, I attended my first CrossFit group class at 5:45am on Nov 1, 2021. With warm smiles and hey-how-are-ya’s I was greeted by friendly folks to my first ever CrossFit group class. I found a spot on the gym floor and listened to the coach explain the workout. It was an AMRAP10 of 9 thrusters, and 35 double-unders. I tried to wrap my brain around a workout being so short thinking, “10 minutes, is that it?”
At the time I didn’t quite understand what an AMRAP was and, for those of you reading this who are as clueless as I was, it stands for As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible.
“Ok, how hard could this actually be,” I thought to myself in a confident tone.
Well you can guess how that workout went. It kicked my ass and I only used an empty bar with singles on the skipping rope. But in spite of my ego taking a beat-down, I was showered with good-job’s and fist bumps from everyone in the class.
Humm, this was new. I remember being a regular at Fit4Less for 3 years, seeing the same people every time and never once knowing a single person’s name or even exchanging a hello. This group class thing was, dare I say, fun.
A few days later on Nov 11, I’m acquainted with a few more new terms. Hero WOD and Murph.
A hero WOD is the workout of the day performed in memory of fallen soldiers. The armed forces, because that’s where CrossFit has its roots. Murph is performed on Memorial Day in the US and on Remembrance Day in Canada, it’s a workout consisting of a mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 air squats and another mile run, typically performed with a 20lb weight vest.
Ok, I got this. I can do all those things.
After 50 minutes of agony, I still had a mile to run. I limped out the gym door to walk-run the last mile. With half a mile to go I saw Dave (aka CrossFit Jesus) running back towards me. He towed me back to the gym doors where I was greeted with applause and high-fives from the whole gym even though I finished last. I logged a time of 65:40, the slowest time for Murph ever seen at CrossFit Kitchener.
Fast forward past covid lockdowns, I was back at the gym a few times a week, which quickly increased to five times a week and then I even went on Saturdays making it six times a week. I tried to Rx a few workouts, mostly failed, sometimes succeeded. I was developing strength and stamina, but there was something else that eluded me.
Turns out CrossFit doesn’t only require you to be strong, or fast, or have endurance, it also requires you to have technique and skill. And, the first new skill I wanted to learn were those goddamn double-unders from my first day. With tips and drills from Vic, our coach, I prioritized practice over scores. With each workout featuring DU’s I got better and better until double-unders were no longer a thing I couldn’t do.
This old dog learned a new trick.
In my first year at CrossFit Kitchener, I attended 251 CrossFit classes. A crazy number to me. I had never been this consistent with anything in my life let alone fitness. But here at 46 yrs old I’m crushing personal bests, repping muscle ups and kicking the ass of my 30 year old self. I’m still a worthy competitor against my teenagers in a foot race and have been a positive influence on them to live a healthy lifestyle that includes fitness and nutrition.
Yeah I’ll admit it, I’ve drunk the kool-aid, jumped on the bandwagon and bought into the hype. It’s only because CrossFit has delivered and continues to deliver on its promise, to make you the most physically capable version of yourself.
It’s changed my life and it will change yours too.