The Crossfit version of the cliché story beginning “It was a dark and stormy night” is “I thought I was in half way decent shape until I started CrossFit”, as much as I don’t want to sound like a cliché’ this is how my story starts. I had spent years as a gym rat doing the bodybuilding type weight lifting programs, had a history or physical fitness that included high school wrestling, 8 years in the U. S. Marine Corps (several of them in Reconnaissance teams) and a few years of semi-pro football, but Crossfit quickly proved there is “in shape” and there is “in CrossFit shape”. I played around with what I thought was CrossFit at a GLOBO gym doing the WOD from the main site but after my wife did a ramp up class at another affiliate she came home showing me how to do the Oly lifts that I still couldn’t do, even though I kept watching the YouTube videos and demos on CrossFit.com. Finally I decided to go to a CrossFit Affiliate with the plan of learning these moves and then taking what I learned back to my GLOBO.
I picked CrossFit Chicago for 2 reasons: 1) The owner is a fellow former Marine. Semper Fi, he gets my money. 2) They had a CF Kids class. I had seen the benefits of having my son in Karate and I know how much I need to work out to keep positive and stay focused, I wanted to see if CrossFit kids had the same benefits for my son at school as working out did for me at work.
My first CFC WOD was at the hands of Kelly and Randy. Randy likes to remind me that I told him pointe blank, “I am here to learn the movements and then I am going to go back to my much less expensive gym”. I also remember arrogantly answering his question “have you ever CrossFitted before?” with “Yep, this morning.” What I learned that day was no matter how well I may have learned the movements here I could not take CrossFit Chicago back to my GLOBO. When I would have stopped on my own because I needed a break Randy was there to tell me I couldn’t have one…I think it was revenge for the GLOBO comment. When I thought I was strong, little bitty Kelly was lifting almost the same weight. When I was still finishing the WOD everyone else, who were busy cleaning up their stations because they were long done, kept yelling encouragement to me. Whatever I was doing at my gym before was not CrossFit, it may have been CrossFit movements and workouts, but it was not CrossFit!
CrossFit can’t be done alone, you need coaches to get in your face and call you out when you don’t think you can do something or you start taking shortcuts because you are hurting and tired. You need your classmates to lift you up telling you that you can do it and challenging you to beat them. You need a whiteboard to look at before you start so you know who you have to beat and what you have to do to beat them. You need a blog to post your victories, talk trash and make friends.
I have made bonds with guys here that rival those of my wrestling, football and Marine Corps days. There is something about sharing the experience of the pain and exhaustion that comes at the hands of the CFC programmers and coaches. You can doing CrossFit workouts at any gym but you aren’t CrossFitting if you’re not with your CrossFit family, and there is no better CrossFit family than the one you’ll find at CFC.
Oh, and while I was making here making friends I also lost 25lbs, no longer have asthma, stopped snoring, increased my Squat by 40lbs, increased my Deadlift by 30lbs, lost only a little off my bench press, even though I’ve only done the bench 3-5 times in the last year, no longer have joint pains, can do Muscle Ups and have some halfway decent Oly lifts, both form and poundage. My son is maintaining an “A” average and teachers are no longer talking about his attention or hyper-activity (no he is not taking any ADD/ADHD meds). He is more confident, kicks and punches harder in Karate and flies around the flag football field at Safety like John Lynch.