Well, the time has come to acknowledge the mighty CrossFit revolution. I’ve felt it coming for some time now, since I still can’t muster the intestinal fortitude to click past Tony Horton or Shaun T torturing throngs of sweaty minions on the gritty sets of their late-night infomercials. I find it very fascinating, this workout method, and I’ve recently incorporated some of their convention into my own conditioning. They do it for a much longer duration, though, and it looks uncomfortable.
A new friend from the gym invited me to join she and her husband at a local CrossFit box (or studio if you’re not as hip as me) for a class. It was super close to the house, and as I mentioned, I was very curious about the whole thing. Upon entering Emergent Fitness we were greeted by Chris, the owner. We filled out the requisite paperwork and headed over to our trainer, Greg, who was outlining his plan of pain on the enormous whiteboard covering the back wall. He introduced himself with a firm handshake and a huge grin, a grin that kept on keeping on through our entire 1 hour session.
After the introductions, my friends, I and the 3 other willing vicitms began our warm up exercises. We started on the foam rollers. I’ve seen these things at my gym and always wondered. They are actually pretty cool, sort of like an inverted human rolling pin. I particularly enjoyed rolling my upper back and shoulders, but had a harder time rolling the sides. It was pretty wobbly and I kept falling off the thing. I was really impressed by the huge (and obviously very committed) dude rolling his chest and abdomen. I skipped that to avoid the inevitable, though potentially entertaining faceplant. We then moved on to the other warm-up exercises. I don’t remember them exactly, but we did some good basics like pushups, butt kicks, lunges and jumping rope. I haven’t jumped rope for real in a very long time. It was surprisingly difficult, and I could only manage by double hopping between skips, just like when I was a kid. I guess I’ll need more practice to perform the elite single hops of my classmates. The warm-up felt great, and strangely enough, just like a regular workout. We did 2 rounds of about 5 or 6 exercises, and we were 30 minutes in. Good day, let’s go…not.
I felt the grin beaming from Greg as he escorted us all back to the whiteboard. Now we would begin the actual workout he’d been listing out during our warm-up. The name of it was ‘The Suffer’ – we were clearly in for some fun. And the grin continued. 4 rounds of 5 minutes worth of exercises were scrawled on the board. We had our choice in some of the moves, which I thought was very considerate, so it didn’t seem too daunting upon initial inspection. You notice I said initial. I was feeling good at the outset based on the warm-up and my advanced level of fitness. Greg detailed the exact form for the the squat press thingies we’d be doing and dropped 2 – 15lb dumbbells in front of me. Hmph, I thought. I can press 60lbs over my head, so this should be cake. I was soon eating that ‘cake’ by the mouthful after the first round of 20, and even had to drop to 12 lbs by the 4th round. 80 reps in all. We also did 2,000 meters of rowing (well, most of us anyway) and way too many box jumps, half of which I downgraded to step-ups. And the grin was with us all the way, encouraging each of us and counting down the time. Advanced level of fitness? Nope. Intermediate level? Maybe. Ego shattering? Definitely!
All-in-all, a very solid and demanding workout. I am proud to have slogged for the entire hour and not become Pukie the Clown (a technical term taken from the official CrossFit lingo page) and one I won’t be attempting again until I’ve had some time to recover.
Many thanks to my friend Janet, Chris, Greg and all the folks at Emergent Fitness for their hospitality and for handing me my butt on a platter. Strong wishes guys!
Are you a CrossFitter? Ever done it? Want to?