There’s a First Time for Everything
I know a handful of people that are Crossfit enthusiasts and after talking to them and reading about it and seeing the photos, I decided it was time to suck it up and give it a try. If you’re asking yourself why I’d voluntarily go from being a Grade-A Couch Potato doing absolutely zero physical activity to something like Crossfit, then you have a lot to learn about me. This is exactly the kind of balls-to-the-wall decision I’d make. Namely because I’m extremely competitive by nature and from everything I’ve seen, read and heard about it, Crossfit is exactly the kind of workout that will change my body in the ways I’m looking for.
I signed up for the Foundations class. This is a six class series that introduces you to the fundamental movements and techniques inherent in the Crossfit workout. Even better, the “box” (i.e. gym) I signed up for offers this for free. It’s a non-committal way to see if Crossfit is really for you before having to invest anything other than some time and sweat.
I donned leggings, Reeboks, a sports bra that has grown too tight and a Danskin shirt. I haven’t worn my workout clothes in months and I wasn’t exactly comfortable wearing them in public. When I was running on a consistent basis, I used the gym in my building, so it’s not like I ever had to go more than a few floors. Not the case last night. I walked into the box and stood off to the side while an obvious coach was wrapping up a conversation with a sweat-soaked client while the box filled up with beefy men. I shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot while filling out my paperwork and noticed the obvious lack of women.
Three other people showed up for the Foundations class – all men. Fortunately none of them tried to get friendly with me. I was already uncomfortable enough. After walking us through the basics of what Crossfit is, what each member of the coaching staff brings to the Crossfit experience and a walk through of the box, we got to work learning how to properly do the following seemingly simple exercises: squats, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups and using the rowing machine.
First thing I learned? I can’t do a sit-up the traditional way. You know, like when someone is supposed to be holding your feet. Nope. Can’t do a single one. Give me that little cushion for my back, have me butterfly my legs and do them the Crossfit way and I can do a TON of them. “These are harder,” the coach said.
“Then why are they so much easier for me?”
“I was watching your form on the other ones. You just need someone to hold your feet. You can do sit-ups.”
“Just wait for the pull-ups. You haven’t even begun to see the hilarity that is my failure.”
But before we could even get to pull-ups, I was introduced to a proper push-up. Apparently I’ve been doing them wrong my entire life. A wide stance has made them easier and no one, not a single trainer ever has told me that your body has to touch the ground when you do them. So, apparently I’ve only ever done half push-ups. Until last night when I discovered that I can hardly eek one out without having to use every muscle in my back to pull me up. Or, in short:
I did really well on the rowing machine and when we got to the rig to do pull-ups, I immediately knew I was going to have to modify them by using the rings. I wasn’t about to continue embarrassing myself. Once we walked through all of the fundamentals, it was time to do the actual WOD – which given the time was just a quick run-through of the moves we had just practiced, not a full workout.
- 500 meter row (for time)
- 40 squats
- 30 sit-ups
- 20 push-ups (the trainer was merciful and gave me a bench)
- 10 pull-ups (on the rings)
My baseline time? A whopping 9:43. Nine minutes and 43 seconds.
Know what killed me? My utter lack of upper body strength. I was kicking ass and taking names until we got to the push-ups. There were four of us in the class and I was the second one to get all the way through the row, squats and sit-ups. However, I fell way the hell behind when it came time for push-ups (struggling to do them on my toes, then my knees, then just laying on my face waiting for the trainer to bring the bench) and then trying to pull myself up with the rings at what I deemed a respectable enough angle so as to actually appear to be working out.
Nine minutes and 43 seconds.
So here’s the deal. If I had to finish dead last in my group, I’m going to work my ass off to make sure I’m not in the same place when we do this WOD again at the sixth and final Foundations class. My legs were like Jell-o and my arms, well…they hurt to even lift my fork full of turkey burger into my face last night when I got home. But I’m determined to do better by the time we do this again.
In the meantime, I have a day to recover because the next class is tomorrow night.
And as for all the ladies? Apparently they do exist. They’re just not starting out in the Foundations class I was in because there were quite a few of them waiting for the 8:30 class to get underway.