The New Kid in a CrossFit Gym

walnutsI've been talking about trying crossfit for almost a year now, which is in typical fashion to how I approach most things in life; let it percolate, percolate, percolate, and then suddenly: Over-commit!  Any chance at all really to do nothing, and then EVERYTHING, (include carry the member card laminated in my wallet), I'll take it. I'm not certain however, if that's how it will be with crossfit.

Gyms are scary places when you don't know the system. They're hard to infiltrate. You walk in, you assume everyone you see is a regular. You are suddenly aware of your workout-outfit. The gym-owner tries to joke around with you to get you on board - to show you that this is a community, not, as you first thought, a gym. At least that's been my experience in places I'd call actual gyms. (There are of course the other ones that try to buy your way in when they send a girl in a red-jacket with coupons out to approach unsuspecting female customers, who thought they were just out to get groceries, and not join the "women's only" complex attached to the superstore.)

So last week I finally mustered the "I'm doing this" up and wrote down the address for the crossfit gym I'd been eyeing. Nice and close, good hours. Seems like a perfect marriage for a girl like me. I was already planning the workouts into my calendar and I hadn't even figured out exactly how to get there. Like I said, from 0 to 100%.

How to get there as it turned out, was not a problem. Finding it once I got there, was.

An industrial park, about 15 buildings in a row with old crumbling outsides, the businesses it had been built for long run bankrupt or to locations with a better curb appeal for their growing customer base. I did one drive past the address on my sticky note and saw nothing. A few cars parked on a diagonal up against the building, but no sign with a business name, and certainly nothing to indicate to a girl like me, where to "ENTER GYM HERE" without looking like the new kid. I pull in to where I think it's supposed to be, and the guys at the adjacent loading bay, packing linens into the back of a cube van for delivery, eye me skeptically. "What's a girl like you, doing around a place like this."

(Judgement: What if I'd been there for linens?)

Around the side of the building I park my car, google the gym again and find I'm in the right place.

And like I said, I'd already planned an intense schedule into my "I-CAL" which meant I had approximately 48 hours to find the place, introduce myself, sign a waiver and get going with it already.


So I pull up along side the row of cars. And then I notice, on a door with no window, a small sign, like the one you display on your desk. It's the name of the parent gym I'd seen below the CrossFit headliner on their website. So at least I was in the right place.

But there's no one going in or out. Other then me of course.

I pushed the door open a bit reluctantly and I'm met with the dim room, a bunch of couches you'd see at a garage sale, a coffee table with "Paleo Diet Lifestyle" strewn across a pile of about 10 other books.

The owner's nice. He's got an intense look and he tells me that normally cross fitters aren't as bulky as he is - he's a professional heavy-weight lifter. Or whatever it's called.

And I'm watching the crossfit class and there's a good mixture of normal, really fit looking people and I'm inspired. I'm not too crazy about well-lit places with girls on elliptical machines wearing bar make-up anyway. This is the sort of seedy underbelly place where I want to tell my body to just stop already with the extra body fat. All this to say, we can confirm through science that frills are not necessary when you're looking to lift a weight, and build some inner strength.

Within two days I"m back attending my first class.

And I'm paired up with the only guy taking the class that day. As I quickly learned it was the "team-work" day. So now I'm not just there to try and muddle through my own set of exercises - I'm there to muddle through my workout with a complete stranger and I was in that lovely situation where my skill and fitness level directly impacted his work-out. I don't have to be a new kid to know that people in these sorts of scenarios like to make their efforts count; each and every time. As I clumsily threw a 10 pound medicine ball from a squat position, in a pathetic attempt to hit the faded red line painted on the wall about 10 feet above me, all I could think was "I hate this, I hate this, I hate this."

And the guy who's my partner is counting down under his breath as I take my turn, trying to shave off a meagre quarter of the reps we're supposed to collectively make our way through in that round.

You see, crossfit isn't just about strength, it's also about agility, speed, coordination. And I'm the person who dropped her wallet and shoes after I tried to turn the handle on the locked door of the gym while everyone else sat in their cars and waited for me to discover that's not how it works around here. You just chill man and wait for the owner guy.

But I'm not chill or coordinated. And I'm out of shape and I'm clumsy. But I'll be damned if I don't give crossfit a try at least once in my life.

So I made it through the 25 minute rotation. And this morning I used the wheelchair bar to lower myself onto the toilet when we were out for breakfast. It might have been the walking lunges. Or the wall-ball.


I'm not sure exactly what happened in that building in the abandoned industrial park yesterday. Maybe I'll go back and trace my steps once I've recovered.

*please note all the photos used in this post were not sourced because I'm still in too much pain to give a damn.