Surviving Crossfit: A New Beginning

There’s lots of bad noise about Crossfit. Videos, articles, etc. Outside Magazine is basically in some kind of all out war with them. So it was with no small trepidation that I stepped into the box today.

Here’s the story, it has been a while since I worked out. Not ran. Not did a few pushups. Really. Worked. Out. To the point of near collapse style, like back in the day. With a job change, and a marathon in November, I thought this might be the time, so I signed up for the gym that sits right next to my new work. No excuses. And as I was signing up, I saw the deal they had for Crossfit for employees of UC Davis. It was… amazing. I’d be a idiot not to at least try it.

So I dove in. It was about 95 degrees, and this particular box is outdoors. Having said that, I usually enjoy the heat. I emailed the main trainer about my knees and she promised to keep an eye on things, and mostly did. The most impressive thing though was how she went about the training.

We started out with stretches. Generally I’m not a big stretching guy, as I’m convinced that flexible runners tend to get hurt more. However, you do need SOME flexibility, and I’m well on the wrong side of that. We did some serious stretches after a 400m run to warm up.

Then the group went through what is apparently a fairly common series of movements, split jerk, wall ball, pushups, situps. We worked on a push movement, and she watched me doing pushups/situps & squats. I have developed quite a number of issues with form and she gently worked on each.

At the end of it, she said something I didn’t expect. She didn’t want me pushing any kind of significant weight until I had full range of motion & good form. It was what she SHOULD have said, but I didn’t expect that I’d hear that from a Crossfit trainer. It was a good thing.

We then did an AMRAP. That stands for “As Many Rounds As Possible” or, perhaps, let’s watch The Panther try desperately not to hurl. So in twelve minutes I had to do as many rounds of 10 push-press (dumbells), 10 sumo squat onto a ball to protect the knees, 80 jump ropes, and 10 pull-ups (using several bands so I maintained perfect form and had to go completely fully extended & chin well over the bar).

I managed 3. I was surprised. She was proud. Another trainer who happened to just be sitting in on the workout was very supportive. I’m sore. I almost puked, but didn’t. The knees are a little sore actually, but a lot of that is the 30lbs I’m carrying that I need to not carry anymore. I think I’ll keep going. Stay tuned.

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