At the end of the day, day you can’t regret it if you were trying if you were trying.
I know many of you have seen me write about my long-term love affair and essential marriage to the movement called CrossFit the past few years. It has been as tumultuous as an actual marriage and I always keep on coming back for more because without it much of my life simply makes no sense.
Here is my backstory…
I was playing collegiate lacrosse for my university’s club team and had just finished my time with them. The party atmosphere I had developed in myself while on the team, still existed. I learned on the team I was in fact a solid athlete when it came to endurance, I was in the midst of triathlon training as well. Academically around that time was a low point, due to the constant partying and constant social life I had a fondness for beer but not for this thing called studying and getting coursework done, mainly was either too drunk or too hungover to ACTUALLY develop a cognizant thought. Academically and personally I was a mess and things were wrecked beyond what is acceptable.
I was kicked out of school due to my academic progress and had just been accepted back after a semester away at another school to show I could handle coming back to take classes seriously at NAU.
I was accepted back to NAU and was talking to a couple friends who were in crazy great shape and always saw their pictures on Facebook of what they were doing. I was intrigued. I had to enroll full-time to be back in school and had one extra credit I had to fill and saw this class that could be fun, it was called CrossFit Bootcamp. I, in fear and trepidation decided against all better judgement to sign up for the class, knowing the word Bootcamp scared the shit out of me. I wanted the challenge and needed to fill the void where lacrosse and other stuff athletically had once existed. I remember talking to some friends in Tuscon who had been doing this thing called CrossFit for a couple years and told them I had signed up for the class, she and her then fiancé (now husband) told me it was definitely an ass kicker and tough but both said it was something I would like because it was a brutal challenge.
I nervously anticipated my first class the night before as I was honestly scared about doing the class, the idea of hitting something that hard to the point I could puke or pass out in a pool of sweat didn’t seem like a fun time, it seemed like torture.
I drove up to Summit, (my former gym, and yes, I drove a car at one point too) and my heart was racing, I was more nervous than excited, I entered the “classroom” and saw some frat guys, sorority chicks and other ROTC students, I think I was the only one without an actual affiliation, so I was the loner. Jarrod and John came forth and some other guy handed out the disclaimer and indemnity forms, I thought, “Sweet, what I am about to do and signed up for could actually kill me. Awesome!”
We were given the intro to the methodology of CrossFit and a Burgener Warm Up then the workout was unveiled. It was a fit test to assess where we were at, it consisted of squats, pull ups, push ups and a mile run. I thought phew, this is doable. I did it and my results weren’t so bad. The next class was the real workout, it was pretty awful that is all I remember… Some Longest Mile bullshit, like 20 pull ups, 30 push ups, 25 squats, some prone rows and KB Swings then run 400 meters and you did it 4 times, hence being the longest mile to run. I finished it in 45 minutes and was drenched on the floor. I thought, “What the fuck did I just accomplish? Did I actually do what I read not even an hour ago? I am so toasted.”
I got in the car feeling wrecked like I had never felt before and woke up the next morning with soreness I had never felt either. I was smacked against a tree and it felt fucking great! I remember going into the next class sorer than ever because I am a delayed onset person, so 48 hours after and I am at my peak. I saw this 300 workout on the board and knew it was going to be tough. I finished it in a sweat drenched pool once again, soreness on soreness and it was awesome. I started to fall in love with what I was doing.
I began to realize fast I was going to have to make lifestyle changes to keep up with doing well at this thing called CrossFit and knew the excessive partying and long weekends of drunkenness were doing nothing for my progress in the class. I saw myself staying in more on the weekends and nights in general and was using that time of rest to do homework and other course related stuff. It was a complete change and essential 180 from where I was at when I had enrolled in the class. Even a couple of my professors and faculty advisor had remarked on the change they saw. It was seriously impressive to them, I guess. I saw for the first time in my college career a 3.0 semester, and the subsequent was a 3.5.
I was eventually asked by Jarrod about leaving the Bootcamp class and taking the On-Ramp class that I would learn the different Olympic lifts and other movements pertain ant to CrossFit WODs. I thought about it for a month before actually signing up for the class. I ended up passing the On Ramp and was allowed to train with the beasts. I remember to this day, nearly four years later what my first WOD was, it was Elizabeth. I remember new soreness from that one because it was an actual lift with a real barbell.
In retrospect and all good hindsight, a barbell and CrossFit saved my life. In so many ways. It took me out of an abusive situation with beer and alcohol and replaced it with health, wellness and fitness. It took away the irresponsibility of not doing what I needed to do to succeed and replaced it with a near military discipline or behavior of responsibility and stability. CrossFit was a saving grace for me, it gave me a place to channel my negative output and create and build a positive output on life. I am constantly challenged by it and its dividends are many. I have seen the skinny boy become a strong man, I have seen the party boy replaced with a warrior and so forth.
I am thankful for the best decision in my life over five years ago. It put so much into motion and made me the man I am today. It made me strong, stable, wise, cognizant and ultimately saved me from myself. I am forever grateful to those who have been a part of my journey in CrossFit as they have unknowingly mentored me to be a better man and gave me a community where fitness and healthy choices are nurtured and empowered.