February 22

Why I’m Never Going to the ‘Gym’ Again

grouplife

This might turn out to be a long winded post – so grab your coffee (or if you’re like me, a glass bottle of wine).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a problem with my fluctuating weight. I’ve always been pretty active with a regular gym routine, so I’ve never been grossly out of shape – but I’ve been at points where I have felt a little more than uncomfortable.

In 2011, I reached my highest point (ironically my lowest point) – tipping the scale at 200lbs, which, for my 5’7 stature was enough to make my favourite pair of pants split wide open in public. Yeah, that happened.

I didn’t know where it came from, but what I did know is that I strongly disliked feeling uncomfortable. It was time to change it.

grouplifeSo I did. I shed about 30lbs. Great!

I actually wrote about that journey right here.

And then I fell off the wagon again.

There was no real rhyme or reason other than I got bored.  Arms day. Legs day. Spin class. Weights. Over and over again.

*Yawn*

I felt like my body was changing, but as a person – I was not.  My mind wasn’t being challenged. I’d go to the gym and plug in my head phones and watch some uninspiring TV show, gawk at the other gym goers and fumble around the gym for a good two hours, sometimes breaking a sweat.

Everything felt so… monotonous.

I never gained the weight back, but over time I saw myself start to lose the definition that I had worked so hard for – and it seemed to happen instantly. I use the word ‘definition’ both figuratively and literally.

During that time, I had a number of friends that kept urging me to come try CrossFit. I couldn’t stand listening to them (sorry), I found them to be so annoying with all their “WOD talk”.

Seriously! Shut up already!

CrossFit?! That sport that proclaims to be for ‘The Fittest on Earth”?

How about the most annoying on earth!

I go to the gym, I work out, how could it possibly be that much different than what I do? How about you take a great big ‘wod’ and shove it up your ***!

What the hell is a WOD anyway?
Is this some kind of cult?
What’s a burpee? Does it involve beer?

(WOD = Work out of the day, BTW)

Not to mention that, there was a laundry list of other reasons why I didn’t feel like I needed to give it a try:

BUT, I already have a gym membership.
BUT, I LIKE to work out by myself at my own pace.
BUT, I don’t really do group classes.
BUT, I’m not in good enough shape to do CrossFit. (Which is equivalent to the annoyance of people telling me they’re not flexible enough to try yoga.. that IS why you GO to yoga, btw).
BUT, I can’t do anything overly challenging because of my problems with my right arm.

Etc, etc.

So, there it was – enough reasons why it seemed pretty pointless to bother. Save for some lacking motivation which will surely pass, I’m getting by just fine with my regular gym… so why change what’s not broken?

And here I am, entering my fourth month of CrossFit at Synergy Strength.

synergyLast fall, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. So I checked it out. I was almost immediately intimidated. OH. MY. GOD. I have just walked into the non-violent version of Fight Club. I’m breaking a sweat just by shaking in my boots.

It wasn’t that everyone there was ‘ripped’…there were all different shapes and sizes, but these people were STRONG. Stronger than anyone I had seen at a gym.

I didn’t want to go back. Not ever. Not only that; it was a pretty big eye opener for me – it showed me exactly where my weaknesses were. It was kind of depressing, actually. For all the hours I had spent in the gym doing bicep curls, leg extensions and working on building muscle, I still couldn’t do a single push up.  Climb up a rope? Not a chance.

With hesitation, I signed up to take the training (OnRamp) classes.

WTF am I getting myself into? Box jumps? I can’t do box jumps. After too many fractures, I’m terrified of jumping, period. This is NOT happening.

Maybe I should just stick with the regular gym. If I quit now, I can still get out alive.

BUT…

During that time, something else happened to change my mind. Without warning, someone I love lost the use of their legs. There I was, watching someone that’s cared for and provided for me my entire life lay in frustration day after day… as I was watching someone realize the real importance of physical strength… and watching someone who would gladly give just about anything to have another chance my mindset began to change pretty quickly.  And there I was, spending more time in a hospital than I cared to – for months – watching someone I love learn how to walk again from the ground up.

And I thought CrossFit was too much of a challenge?

<insert self bitch slap here>

I will never judge anyone based on what they do or do not do, but from that point on – my opinion on physical fitness is a little bit more pronounced. Quite honestly, perfectly capable people that don’t use their bodies to the best of their abilities drive me nuts.

You never know when that may be taken away from you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on taking what I have for granted. I plan on seeing just how much I CAN do.

If that wasn’t enough, one week after I signed up, I was in a car accident which put me out for a couple of weeks. It hit me (literally) at a  point during great financial/emotional distress and also cost me just about every dime of prize money I had won competing in a business competition for six months. I thought 200lbs was one of my lowest points – but during this time I felt even lower. I felt weak – physically and mentally. Honestly, I had no motivation to even go to CrossFit once I was able – but all that changed pretty quickly.

burpeesCrossFit has been without a doubt one of the best choices I’ve made in a long while. Except for learning what burpees are (unrelated to liquor), I’ll never like burpees. However, it’s been a few months and I’m starting to find that ‘definition’ again – and not just physically. With every ‘WOD’ I find a piece of me on the inside that becomes just a little bit more defined. I can’t explain it, but it has that kind of effect.

CrossFit strengthens the body, but more than that – it strengthens the soul.

Going to the gym and and finding your own sense of motivation is just as, if not more challenging. I’ve done it and I’ve succeeded at it. Sometimes, true strength lies in knowing when you need to reach out to others, too.  For me personally, something was missing from my humdrum work outs… something I found in CrossFit. The fact that I’m in and out in an hour tops is a bonus, but there is something about being in the ‘box’ that is just… different. In a good way. The community itself is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever been a part of – and that’s coming from someone who ‘doesn’t do group classes’ and ‘prefers to do my own thing’.

They define CrossFit as being the “Fittest on Earth”, but to me, it is so much more than the physical fitness. I’ve learned that there’s a pretty big big BIG difference between big muscle and big strength that is functional. It’s about your best form, function and pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits.  It’s about taking these and applying it to all areas of your life. It’s about being the best self you can be.

But isn’t it dangerous? Can’t you hurt yourself? Yeah, and you know what?? Getting in your car is dangerous, too. Spending precious moments of life riding the waves on the couch is dangerous. Never knowing your own strength – is dangerous.

(And by the way, a good CrossFit box is equipped with top notch coaches that make sure you don’t do anything stupid… something I never had at the gym)

Point of the story? Just because something challenges you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. That doesn’t mean you have to step into a CrossFit box – but step out of your comfort zone. Expand your perceptions. What’s right in front of you might just be the very thing you’ve been looking for.

If CrossFit is about being your very best, I think I just might be an annoying CrossFitter until the day I die.

If you can’t beat ‘em, you may as well join ‘em.