The day after my 38th birthday, I took my first Crossfit 101 class. If you had asked me then, I would have said that I was doing it because I still had weight to lose. I was no longer able to afford a personal trainer, but found that I wouldn’t workout on my own. I wanted a place to go where someone would tell me what I needed to do and show me how to do it. Crossfit was affordable for me so I was willing to give it a shot.
Yesterday, I completed the fifth and final workout of the 2015 Crossfit Open. When I originally signed up for Crossfit, you couldn’t have convinced me that I would participate in such a thing. I had zero interest in competing. I just wanted to lose weight and get healthy. After hearing my coaches talk about the Open and recommend it as a great way to test your current fitness level, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. My goals were simple:
1. Don’t disqualify myself by not being able to complete a workout or, worse, not showing up to try.
2. Don’t die.
3. Don’t puke.
4. Don’t pass out.
5. Don’t be dead last in the world.
As of right now, none of those things have happened. (The jury is still out on #5 because scores won’t be validated until next week. I’m pretty sure I’m safe, though.) Even better than that, though, I’m proud of what I accomplished. I did so much more than I ever thought I could.
It’s hard to describe what I get out of Crossfit. It’s so much more than just a great workout. It’s the part of my life in Indianapolis that has been missing since I moved here. It’s the support system I’ve needed. When I walk into the gym, it doesn’t matter how much I can lift, how much I weigh, or how fast I am. It doesn’t matter that I’m a bit awkward, don’t understand the latest pop culture reference, or know who played in last night’s game, let alone who won.
Never in my life have I felt stronger and more empowered that I have since starting Crossfit. The workouts have been part of that, of course, but it’s the people I workout with that have made the biggest difference. When someone who can bench press four times as you tells you you’ve done a great job and means it, well, that’s pretty cool. When every baby step is celebrated, it can boost you higher than setting a new PR (personal record). I’m not someone who generally enjoys being the center of attention, but being surrounded by people cheering you on, reminding you how strong you really are, and coaching you through the worst of it when you think you’re going to die….. That’s pretty special.
I’ve jokingly called my Crossfit journey Operation Badass. When I started, that meant being physically strong and fearless. What I know now is that I’m already a badass. I show up. I do the work no matter how badly I don’t want to. (Believe me, I’ve never wanted to bail on a workout more than I wanted to yesterday.) Being a badass means being who you are wherever you are, facing your fears, and simply trying. Lifting 10#? Badass. Lifting 100#? Badass. Jumping onto one bumper plate? Badass. Jumping onto a 24″ box? Badass. The people at my gym, especially the women, have taught me that. I look forward to going to the gym every day now to see what I can do and to support those who have supported me.
In my usual awkward fashion, I have failed to really express what this journey has meant to me. To really understand it, you’ve just got to be a badass yourself. Show up. You’ll never look back.