beginning a journey with crossfit

Near the end of last year, a local gym had a deal going on LivingSocial for discounted classes and I decided to try it out.

For a long time, I was averse to gyms after failing miserably to go to one that I was a member of with any regularity. I was doing a lot of biking and some running already, and I just didn’t see the need to do much else when I was in “good enough” shape to do the things that I wanted to do. And I also lacked both discipline and motivation (to be completely honest).

Well. I did have one motivation: my annoying slim build. Yes, it doesn’t seem like something to complain about, but it’s been a source of grief as people either are dismissive about my health problems or underestimate my abilities.

I’ve done little to no serious lifting in my life, and I was only drawn to it late in college because a sports medicine doctor told me that I needed to do strength work. I had persistent back issues while riding with a competitive cycling club for a while. After graduating though, it was never a priority. The periodic running or biking event that I kept in marginal shape, but my only real reason for having a YMCA membership at the time was because it was discounted through my employer.

Things got worse when I moved across the country to attend graduate school. My first year was okay, but after my second year even my cycling sucked. I met a guy who only started the year before and easily kicked my butt. I had some of the strength, and none of the endurance. When I joined him, his now-wife, and his friend, I was so embarrassed when I bonked out that I never joined them again.

That was a wake-up call for me. I enjoyed and even prided myself on being able to compete with only sporadic workouts. And that no longer seemed to be enough.  It was an annoying realization that if I wanted to be able to perform consistently, I needed to train consistently. The occasional fun run wasn’t going to do it.

I wanted to hit the gym, but I also knew that paying a membership wouldn’t be enough of a carrot. So I resolved to become better disciplined. Over the past two years, I’ve upgraded from 5ks to 15ks and half-marathons. I do sprint intervals and calisthenics regularly and I eat–well, I don’t eat as well as I could, but it’s not bad.

The point is that I’ve matured, and I’ve grown into someone who can set higher fitness goals and reach them. Now I’m proud to say that the time has finally come. No more excuses.

To take things up to the next level, I knew what I personally needed: accountability, community, and structure. I didn’t know much about CrossFit but discovered via Facebook that one of my acquaintances is a CrossFit Coach (you’d think I’d notice earlier after seeing his photo stream!). After asking his advice, I was convinced that this might be a good fit.

After trying it out for the past month, it was exactly what I hoped for. The variation and high intensity workouts keep things exciting. I love that it’s built around functional movement. It’s certainly challenging, but the coaches scaffold the exercises and the other members are very supportive. All in all, it’s been a great supplement to my running.

It ‘s also spurred me to keep a record of my progress for the first time through this blog starting with this post. Because this week, I began there as a regular member.

To anyone reading out there, I hope you’ll join me on my journey and share your own story, struggles, and successes as well, no matter where you are and what you’re doing. The Internet is great for learning from each other, and that’s something I hope to do with this blog.

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