I hate you. I wish I had never met you. I just reached over to grab my coffee and shooting pains went from my butt to my lower back. Why? Because of what you did to me yesterday.
I hate you for weighted-lunges with a 53 lb kettle bell. I hate you for the low-crawling that tore the skin off my knees. For the tire flipping. For the burpees.
I hate you for the perfect simplicity behind the concept that is your key to huge success: Varied functional movement performed at high intensity.
I hate you when I’m struggling out of bed the morning after performing the Bear Complex. Power clean, front squat, push press, back squat, push press. And again. And again. 7 reps of that? Really? 5 rounds? WTF thought this up and why? I hate you because the next morning my entire body feels like it’s made of glass. Like if I stumble in the darkness in my half-awake stupor I will fall and break into a million tiny pieces of sore-ass man meat. And you mean to tell me that I have to get showered, shaved, dressed, and report to work after I take kids to school feeling like this? That’s your fault, Crossfit.
I hate you for the exhaustion I feel six hours after a 48-minute full-body metabolic conditioning workout (with some strength training thrown in, because why the hell not?). 48 minutes of chipping away at never-ending reps that are doing their best to demolish my psyche and convince me I’m a lazy piece-of-crap. Then six hours later you’re still f–king with my life, making me tired and rife with aches and muscle spasms. Thanks a lot, Crossfit.
I hate you for the up-and-down relationship we’ve had. You’re hard to love. But I love you anyway.
It’s no wonder I broke up with you a few years ago. You intentionally cause me pain and suffering. You invade my life and make me feel like I’m in a cult. I admit, you come with amazing benefits. We’ve had an on-again/off-again relationship, you and me. In 2009 I fell in love with you. In 2011 my new affair with running a marathon took me away from you for a time. We saw each other less and less until it was eventually over. Then in 2012 a new fire burned for you deep in my heart.
Although I loved running, I had a stronger desire to be…well…stronger. Running is great, but I love throwing weight around. Muscle mass is a long distance runner’s enemy. You know this, Crossfit. You know how to draw people like me into your box. I saw you one day as I drove past. The old pangs rose from below and choked me into concession.
I guess I wanted you back.
So there we were again. You dictating the movements and runs and reps and wods. Me deadlifting so much that we ran out of room on the bar for the weights, running a sub 23-minute 5k, and doing successive pull-ups like before. Surrounding myself with positive people that all wanted to enjoy life and fitness.
But I wasn’t really ready yet. Because I let life take me away again. Instead of making my body and health a priority, I let the trial and tribulations of family, work and bills win. After all, those things are easier to manage than the BS you put me through, Crossfit.
And then I came back. And then I went away again. And then I came back. And then I went away again… Dammit, you’re a fickle mistress.
But mostly I hate you because I realize now it’s not you. It’s me.
There’s a reason that countless men and women utilize Crossfit to improve their physical and mental lives. There’s reason that the military, police, fire, and other agencies utilize Crossfit to improve their ranks. Yep. It’s not you.
I hate you for that day back in March 2017, right after my 40th birthday, when I had finally had enough of looking at my gut. When I finally had enough of being out of breath or feeling too tired for anything, too heavy for anything. When I finally had enough of remembering what it was like to be really fit and knowing my laziness was the only reason I no longer was.
I hate you because I realized at my 40th birthday party I was miserable with myself. And I realized days later while I was mowing the backyard one Saturday afternoon, looking down at my gut, feeling out-of-breath, that I had to bring YOU back into my life. Because I WAS 40. There was no more time to waste. I had to make this change for good. Forever and ever. Until I physically couldn’t do it anymore.
And so I did it. Because of you, I texted Tommy Williams and asked him what I needed to do to get signed back up and start wodding the following Monday. I hate you for letting Occam’s Razor supply his terse response:
“Just show up.”
And I hate you even more because of what I texted next:
“No matter what happens do not let me quit ever again. If I stop showing up for any reason, remind me how disgustingly out-of-shape I am right now. Make me feel like sh*t.” Or something very close to that.
Either way, I surrendered myself to accountability that day. You win, Crossfit. And thus, I’ve taken you back once again. Once again you’re a regular fixture in my life, 3-4 times a week.
But I still hate you when I’m busting my ass to get done with my legal work on time to make the 5:30pm, scrambling to get the office shut down, to make sure I called all my clients for the day. Because I sure as hell don’t want to get called out in front of the entire Crossfit class for showing up late or forgetting to sign in. Heaven forbid…
I hate you when I’m finished with the first two workouts-of-the-day (wods) and then you tell me I have to run 3 miles. And all during that run I’m telling myself everything I can freakin’ think of not to stop running and walk. Holy cow, how good it would feel to stop running and just walk a few steps? But I can’t. Because I know what will happen: Shame.
So I talk to myself and say interesting things, like, “If you don’t finish this with a respectable time, you suck as a person.” Or “You know Tommy will text you later and tell you how slow and fat you are because your time sucked.” Because that MF-er goes and looks at the logs to see who showed up and how they did. It’s a Crossfit coach thing, I guess. Log, log, log. And I am pretty sure I forgot to log yesterday. Screw you for that, too, Crossfit.
I hate you when the wod switches between deadlifting, then jumping up on a 24 inch box, then doing 15 pull-ups, then running 500 meters as fast as I possibly can. And I hate you because my competitive nature will not let me get too far behind the gazelles of the group. So I force my 6’3″, 260 pounds to keep up with all the damn rabbits and gazelles that do this crazy Crossfit journey with me (and MUCH faster than me).
So there I am, because of you, Crossfit, sucking air, tromping like a damn Clydesdale on pavement in circles around the Box, trying to stay in the pack with a bunch of Prefontaines so I can get my big ass back in there to jump on that box and then do another 15 pull-ups. I could be at the bar drinking a cold beer. Or home vegging out on the recliner with a bag of chips. But no, I’m here subjecting myself to pain and sorrow. And don’t even get me started on what it’s like to pull my big ass up for 15 reps times 5 rounds of pull-ups. I hate you, Crossfit.
Oh sure, my kids like you. Good for them. That’s real good for them. They love it that I can sweep them up and throw them over my shoulder and run around with both of us laughing. Even my 8th grader who’s 100 lbs. He thinks it’s hilarious when I grab him and lift him with ease not having to worry about straining my back. And yeah, they love it when I run with them, throw balls with them, hike with them, or do whatever they want to do. They love it that I don’t get tired or out-of-breath. The 2-year-old has no idea what sort of pain I endure that allows me to easily squat down on her level and play with her or lift her at a funny angle to put her in her carseat.
And my wife. She loves you. Well, except when she’s subject to your same punishments. But when she’s hugging me and there’s no spare tire between us, she loves you. When I sweep her up in the kitchen and kiss her while holding her the same way I did 20 years ago, she loves you. Whatever, Crossfit. Oh sure, she loves the way I look now without a shirt, but does she really understand what you do to me in order for that to happen? She loves that when I come home from enduring your punishments I’m positive and confident. She loves that I have energy to do a lot of things in one day rather than just a few. She loves you because you give me more than enough endurance to take care of her in so many ways…
And even though I hate you so much, I have to admit that I love what you have done for our marriage now that we are Crossfitting together. I’m pretty happy with the way she is these days, too. Because as much as doing one of your wods sucks, we are both fitter, happier and stronger. Mentally and physically. There ain’t nothin’ that can take us down as a couple. We backpacked the Rockies two months ago thanks to a more active life. And I guess I have to eat a whole plate of crow and give you credit for some of that.
But I still hate you, Crossfit.
Yet, after all this time, I know that no matter how much drama you and I have between us, I can’t ever let you go again.
Until my body gives out. Like diamonds, we are forever.
I know that lifting weights in an air-conditioned gym will never again be my thing. Too boring. I know that running 30 miles a week as my sole source of exercise is a thing of my past. I know that my intense nature requires me to be in the extremes, even when it comes to working out.
I know that I need high intensity, varied functional movements to challenge me. As much as I hate you, I know I need to sweat it out with other like-minded women and men in a gym that’s either too hot or too cold, with either heavy metal or hip hop (or a mix of the two) grinding into my ears as I squat 325 lbs multiple times or do double-under jump ropes 200 times as fast as possible.
As much as I hate you, I know that showing up is all it takes. As much as I hate you, I know that the most important day I need to get to the gym is the day I don’t want to go. I know that after each horrible wod my Crossfit and Boot Camp family will high-five or give me a fist-bump, tell me good job, or encourage me if I’m still slogging out hand-stand pushups or toes-to-bar reps. And I’ll do the same for them.
I know that as much as I hate you, I wouldn’t hesitate to get into a 50-minute “chipper” wod with this sweaty, positive-minded, no-quit-in-them, dirty group of optometrists, moms, panty-hose salesmen, firemen, utility workers, police officers, military reservists, lawyers, real estate agents, teachers, twenty-somethings to fifty-somethings, boys, girls, men and women. I wouldn’t trade this for any other type of fitness regime the world can throw at me. I know, because I’ve tried just about everything over the last 10 years.
I can’t quit you, Crossfit. So screw the hell out of you.
And thanks…from my whole family.
Go to www.crossfit.com to learn more about Crossfit.
For more about Iron Antler Crossfit or Amazen Boot Camp go to http://amazenbootcamp.rxgymsoftware.com/index.asp?pageid=1&start=0