Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My experience with Crossfit - Part 1

It was November 2008, and I was 39 years old. The realization that I was going to turn 40 in a few months was sobering. I knew I was out of shape. I vowed to get in shape before I turned 40, but didn't know what to do.

I had already been playing with the idea of creating a multi-discipline workout regime. My idea was to combine karate, yoga, and weight training. But how to do that in a sensible way eluded me.

I was reading about how the actors and stunt men from the movie "300" had trained. I followed the trail and eventually this led me to Crossfit. I was amazed. Someone had already taken my idea except using sprint training, gymnastics, and weight training - Still very similar. But all the hard work in developing the program was done. The workouts seemed impossibly hard. I had to try it.

So I went to Crossfit One World, in Union City, CA, and signed up for their introductory classes - they required three one hour private sessions before they would turn you loose in the group classes. I knew I was out of shape, but my first class put it in sharp relief.

We started with squatting. Everybody starts with squatting. This was really hard. I lacked flexibility. I lacked conscious control of my back muscles. I lacked leg strength. We did several sets of unweighted squats, just trying to get the technique down. After about 20 minutes I was gassed. My legs were rubbery and burning. To finish off the session my trainer suggested I try the "Cindy" workout - as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 squats. I did one round, and didn't finish the second. I was dizzy and nauseous.

Thankfully, that was the worst day I ever had doing Crossfit. I've been plenty uncomfortable in many workouts since then, but have never been to the point of puking.

I began doing Crossfit regularly with the goal of eventually maintaining a three on, one off (three days working out followed by one day resting) schedule. I never got there. Although I made quick progress the first three months, I made almost no progress the following 8 months. I was plagued with nagging injuries and over-training. Some days, after doing a workout, I would lay in bed exhausted, but unable to fall asleep. My body was in shock, twitching and tremoring, and my mind was racing. I just couldn't make it work for me.

So after 11 months, I gave up on Crossfit and started a new program. I'll talk about it more in part 2.

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