Old Dog Learns New Tricks!
I admit it. My only form of exercise is playing computer card games. I get some good wrist action going some days. And I walk. I can walk for hours in a city like San Francisco and I like to walk in the neighborhood. But run? Not me. Not even half a block. I have no lung power. I have no stamina.
I tried a gym a few years ago and even hired a personal trainer. She was very good and had me working hard. Trouble is, I never got any better. If I had to run around the building, it was just as hard today as the last time. And the workouts were boring. Day after day, same thing. Same machines. Same routine. The worst part was my lack of enthusiasm. I hated going there and I never really pushed myself. Tired today? Oh well. Let’s walk on the treadmill and be done with it. If my trainer was counting down reps, and I was struggling, it went like this. “Ten, nine, eight, two, one.”
Last summer my husband, AKA the man, joined an exercise program. He came home drenched with sweat and dead tired. He watched videos on line. He went faithfully every week day and some weekends. I called it his new religion. *I* totally ignored what he was doing. Then one day I went to watch a Saturday open house demonstration. Interesting. The man is NOT a large guy, but he lost TWO belt notches over the course of several months.
I knew I needed to get my body into shape. I wasn’t getting any younger! OK, I am OLD. The half century mark is long passed. It wasn’t going to get any easier. I had twenty “mom years” of extra weight on me. Without telling the man, I e-mailed the gym owner to ask if he accepted “wimps”. He replied that I would get two free workouts. I went.
I call it low key-high intensity. The first day Justin showed me many of the basic movements required. My body began screaming at me. “WHAT THE #*&% ARE YOU DOING TO ME?” I barely made it through the session. My body rebelled. The next day I made it through the routine before being sick. Yup. Our bodies will let us know when we have overworked them. Was I nuts the WANT to do this? Apparently so, because I returned. So what is this program that has lured us in? CrossFit.
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning brand. Its purpose is functional fitness. Clients run, jump rope, do pushups, and carry or pull odd objects. They frequently move large loads quickly over long distances. We are taught powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting techniques. CrossFit athletes also use dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, kettle bells, and many bodyweight exercises. It is hard work.
I returned the next week and began two months of one on one training with three different CrossFit trainers. I sweated, I groaned, I cursed. But I did it. Everything was scaled down for this newbie. Lifting weights was just the bar for me. There are two. One is15lbs and the other 45lbs. I used the lighter one to learn the correct movements.
One day Justin told me I was going to do the Work Out of the Day (WOD) but I only had to do it THREE times. I puffed my way through it and Justin called out, “I lied. You have to do it FOUR times.” Akkkk. I grunted some more. He then said, “Lorra, I lied again. You can do it FIVE times, just like everyone else.” I finished and collapsed. But I had completed the WOD. Secretly I was proud of myself.
Two months after I started, I was put into a regular class. I chose the time that worked best for me and was warned that this group was mostly 20-somethings. I knew it would be OK. I was not competing with someone thirty years younger than me. I am competing with myself.
When my old gym trainer would drop my reps it was effectively lessening the amount I did. Here, there is no lessening. From across the gym I hear “Don’t you drop that now!” “Don’t you quit.” “FIGHT THROUGH.”
On a recent WOD run a fellow client ran with me on my last leg. I mumbled to myself that at 200m I could turn and walk. “Oh no, you will not slow down. If you do, then your body will expect it.” She took my arm and we jogged back. As I approached the gym, last as usual, stumbling up the driveway, everyone was there calling MY name. I knew then I had TWO choices. I could drop dead 20m out (probably from embarrassment) or I could finish.
It isn’t easy. My body aches and cries out after every workout. But every day we warm up. Every day we stretch. Every day we try harder. Every day *I* feel stronger. This is not a quick fix. It is a life change. There are many things I still can not master. I have a very long way to go. Basically until the end of my life.
Sure, I have aching muscles. I have blisters. But I also have …stamina. After 3 months I already notice small subtle changes. As part of the WOD we ran 800metres, three times and I did it. Me, who couldn’t run half a block! I swing kettle bells at 35lbs. I do 100 sit ups. I no longer have to think about holding my stomach in. It comes naturally. I see muscles in my arms that were not there before. Then one morning I noticed…I lost five pounds!
But I think the main reason I stay here is that no matter what your level of skill, no matter how strong or weak you are, someone is there to root for you. Someone is in your face to push you through. I have watched some very strong people push themselves further with the help of someone beside them.
Every day that I do CrossFit is a learning experience. And it is not just physical. It is mental training also. I have my coaches at CrossFit Point Break to thank. Justin, David, and Calli watch me and guide me as I become stronger. I have my new friends to thank also. Without their support I might have given up.
Have you ever driven past the Spring Post Office and wondered about that place down the road where the people are flipping huge truck tires? Or hanging from the bars doing pull ups? Or running down the road? That’s us. That’s the athletes at Cross FitPoint Break getting better.
As my T shirt says:
IT NEVER GETS ANY EASIER. YOU JUST GET BETTER.