Nearly 6 months ago I undertook one of my biggest physical changes I’ve done, a 55km tramp over 3 days covering a few hundred meter elevation change, mud, rocks and all the good things that come with tramping. Walking out of the forest on that last day in the summer heat I felt nothing but empowerment and pride in myself at knocking that bastard off.
It dawned on me however just how much of a physical toll such a trip had. My pack was only about 10kg but at the end of each day I simply had nothing left in the tank, legs would turn to jelly, arms would drop off. This is me at 25. I should be in the fittest shape of my life, not barely being strong enough to carry a backpack.
A career being at a desk sure doesn’t lead itself to a person being in peak shape. I couldn’t simply blame my job though, my lifestyle tended towards weekends and weeknights where the heaviest item I had to lift might be a pint (or 4).
I would never had called myself fat or lazy, I’d take part in social sport, jump in a kayak and trot out a 5km run now and again but pushing myself physically had never really been a long term thing.
Given that this tramp was over New Years and resolutions being a thing I figured if anything, 2015 was the year to build core strength. The goal wasn’t to have rippling abs or break out of my skinny tshirt but to have a body I could rely on do every day things well.
Simple things like lift a pack and walk straight, strong for longer. To be able to lift that one extra bag of groceries. That run that I can actually keep up with coworkers on. The ability to hang curtains without my arms falling off after 2 minutes. Move furniture around the office without looking like it’s concreted to the ground. Sounds stupid but things I’d struggle with.
My Flatmate at the time, was hugely into the cult of CrossFit. I, like may others are, probably a bit cynical about CrossFit and the commercialisation (read cult) but given a discount and a three week trial period at CrossFit Wellington Central I figured it was worth a shot. Anyway, it covered exactly what I thought I needed – Core Strength with bonus of conditioning, flexibility and nutrition training. Figured it couldn’t hurt, at the very lest I’d pick up a lesson or two.
That was 4 months ago. Today I set a personal best of 40kg on the front squat. 3 squats in 3 reps. As the trainer would say, All the way down. Work for it. All the way back up. No shortcuts.
4 months ago when I walked into that gym I failed to do single front squat. They scaled me down. I decided to work for it.
I’m still lifting at the bottom end of the class. I still set the 4th slowest time in our 1000m row but you know what, I couldn’t care less because like after that first tramp, I feel proud of myself. Happy that while I’m never going to be bulky, I can at least be confident in being fitter. Life fit.
Last couple weeks I’ve been moving house. Lifting boxes, couches building material, carpets up and down the god awful path to the house. Up the hill, repeatedly, with weight. Not a single time has my body let me down.
For years I’d trotted along at 6min / Kms (10km / hr) for my runs. My first major timed run last month I settled along at 5min kms (12km) but I even had acceleration. Two of the Km’s at 4.30.
My shoulders are less rounded, my back is straight, I sit taller, while typing my wrists feel less tired. I have less of a termor in my left arm which has troubled me for years
My partner now likes to sleep on my shoulder. More too it these days, not just bone any more.
I don’t care about the sneers from people when they hear I’m doing CrossFit. I just smile. Cult or not it’s helped shape me into a stronger person and I’m thankful for all the support, training and patience Brian, Craig and the team have provided.
The team spirit and motivation to keep going is unreplacable while training by yourself. The variety exceeds anything I’ve found at gyms. The program focus is dead on what I need to operate better at life.
It was well worth the shot.