This month marks my one-year anniversary of consistent devotion to this cult – I mean, fitness program – called CrossFit ;-). One of the things I love most about CrossFit is its unparalleled gratification factor (unparalleled in my personal experience, of course).
From ages sixteen to twenty-four, I worked out in your standard globo gym. The pec deck, cable system, Step Mill, and an occasional spin class were, in my estimation, the best tools available with which to build a “fitter” body. (I put fitter in quotes because my definition of “fit” at the outset of my iron-pumping days was something profound and revolutionary, like: a) the state of being confident enough in one’s physical image to wear a two-piece bathing suit b) the ability to bench press eighty-five pounds (don’t ask me why!) c) the ability to run a quarter-mile without wanting to puke.)
To be honest with you, I was probably hovering around the same level of strength and cardiovascular fitness for at least six years! After the first year and a half or so of weightlifting and healthier eating, I was perpetually in maintenance mode, making no significant progress in the areas that truly do define physical fitness, e.g., power, coordination, stamina, and speed. With CrossFit, it’s impossible not to grow in each of those areas.
CrossFit makes it easy to chart one’s journey from Day 1 – often characterized by nausea,
sweat angels, and fuming stares focused like a laser on the friend who somehow convinced you this was a good idea – to Day X down the road in which the nausea that plagued your inaugural session has been conquered by invigorating endorphins, your eyes are busy focusing on each box jump and wall-ball in the WOD instead of boring holes of hatred into your well-meaning friend, and the sweat angels…well, those are still around.
Here’s a super-sophisticated chart comprised of a few of my improvements to help you see how CrossFit has made me truly fitter:
|Exercise:||Ability Sept. 2011:||Ability Today:|
|Deadlift||165 pounds||235 pounds|
|Strict pull-ups, unassisted||8 unbroken (aka, without stopping)||14 unbroken…and I can kip now! (kip: using a forceful initial movement of the legs in order to gain momentum. [Thanks, Wikipedia!])|
|Push-ups||25 unbroken||40 unbroken|
|Back squat||135 pounds||175 pounds|
|Front squat||85 pounds||135 pounds|
|Bench press||85 pounds||105 pounds|
|Snatch||Non-existent||65 pounds, but I think I can do more now that I’ve worked on my technique. I’ll let you know 😉|
|Clean (the barbell is pulled from the floor and received in a front squat position with the bar resting across the front of your shoulders)||55 pounds||105 pounds|
|Kettlebell swing||I used 18 pounds back then!||35-pound kettlebell today, working on 53|
|Bent-over barbell row||85-pounds||100 pounds|
|Burpees||Didn’t do CrossFit for the longest time because of them. I’m not kidding.||Did over sixty of them on Saturday, did 99 of them as part of a WOD this morning 😀|
|½ a mile run||Ummm…I never ran.||3 minutes, 14 seconds|
|Time I wake up to go to a CrossFit class||Earliest used to be 7:00am||Now, I often get up at 4:45am because I’m that head over heel-less weight-lifting shoes for CrossFit!|
The key to success in CrossFit – and the only way one will ever see noteworthy improvements in their strength, speed, weight…whatever your goal – is discipline. It’s the showing up to the box (gym) even if it’s get-a-third-degree-burn-on-your-bum-from-leather-car-seats-hot outside. Getting yourself out of bed when you’d much rather snooze and skip the day’s workout because you know it’s going to, well, suck! It’s the acceptance of a slower workout completion time because you’re choosing to use a heavier weight that’s challenging you and making you stronger. It’s even the discipline to rest when you get so addicted to the post-workout high that you’d rather work on your snatch form or do weighted pull-ups at the gym than go out to eat with your friends on a Saturday night.
Discipline. Not a novel idea by any means, but what this time of reflection has opened my eyes to is that there exists behind this whole idea of recorded data and measurable progress a definite spiritual application…
Gearing up to fight when the battlefield is blazing with hellfire. Showing up to face a situation you know is going to challenge, frustrate, and prove what you’re made of when all you want to do is throw a blanket over your head like a child afraid of the dark. Letting the weight of a struggle humble and slowly strengthen you, producing an indomitable patience that will carry you like a trustworthy warship on seas of strife and waves of wavering faith.
During this second year of CrossFit, I aim to not only monitor PRs (personal records) on runs, lifts, and benchmark workout times, but I also feel led to track how I’m growing as a follower of Christ.
“ … physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” -1st Timothy 4:8
Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di