Mama D and I have completed our second full week of CrossFit and these workouts are NO JOKE. I mean, I didn’t think it was going to be easy. I knew that it was going to take some getting used to, and there would be sore muscles for a while. But to truly stare at your weakness right in the face two or three mornings a week is exciting and upsetting all at the same time.
Here’s how a typical morning has gone: The 5:30am class attempts to wake up and get ready for the hellish path we’re about to go down. Mama D and I stretch nervously in our little corner as we squint to try and read the WOD (Workout of the Day) scribbled up on the white board across the gym. Soon enough our names and our sad little numbers of reps will be written up there on display for all to see. There’s a lot of giggling coming from our corner in this (what I would imagine) unusually quiet gym. All 7 of the incredible athletes attending that class are focused, putting on their back support belts, and preparing themselves mentally for the next hour of work. Mama D and I are huddled together cackling about all the ways this could go wrong, chuckling about the tiny little weights we’re going to put on the lightest bar, and wondering if we smell too bad before the class even begins. It took us two weeks just to figure out how to (and improve our grip strength enough) to put the clamps on the outside of our weights so they don’t fall off the bar. Not that we ever thought our 10s and 5s were ever going to fly off.
With every explanation of the movements and workout, Mama D and I have a question. Our adorably young instructor sighs and patiently answers us as we request yet another modification. He’s not sure what to do with us. We imagine that all of our classmates are giving us the hairy eyeball for wasting valuable time. We also realize they’re probably all really happy on the mornings when we don’t show up. We nicknamed ourselves Goldilocks.
Sample Workout of the Day
Each exercise as many reps as you can do in one minute followed by the immediate rotation to the next of 5 exercises, 1 minute rest. Repeat. Repeat again.
Wallballs: “This medicine ball is too heavy! This ball is even heavier! ….. This 10 pound one will do.” Let me assure you, nothing is ever just right.
Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (come again?!): “This weight is too heavy! This weight is too light! …. We’ll give these 15 pound weights a try and hopefully not humiliate ourselves.” Let me assure you, that we most certainly do.
Box Jumps: “This box is too high! This one is embarrassingly low (but the one we should probably be using). This one will do….” And like two whales breaching, we hoist our bodies up into the air and onto those 6 inch (okay, maybe 4 inch) boxes and land with a thud. Each and every jump….
Push Press: See Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
Row for Calories: What?! 6 measly calories in a minute?
Rest for 1 minute, which feels like 10 seconds because it’s just enough time to doodle your numbers in chalk on the floor so you can count them up later as “points”. Sigh. Repeat…
The first week I couldn’t even deadlift my pants after going to the bathroom, everything hurt so bad. Mama D knocked over all kinds of products off a shelf at Big Lots because she lost control of her arms one day after we went. We now regularly exchange funny texts like this: Daily Bulletin – hip flexors and hamstrings on strike! Negotiations slow, but in progress…
Did I ever think I would be doing things like cleans, jerks, and snatches in the wee hours of the morning this summer? NOPE! Not unless we’re talking about cleaning up the 4:35am dog puke, screaming “you’re such a jerk” to my husband for any reason at all, and snatching up every chocolate chip cookie I can find.
Can I do a pull up yet? HELL NO! But what I can do is stand on a really tall box right beneath a really low bar and have my forehead practically over the bar before I start. Then I jump and pull up just a little bit and sort of get there. It’s really sad, but my goal is to be able to do 1 real pull up by the end of the summer.
Do I think I look like this when I walk out of class into the parking lot?
I SURE DO! That’s exactly how l see myself when I flex in the minivan window after our hour of awesome torture…
Is this what I really look like?
OF COURSE IT IS!
Can I back squat more than what my 12 year old daughter weighs? YES! I can do that and I didn’t think I could.
Did Mama D see this in the mirror when she got ready to take her kids over Nanny’s pool last week?
OH YEAH, I’m pretty sure that’s what she saw…
Did I get a throw back from my gymnastics days and have to do handstand push ups last week? YES!
Did every part of my body shake like an old washing machine on spin cycle? YOU BET!
Do I feel stronger already? I sure do. Now when I hit bumps in the car, the jiggle ripple doesn’t ripple as far. It’s a good day when the jiggle ripple doesn’t get you down during your commute.
In talking obsessively with Mama D about these workouts, we think the appeal of CrossFit is that it’s gritty. Between the 90’s grunge music blaring while doing “max reps”, the clanging of the metal as the “real CrossFitters” toss their weights to the floor when they fatigue, the sweat dripping in your eyes after the first minute of pounding a tire with a sledgehammer, and the chalk on your hands as you jump up and grab a pull up bar, it just feels BAD ASS. For two competitive mamas like us, having small and achievable goals of doing 1 pull up and 5 toe to the bar touches while hanging seems so far out of reach and so doable all at the same time. Which keeps us coming back for more. And there’s something to be said about the camaraderie of the gym. I can’t describe it, but the moment we walked in the first time we knew we were outsiders and wanted to be in “the club”. Like REALLY want in.
These past two weeks have also been an exercise in humility. It’s really hard to step outside your comfort zone and it takes a lot of courage to try something new even if you might look or feel foolish during the learning curve. I have anxiety the night before class each time, but it’s a good type of nervous excitement. It really is worth it. So… Be afraid. Be afraid and do it anyway. Do it scared…. Anything that makes your palms sweat when you think about it is totally worth investing in….right?
Next up…. aerial yoga?!