Diary of a Newbie - Entry 5

Making a life change is really hard.

This is the story of someone looking to start getting healthier and live longer. “Frank” is a pseudonym, and he doesn’t like the internet, or writing, or even talking about himself, but this is his story, through his eyes.

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Well, I know my month is up at my “old” gym because they’re calling me to sign up. Funny how they’re all over me when the bills come due. I’m just ignoring their calls.

I got body fat measurement at CrossFit 43 North and it said I have — well, more fat than I thought. My wife won’t even show me her printout. I guess it’s a starting point.

When I started writing down the changes I’ve made, I thought I had maybe two new things to report. But now that I think about it, I have a list: I started adding a vegetable to almost every meal. We have fruit for dessert. I keep water on my desk, and I went to a group class. I’ll talk about that in a minute.

The first thing is that I feel good. Underline “Good” there. What I thought was “feeling good” before was really just “feeling okay”–I thought that was normal. But I get up before my alarm in the morning now, I don’t dread work, and coffee seems to have a much greater effect on me than it did before. My coach told me I could take a nap in the afternoon, but some days I don’t even feel like it. Here’s the funny part: I actually get — not excited, exactly, but I’m happy to go to the gym. I actually look forward to it.

We’re doing a bunch of different stuff now. When I go to do my workouts with the coach, we do something different every time. Still, haven’t done a bench press at CrossFit 43 North, but I did power cleans and push presses the other night, and those were rough. My back was sore the next day–but like a muscle soreness, because I worked hard. I usually only get that from a long day of yard work.

Part of our homework this week was to try a group class. Same kind of workouts we’ve been doing 1:1 with our coach: we learn, we practice something, and then we sweat. But a group is way different. Our coach recommended the 5:30 pm group, which was a bit tight time-wise, but we made it on Wednesday. Good crew. Turns out our son played soccer with the son of one of the other members. Small world.

So we start doing a warmup, and by the end, I’m already tired. The coach sent us over to get a barbell from the rack, and this guy shakes my hand (actually most of them did) and hands me a bar. I set up behind him and went through the coach’s instructions. She tells us exactly what to do, and I was also watching this other guy. We lifted some weights and chatted between sets–lots of middle-aged guys in that group, and I also used to work with the father of one of the guys. It was easy to fit in. No muscle-heads or any of the crazy CrossFit guys we saw on TV.

So then the coach tells us “time for the workout” and I was thinking, “Uh, wasn’t THAT the workout?” She sets us up for pull-ups (I knew how to do a substitute from our one-on-one sessions) and thrusters, where you squat with the bar on your chest and then presses it overhead. I just used the bar, but the other guys used different weights, one guy used over 100lbs. Maybe someday I'll be able to do that.

The coach started a clock, and we had to do 21 thrusters, then 21 pull-ups. Then you don’t get a break, and you have to do 15 of each, and then 9 of each, and then look at the clock and record your time. Mine was around 5:00. I beat some of the guys (but they were using more weight and doing real pull-ups) including the one who handed me the barbell. Get this: turns out he owns the place! I joked to my wife later that I was already crushing the owner, and I was going to compete in the CrossFit Games next year.

She said I’m “drinking the kool-aid”, a term she found on some website. There’s a big joke that CrossFit is a cult. I’m already hearing it a bit from the guys at work. I told them they should come and do it with me. That just leads to more cult jokes.

Next step: we’re buying shorts this weekend.