I Hate the Gym
I've spent the last 2 months eating gut-busting amounts of comfort food while I make up every excuse in the world (i.e. it's too cold, I'll go tomorrow, Meow needs me, etc) not to go to the gym. Because of the recent economic downturn, 24-Hour Shitness decided to cut back their cleaning budget by 75%. For those of you who frequent that gym, you already know it's a cesspool of staph and grotesqueness. That, in addition to the influx of fair-weather fitness fanatics, makes the gym seem more like a douchey skid row.
I decided to join a CrossFit gym. In a nutshell, CrossFit is a short intense workout focused on broad overall fitness. If you think you are in shape, try one class and it will change your mind. All the workouts are scalable and it only takes about an hour from warm-up to completion. What do I mean by overall fitness? Overall fitness is not being able to run 8 miles or bench 325 lbs. It means being proficient in cardio endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy (I stole that from Wikipedia).
My first night with CrossFit South Bay went as follows:
5:47PM – I show up in the parking lot. I look in the gym as I drive by. Lots of activity. I contemplate going home.
5:50PM - Mariessa, the gym owner, had me fill out a waiver. Asked me some general questions to evaluate my fitness level. The pull-up cage is shaking from some guy rattling off pull-ups with such enthusiasm you would think he was competing to keep his spot on some reality show.
5:55PM – Everyone introduces themselves to me. They all seem nice…too nice. They ask me how I found out about Crossfit. I suddenly feel like Bob Paulson on my first night of fight club.
6:05PM - Warm-up: 1 mile jog followed by 3 sets of 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, 10 pull-ups, 10 air squats. Concentrate on form. They are sticklers on cheating. I’m tired, but everyone else looks fresh. I stand up straight, take a deep breath and wipe the sweat from my face. I don’ t think they are fooled.
6:25PM – Instruction on the Workout of the Day (AKA W.O.D.). Mariessa makes sure everyone knows the proper technique. Shows how workouts can all be scaled down and modified to be easier or harder.
6:28PM – Contemplate just going home again. I see the workout. A little scared. A little excited. Do I have to pee?
6:30PM – Mariessa starts the stopwatch and we begin the actual workout: 10 weighed lunges 45 lbs., 15 bodyweight rows, 20 kettle ball swings 45 lbs. 4 sets. After the 4 sets are complete there is a 500M row sprint. All for the fastest time.
6:33PM – Ok not too bad. I finish my first round. I am iron man.
6:39PM – Greg yells "Done!". I'm just finishing my second set and am shocked he's already starting the rowing portion.
6:41PM – I am no longer iron man. My body feels like it’s on fire. I’m wheezing like an emphysema victim in a brush fire during Santa Ana winds.
6:44PM – Marcus yells "Done!". I'm laying on the floor wondering how I'm going to finish these damn rows. Greg finishes his 500M sprint. That bastard. What am I saying? He’s a super nice guy. Focus dammit. You have to finish.
6:46PM – I am contemplating throwing up. Mariessa says I'm doing a good job but everyone else is done and I have one more set to do. Everyone is cheering me on saying, "Come on! Just 5 more. 5, 4, 3…"
6:47PM – I finish and take a 3 minute break before my 500M row. Mariessa asks, "Do you want to try the row?" I reply, "Hell yeah". I was lying. I want to fall over.
6:48PM – I begin the row. Fire in my muscles turns into ice. What isn’t numb is now tingling. Fight or flight, Forrest. What if I’m too tired for either?
6:52PM – I complete the row after everyone was cheering me on to finish. I get the slowest time but I set a record in my book. I am happy it's over.
6:53PM – I stand up and almost fall over. I sit back down and see everyone else is laying on the floor. I'm surprised they put off their exhaustion to help motivate me to finish. My chest feels like an elephant is standing on it.
6:54PM – I almost puke, but decided not to embarrass myself on the first night. Mariessa hands me a folder to log my day's workout. I can barely write my hands are shaking so bad. It looks like I was writing with one of those novelty vibrating pens.
7:10PM – I probably shouldn't drive home, but I can't wait to lay down in my bed. I slap myself in the face and tell myself to get it together. I am iron man.
Overall it was a great experience. Everyone in the gym was extremely nice, motivating and encouraging. I'm going back on Wednesday night to sign up. If you are sick of your workout or if you want to get in ridiculous shape or if you are the least bit curious about it, I would recommend you come to a class. The first class is free, so you have nothing to lose (except for maybe your lunch…and your dignity, but then again they are not mutually exclusive). This kind of workout isn't for everyone, but you should at least try one class. Yes it's intimidating when you first come in, but it quickly dissipates because everyone is so welcoming. My goal is to go 5 days a week for at least the next 2 months to see how it feels. More to come…