Monday, January 7, 2013

Crossfit - is it for us regular folks?

As most people do, I made a few resolutions for the New of those was NOT to lose weight...ha! Do you know how funny that is after making the SAME resolution for 25 years in a row? It is still astounding and hilarious even as I type it. Still...I did resolve to continue to live a healthy lifestyle and to become even more fit this year. So, I did what any Bible-believing Christian woman would do...I made a list. It's what I do well...and I would label it too if it sat still long enough (don't get me started on how my heart goes pitter-patter when I use a label maker or walk into an organization store).

Here's what I resolved to do:

1. Drink more water (I still struggle with this and often just forget to drink for hours at a time).
2. Drink one more cup of hot green tea a day. I actually enjoy this and it gives me time to sit and think for all of three minutes.
3. Get involved in a cross-training program to improve overall conditioning.
4. Run at least 45 minutes twice a week and continue a longer run (5 miles or more) on Saturdays.
5. Regularly check in with friends who are healthy to stay accountable. Encourage others and share my weaknesses in order to receive Biblical counsel and wisdom!

Since number 3 required some research and counsel, I tackled that one first. MANY of my friends have drunk the Crossfit kool-aid and love it, so I was looking for something similar in our area (but honestly, it had to fit our family budget which was NOT much at all). Running requires little money and no facility, so this would be a challenge to land a place that fit the bill. Enter my friend Sandy who mentions that she goes to a Crossfit in Alabaster (literally 10 minutes from our house), and it is within our budget (actually less than we thought). The guy who runs it, Wes, is a Christ-follower who felt led by God to start this training program here and to make it affordable. Yay for all the way around!

I bit the bullet and woefully crawled out of bed at 4:30 on Wednesday morning to drag myself to the first workout. I was early (as usual) and considered leaving before anyone saw me. Turns out Wes was already there so that was a no-go. (Seriously, I considered leaving. The gym is in a strip center with a hair salon, tool shop, bakery and a dance studio. Don't you just know that NONE of those places are open that early, so it would have been obvious that I left. Note how calculating I am about quitting....) Sandy pulled up within minutes and saw me too. I was busted. Had to go in and check it out. I am literally walking in the door when I recall how several of these Crossfit junkies have relayed their first experiences and they all involved some sort of vomiting or passing out or wanting to do one of the two. So far, I'm not delighted to be here.

Wes is writing on the board, and I shiver down to my shoes. Better go to the bathroom first as I see jump rope on the list...once you've given birth to children, jumping is not really ideal. There's also a little smirk on Wes's face which scares me. He says that this will be fun and easy...I don't think he knows me well. Yes, I am now a runner. But, I am also a weakling and a quitter. I quit so easily and so well (I do consider all the options first and decide to quit in a way that at least makes me look like I tried or made my best effort...sad, but true). I wanted to scream, "I am a quitter dude!" But, it was too cold to utter much and my brain was trying to convince my body to stay put. Did I mention I am weak...and a quitter? 'Cause I am, and I don't like it...but at least I'm honest about the shortcomings. And the enemy was reminding me every 10 seconds which was not at all helpful.

The warm up is simple, the guys say....jump rope, sit ups (some backwards contraption that looks like a torture device if you ask me), push ups and squats. The squats I could handle (well, temporarily). Note to self for next time...the squats will not hurt while performing them. They will, however, pay you back ten-fold within an hour. You will try and go to the bathroom and discover that you can now hold your urge for approximately 24 hours or longer due to the pain involved in sitting. And, if our bathroom came equipped with those bars on the wall, it would make my life a little easier. The end, thank you.

The jump rope and I have never gotten along, but Wes and Sandy helped me through it (remarkably, I made improvement which I saw in class on Friday). I jumped way too high and have a little fear of busting my face on the floor. Wes tells me to pay attention to my wrists (who knew your wrists could hurt after a workout? Apparently, I haven't used those suckers in a while). I had to go the bathroom halfway least I didn't wet myself..yet.

Then, there were the push-ups. Did I tell you that my arms are weak? I can hold my 67 pound six year old throughout an entire worship service at Brook Hills (which is longer than the average church by the way), but I can barely do a real push up. I struggled through while others cheered me on. It was ugly...and pitiful, but I did it. I am religated to girl push-ups, and I do not like that one bit, so I'm aiming to do better.

And, then came the sit-ups on this device which looked like it was ready to eat me alive. Simply lock your feet and lean backwards and touch the floor and then lock your legs as you come up and touch your feet. Oh, and the device seems to be six feet off the ground though I'm fairly certain it only came up to my waist. Simple. For EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD, maybe. But, my abs were not happy, at all. The first sign of fainting occurred right after I actually looked backwards at the floor....apparently Wes thought every decent person would already have this knowledge...which I should have thought of had I not already lost my mind trying to jump rope. I did not faint, but I certainly got woozy. I learned my lesson quickly and didn't make that mistake again. With every sit up, I thought I might puke or faint or just wet my pants...the thought of any of those was enough to put me on embarrassment alert. I stayed there the remainder of my time in the gym. Lord, please come back right now or put me in a nursing home or just let me faint...then I can quit....I am a quitter!!!

Okay, I finished. What? That was ONLY the warm-up. Haven't we been here for an hour yet? The others were already finished and kept encouraging me that things would get better. I actually believed them. Momentarily.

The workout only had a few items for today - 100 military presses (okay that wasn't the name but what I have heard it called before), 100 squats with weights, and 125 sit-ups. I truly THOUGHT I was in good shape...clearly, I was WRONG!!! I have not used my abs or arms in about 25 years apparently! I was dying by the 50th press....but the rule is that you have to finish one item at a time before moving on. And, I had the easy bar to use for presses and squats. With every breath, I wanted to quit. But, God used Wes, Arwin, Justin and Sandy to cheer me on and to encourage me by the way they pressed forward. Like my sweet friend Susan B. said, I would've quit if it had just been me or just me and a personal trainer. Having several others doing the exact same exercises spurred me on, and I did it. I finished. I wanted to die, but I finished. And, it felt good. A great sense of accomplishment. More than that, I knew that God was stretching what I thought and expanding my view on health/exercise.

Fast forward an hour...I immediately began to feel the pain, and it did not stop. Wes told me to stretch and drink lots of water. How exactly can I stretch when I cannot lift my hands above my head or sit up or sit down or walk without being in pain? I also did not want to sneeze or cough for fear of pain. And washing my hair requires my hands to be above my head, and sitting seems to demand that I bend my knees. Do you know that you can lock your legs and stand 2 feet away from the chair and just lean back without bending your knees? It may be a little humorous to your children but it alleviates pain. Just so you know and want to try that sometime. I do believe (with a huge dose of skepticism) that the pain will subside eventually - right?

JT and I returned on Friday for more punishment, and we were a team. My warm-up had already improved and Wes showed us each and every element. He was so patient and kind to us newbies. I highly recommend him. We learned to do pull-ups, medicine ball sit-ups, planks (okay, I already knew how to do those but was hoping that he couldn't possibly want us to do planks for that long), curls, box jumps (Jesus, please return immediately so I don't have to do that again), ring dips, oh lunges, release push-ups and double unders. I seriously prayed...that either Jesus would come back within that time or that Wes would somehow become impaired and we would have to jump to his aid.... I can call 911 like nobody else, so wouldn't that be kind of me? I am such a helper like that, and plus, it would enable me to QUIT! Neither happened, and the workout continued, much to my chagrin.

But, we did it and we finished. I thought I would die again, but that feeling didn't last as long. The pain, however, is still very present. And, it's a "good pain" as other Crossfit junkies tell me. I have to remember that I could only run one minute when I started, and now I can run a half marathon. Trying something over and over again will lead to improvement, so I feel fairly certain that this WILL get easier...I hope! And, I will be stronger and more fit. I will NOT quit. I will continue. And, God will use this to stretch me more than I ever thought possible.

In summary, I am eager to continue with conditioning and Crossfit. I appreciate the Christian approach of Wes and the GTG (Glory to God) Crossfit group (located on Highway 31 in Alabaster). A different workout each day helps to keep me interested, and the total body emphasis is exactly what I need. I can be a better runner with the strength and stamina I will gain. And the Lord is already showing me that He will sustain me and teach me...I am a slow learner so this could take a while.

1 comment:

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

Andrew knows some supplements to take to help with the soreness. Glucosamine is one of them. Can't remember the other. So proud of you!