Picking Up a Damn Barbell

Practicing strict presses. Photo courtesy of CFBD

Never in my life would I have thought that I would call myself a…Cross Fitter. It sounds so pretentious and often when I talk to non-Cross Fitters about Cross Fit, I can see there eyes sort of glaze over.

I know, you’re probably either thinking I joined a fitness cult or you too are a Cross Fitter and will completely relate to what I’m about to say. Either way, I’m just glad you are here to read my ramblings.

I have my friend Mary to thank for getting me to, as my title states, pick up a damn barbell. Mary and her husband joined a Cross Fit gym (aka box) roughly two years ago. Actually, let me back up a bit. I met Mary through working in the cycling industry. We worked for the same company and our departments were literally right next to each other.

We got along almost instantaneously. We had similar taste is beer, music, dogs, food, and also had a love of cycling. Duh, why else would you work in the cycling industry, it’s not like you make millions doing that!

It was no surprise that she also tried to convince me that I would enjoy this Cross Fit thing. I was the person that made fun of Cross Fit. All the YouTube videos of people doing “pull ups” in the air looking like they are doing the worm- no thanks. I had also seen so many Cross Fit lift fail videos that it was easy to say I wanted nothing to do with it.

Fast forward to March of 2017. I had been at a new job for about five months. It was still winter, I was unhappy, and realized I had let myself go. The previous year had been rough. I had started it off thinking I was hitting a nice point in my career in the cycling industry (different place of employment from where Mary and I met), had just been awarded a scholarship through a major cycling company to attend United Bicycle Institute to hone my mechanical skills.

I then came back to then lose my job after being home for only two weeks or so after my training program. Luckily I was able to get a job at a new shop, but my self esteem and my finances had hit an all time low.

I had always struggled with depression, weight that yo-yo’d, getting in and out of shape, and frankly needed to do something about it.

Mary had convinced my partner to finally join the Cross Fit box. She had been putting it off as she had been the primary bread winner and to pay for two people to attend Cross Fit classes is fairly expensive. Once our finances stabilized, we did a two week On Ramp program. I had done personal training in the past, but had never done an Olympic style lift in my life. Deadlifts, OK, I got what those were. Jerks? Cleans? Presses? Split Jerks? Snatches? What? I had no freaking clue what I was doing.

I was glad to see that a woman was teaching the On Ramp. Not that if a guy had taught it, it would have made me change my mind, but there is a sort of bro stigma that comes with working out in general.

Samantha was the coach who was going to get us up to speed with what exactly Cross Fit was and how to properly and safely do the necessary movements. She introduced herself as the fiance to the box owner, Barrett. She also let us know that she did occupational therapy as her full time job. This help put my mind at ease. Clearly she wasn’t going to let us do things that would injury us, as it’s literally her job to help people prevent injury or address injuries they have sustained with movement.

I could not believe how sore and out of shape I was. “I’m a cyclist damnit! Why is this so hard?!” I kept thinking to myself and possibly saying out loud over and over again. While cycling was a great cardio activity, the fact that I often followed it with eating burritos and drinking after doing it was probably cancelling out the benefits of the activity.

Getting instruction from coach Tyler. Photo courtesy of CFBD

After our two weeks, we decided that even though we were the most sore we had ever felt in our lives, Cross Fit would be something we could see doing on a regular basis.

I’m happy to say that eight months later, we are still at it! I personally average 3-4 classes a week depending on my work and school schedule. I’ve seen changes in my physical abilities and appearance. It’s been absolutely incredible and I continue to still really enjoy the challenge that Cross Fit provides me. I also attribute a lot of my success and dedication to the coaches and people who I attend classes with.

Hitting a dead lift PR. Photo courtesy of CFBD

It’s a nice, tight knit community that is welcoming to new people. I plan on writing more about my experiences, specific goals, and personal achievements within Cross Fit, but I thought for starters I would just tell the story of how it was that I got into the sport.

Considering picking up a damn barbell? I’d say give it a try, you may surprise yourself!