Fitness and Self-Realization
As the world becomes fatter, I feel the social responsibility to become fitter. The fatter they get, the more self-inflicted punishment I prescribe.
CrossFit is an international company with the mission of promoting overall fitness by focusing on metabolic training using free weights and basic gymnastic movements. To clarify, metabolic training consists of completing multi-joint exercises with little rest in between. This program was originally developed for gymnasts, but it is now commonly used for military, fire, and police personnel. As a nation at our fattest, the general public can greatly benefit from CrossFit too.
The first order of business was to be briefed on the structure of the class. We would spend the majority of our time together practicing proper form and execution of the exercises to come. Once we displayed competence, we would try and complete all exercises as fast as possible to gauge our current fitness level. Everything in CrossFit is quantified by time. This way you can objectively see if you are improving your physical performance. Many of the workouts only last 5-10 minutes, however, it is so intense that you do not want to do anymore.
I sat on my rower and greedily waited to torque out my 500-meters as Ryan called out the countdown. 3…2…1…and I flew out of the gate. Exploding with my legs and pulling for my life, I watched my distance gauge increase. Around 300 meters into the row, I began to realize that the fun was over and self-improvement was about to commence. Finally, 500-meters completed and I was ready for the next exercise. I figured that the squats would be a breeze since they were only using bodyweight; once again, I was wrong. I didn’t anticipate how gassed my legs would feel from the rower. My body burned with delight as I the finished squats. I immediately dropped to the floor and began my sit-ups. 28…29…30, holy shit, I still had two more exercises to go. I got up and awkwardly jogged to my barbell to commence with the push-presses. At this point, I’m wondering why I chose the heavier barbell as I greatly struggled to pump out the last repetitions. Finally, I approach the pull-up bar. I felt the time ticking away and I realized I’m not as fit as I thought. The first 5 repetitions were a struggle, but I managed. 5 repetitions left. 5…things are becoming blurry, 4…sweet jesus, 3…the end is near, 2…I’m meeting my maker, 1…I am no longer decaying organic matter, 0…release! The next thing I knew, I was down on one knee in a small calm pond of sweat. Ryan shouted out my time, which I immediately forgot as I tried to regain consciousness.
From that day on, I was hooked.
About the author: Ben is currently studying English at UW-Milwaukee. Outside of CrossFit, he enjoys trail running, mountain biking, and exploring other forms of human powered transportation.