A few years back, I felt out of shape, a little heavier (read: fatter) than I was comfortable with, and the days of loving my body and experiencing true fitness seemed a lifetime ago. My muscular and lean friend, who was sick of hearing me complain about this, said exactly what I needed to hear. “Michael, just start doing something about this, or let it go and accept your body as it is, but please do one or the other.” That moment was a turning point.
And that’s how I became a Groupon Whore. I was trying lots of different options attempting to get the most by paying the least. One of them was a Groupon for SRX, which just sat on my desk for months before an email reminded me that it was about to expire. I knew that CrossFit had a bad rap, and I wasn’t really down for getting injured or yelled at. However, I figured I’d get a good month of exercise out of it, and so I showed up in March of 2014 to do just that.
I had one fundamentals class with each of the coaches and was struck, though they were all very different in style, that the approach to form and function was exactly the same with each. A week later, when I walked into my first WOD, I was truly terrified. The workout looked brutal. I felt suddenly very old, as I had at least twenty years on everyone in the place. And the big move of the day was an overhead squat which just looked so unnatural. I panicked. When I shared this with Coach Mike, he immediately – without a moment’s hesitation – adjusted my workout to back squats and made me feel immediately comfortable. Well, comfortable relative to the terror I was feeling at any rate.
That was a defining moment. I realized I was going to be directly supported for exactly who I was and where I was at, as opposed to being barked into submission by an unreasonable coach who couldn’t see me accurately. Time and again this happened, and I found that going at my own pace was not only respected, it was encouraged. Of course, this was predicated on the notion that I was also pushing myself to grow and expand my capabilities. When Ethan announced that the monthly price was going up when they hit a certain number of members, I handed him my credit card in that very instant. I was in.
There are lots of moments that I am proud of, but the one that jumps into my mind was not during a workout, but an open house. A new person was visiting and he was asking about how to do toes-to-bar; he was having trouble with that pesky pendulum swinging. I jumped up on the bar in my street clothes and popped out five or six perfectly executed toes-to-bar like a pro. I barely even knew I could do them, but had been working on the form that week. The added pressure of showing off kicked in and I rocked the movement and it felt awesome!
Next on the list is that I must get those double unders down. I have been stuck at single/single/double for a year now! But it won’t happen by wishing for it. I need to come in on my own time and practice. Besides, Coach Mike has threatened to fight me if I don’t at least do attempts during WODs that include them. And I would hate to embarrass him by kicking his ass in public.
Of all the peak moments in the past 2-1/2 years, the best was winning the Spirit Award at the anniversary party in 2015. I stayed at the event way longer than I typically would having no idea that in that last hour, the awards were coming out and that I would be getting one for just showing up the way that I do. Yeah, I’m “that guy” who is friendly to everyone who walks in and makes an enormous amount of (shame-free) noise when I’m working out. If that’s spirit, then I have it in spades.