New Years Day, 2015 A new year and the same old, tired News Years resolutions: eat better and lose weight. But this year it wasn’t just the resolutions that felt old and tired, I did as well. I was 32 years old and weighed 133kg. I felt exhausted all the time. I didn’t do any exercise. My eating was atrocious. I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes. I hated getting my photo taken. I avoided looking at myself in the mirror. I bravely smiled on the outside yet simultaneously felt defeated on the inside. My confidence was at an all time low. Something had to change…
I’d been to gyms before. I’ve had a personal trainer at various times in the past. But I was like many people: I worked hard when I was pushed but left to my own devices I had very little self-disciple or self-motivation to push myself to go harder, to go faster, or to get stronger. I also avoided any sort of group training or team sport as I felt uncoordinated and an imposter.
Having heard chatter about CrossFit (is it an exercise? Is is a cult? Both?) and having walked past CrossFit Collingwood (I later learned it was called a ‘box’) I decided to investigate further. There was heaps of information and videos online about CrossFit and the participants were a varied bunch — from old to young, from the incredibly fit to the incredibly ‘average’ to people that actually looked like me! I was convinced. So I summoned all my remaining confidence and…sent an email to CrossFit Collingwood. I was already feeling fitter.
To be honest, I was completely unprepared for my first CrossFit Academy class. This was quite evident as I preceded to split my shorts as I attempted to do a squat. My first squat. Go me.
I listened as terms were thrown at me: AMRAP, burpee, clean and jerk, chin up, DNF, double unders, EMOM, hang clean, hang snatch, kipping, MetCon, muscle up, no-rep, PB, power clean, power snatch, push jerk, push press, rack position, rep, squat snatch, Tabata, thrusters, toes to bar, wall balls, and most importantly, WOD. Are you still with me?
I went home and was sore. Actually scratch that. I was EXHAUSTED. I could barely move. Plus I needed to go shopping for new shorts.
Somehow I made it. I got through Academy. I was ready to play with the big boys and girls in the main class. So let’s get this show on the road!
The first class was a blur of lifting, sweating, and trying to look somewhat competent. Be cool, be cool. Everyone was really friendly and helpful but I felt like a complete fraud. Was I really doing this? Did I actually fit in here? And most importantly, when will I stop being so sore?!
It turns out that the more that you CrossFit (can ‘CrossFit’ also be a verb?) the less it hurts. I stuck with it. I tried out different class times and eventually settled into the 5:30am class (more about these amazing people later on).
I worked hard and I struggled through every class. Every. Single. Class. Being 133kg made many things difficult, including any sort of body weight exercises as well as running. I absolutely feared running. Even the 200m ‘warm up’ runs made me struggle. And those bone crunchingly horrible ‘block runs’? I couldn’t even complete one. I used to wait until I got around the corner and slowed to a brisk walk. Sometimes it wasn’t even brisk. I would get teary when others would cheer me on as all I wanted to do was give up and go home. But I didn’t give up.
First (and only) no show-WOD
Here’s some advice: don’t miss class unless you a) like burpees and/or b) like running. I liked neither and hugely sucked at both exercises. As one person later told me, after witnessing me struggle through the no show-WOD, “There really should have been a mercy rule.” The struggle was real.
I now set two alarms. Just in case.
The best part of working out in the mornings is the post-WOD coffee. You earn that damn coffee. This is where I first started to really get to know the incredible people that I train with every single morning. They are a massive part of your overall fitness journey. They keep you motivated. They keep you honest. They keep you coming back. They also sometimes buy you coffee. The relationships that you form really do go beyond the physical boundaries of the box and I have been so lucky to have these people in my life to train with, sweat with, laugh with, and sip coffee with.
So it has been a whole year since I first started CrossFit. And things really have changed during that time...
I have shed more than 35kg and 50% of my body fat, as well as losing 37cm from around my stomach, over the past year through hard work and dedication, not only in the box, but also in the kitchen. Gone are my days of instant gratification with food. Do I still love chocolate? Ah-huh. Do I still crave ice cream? HELL. YES. But I no longer let these cravings control my decisions. The key to sustained weight loss is working out a nutrition plan and sticking to it. And I have done that. I work hard during the week and I earn those treats and rewards on the weekend! I have also gone from a size 42 pants to a size 33 and from a size 4XL shirt to a L. I recently went shopping for a completely new wardrobe after I threw out all my old clothes. That was a lot of fun!
With the weight loss has come confidence. Not cockiness or over-confidence but the feeling that I have improved both mentally and physically over the year. The biggest changes?
Going from doing pull-ups with the thick purple and black bands to not needing any bands at all. My first body weight pull-up was a complete shock, after months and months of attempts. More than doubling my initial deadlift weight to 155kg. From not being able to do one double under to being able to string together more than 50 double unders. I have the whip marks to prove that I practiced. Being able to do push ups on my toes, having the courage to do box jumps (I'm sure it was quite comical watching me tremble in front of the box as I attempted to do one jump), and actually getting my toes to touch the bar on a toes to bar. Block runs are no longer an issue. In fact I now...enjoy them. Don't worry, I'm as baffled as you are. What will the next 12 months bring? More strength, more endurance, more sweat, and lots more 5:30am classes (followed by the warm rush of caffeine).
Thank you CrossFit Collingwood for a wild ride. I'm looking forward to RXing my life with you all!
Andrew Zur CONNECT WITH US
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