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I started CrossFit this past February. I've kept active notes throughout my new workout experience. Here are my box thoughts:
Week 2: Comradery
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about why a nerdy fitness noob like me keeps going back to CrossFit every day. I could never be bothered to go consistently in the past, so what’s different now? Honestly, the main reason is the community of it all.
Each day I walk in the gym doors, I am greeted by the 5 a.m. class saying something along the lines of, “This workout sucked, but you got this!” As I go through my reps, hating life, I am surrounded by people in the same boat as me. When I’m the last one finishing up, everyone else cheers me on until I complete the workout. At the end of class, we all chug water and bump fists, together as one group with one purpose.
But you could find that at any gym class, right? Well, from my experience, no. I went to a few classes at the Rec Center during my undergrad, and I could not tell you a single person’s name that joined me, even ones at the mat immediately adjacent to mine. I’ve also had gym buddies before, friends who wanted to help me get into a fitness routine. Some didn’t push me hard enough, so I never increased weight or reps, and I stopped going after a couple weeks. Others pushed me to puking each session, so I stopped going after a couple days. The experience I’ve had at CrossFit is the perfect middle ground.
For instance, yesterday morning, after a long weekend of being sick and tired of being sick and tired, I made it up to the gym. The workout, Jon said, was designed to make us panic, to make us push ourselves. We had to do squat thrusters and double-under jump rope jumps. 10 thrusters, 50 jumps, 8 thrusters, 40 jumps, 6 thrusters, 30 jumps, 4 thrusters, 20 jumps, 2 thrusters, 10 jumps. Seeing this in writing made it seem not so bad. I was, after all, a jump rope champion in elementary school, and I’ve been doing some version of squat thrusters since day 1. However, a round or so into it, I was fading. My thruster technique is still jacked up (mostly because I get in my own head and psych myself out), and I don’t think I’ve actually seriously jump roped since elementary school. Plus, I didn’t sleep well last night. I didn’t eat so healthy last weekend. I had gone three days since my last gym visit (never again). Oh, and the room was as hot as a furnace. Anyway, whatever excuses I could come up with all surfaced at once (along with my need to throw up), making me take a step back from my barbell. Jon said, “Your feelings are invalid. Keep going!” This is because your mind wants to stop long before your body really needs to. Then he got a good look at my face, which he later described as grey. “Ok, your feelings are valid. Take a minute.” Then he went and turned the huge fan on, and let me take some weight off my bar. My need to once again find the puke bucket settled, and I ended up finishing the workout just fine. Jon came up to me after to make sure I was all right. He reminded me to take care of myself. Then he added, “Don’t discredit the effort you put in today. Keep rockin, sister.”
The fact that I’m never alone in that gym, that my coach wants to push me to my limits but never past them, that someone always helps me translate the foreign workout language on the board, that I’ve gotten encouragement from all of my gym-mates and even from other CrossFitters who don’t go to this gym, that each of them describes this group as a family, that Preston and I have an unspoken newbie competition of who can lift more, that Monica always smiles when she sees me, that Brandon is an expert at timing the music with the workout countdown, that Erin inspires me to keep working to beat my personal records, and that Jon always congratulates me at the end of a tough workout… That’s why I keep going back.