I’m not sure what the hardest part is. Maybe it’s the pushups, which we start in on right away. There’s very little discussion of modifying these pushups, really, other than a suggestion to rest at the bottom rather than at the top. I peek around at my fellow classmates, who are dutifully balancing on their toes and lowering their bodies, no one’s starting with the knees. Dammit. Once we grunt our way through five or so, the trainers grin like sharks and show us how you can make sure you’re really getting full range of motion: you briefly touch your cheek on the floor each time.

“Let’s do . . . oh, fifteen. Ready?”

After a while I flatten myself like a crushed bug, my cheek resting on the dirty, rubbery floor. “Full! Range! Of motion,” I mumble, in the direction of a trainer’s shoe. He laughs and tells me I can use one knee if necessary, then move to both knees if things really start to suck.

I think about whether things are really starting to suck, then glance at the clock. Ten minutes in. I heave myself back up on my feet for two more.

Or maybe it’s the medicine ball drills, where we practice cleans, over and over and over. Squat down (“Low enough so a marble on your knee would roll to your hip, guys!”), grab the 10-pound ball, heave upwards in a powerful motion I cannot seem to get right no matter how many times I try, quickly drop back down under the ball in another deep squat. We do so many of these I start fantasizing about painting a face on the ball Castaway-style in order to derive more satisfaction from then slowly backing over it with my car, crushing its stupid, plasticky skin under my tires.

The female trainer eyes me critically. “You want to kind of pop up with the hips,” she says, and demonstrates, every single muscle in her enviable collection flexing as she moves around the ball in a liquid motion. I nod and do the same thing I’ve been doing: a flailing kind of jerk, elbows out, ball dominating me as surely as if it were stuffed in my mouth and tied with a leather strap.

“You’ll get there,” she says kindly.

But maybe it’s the actual workout, which is 15 of those beshitted medball cleans, 10 box jumps, and a 250 meter row. Which kind of wipes me out after one round. And then there’s four more rounds to go after that.

It takes me around 19 minutes to finish all 5 rounds. Afterwards, I wiped the rivers of sweat out of my eyes and joke that now I know why there are buckets placed around the gym.

“Well, those are chalk buckets,” says a trainer. “But . . .” He walks over to a trash can, and spins it so I can see the PUKE HERE stickers adorning the other side.

I drive home hissing in pain every time I have to turn the wheel. My arms, chest, and armpits are registering complaints on a level I’m totally unfamiliar with. My butt chimes in and reminds me about all those squats. My sides ache. My eyelashes hurt. I’m pretty sure some critical internal organ has ruptured.

“How was it?” asks JB.

I collapse on the carpet and stare up at the ceiling. I feel as though I’m going into a long, dark tunnel. I see the faint outlines of dead relatives beckoning me to the other side.

Awesome,” I whimper. And for some reason I mean it.


43 Responses to “Welcome to CrossFit”

  1. Aden on September 19th, 2010 9:49 pm

    “my eyelashes hurt” oh god… So funny

  2. erin on September 19th, 2010 10:09 pm

    I felt like I was dying today when I did level 1 on Jillian Michaels’ 30-day Shred (yes, I know I’m WAY behind the times). DYING. I am so out of shape and even now, a few hours later, my legs are still weak. But oh, I am so glad I did it.

    You are AWESOME. I hope to be able to one day even attempt what you’re doing!

  3. anon on September 19th, 2010 10:19 pm

    omg why the fuck are you doing this to yourself?

  4. ZestyJenny on September 19th, 2010 10:37 pm

    Soon you’ll be rocking that shit. You’re gonna be so badass!

  5. Super Sarah on September 19th, 2010 11:31 pm

    And this is why I keep coming back to your website, over and over and over again. God I love the way you write! I thought I was going to burst something with your description of the dominating medicine ball, which might as well have been stuffed in your mouth! SNORT!

  6. warcrygirl on September 20th, 2010 5:23 am

    Too bad I don’t live near you; I could exercise with you just once and you’ll feel like an Olympic athlete!

    Yeah, I know. The couch is NOT my friend.

  7. Amanda on September 20th, 2010 5:31 am

    My eyelashes hurt just reading this post.

  8. jen on September 20th, 2010 5:44 am

    I was thinking about going to a Crossfit gym nearby, maybe a couple of times per week or something, and now I’m not sure why but I sort of really want to go check it out. Even though it sounds horrific, really. I’m glad you found it awesome.

  9. Natalie on September 20th, 2010 5:46 am

    I know this post……I know this feeling.

    About 10 months into Crossfit over here and there are weeks that I still feel this way.

    There are other weeks where I complete WODs and I can’t think of anything I’ve ever been prouder or doing. I am stronger now, at the age of 34, than I have ever been in my life. There is something pretty awesome about that.

    When people ask me about Crossfit (alot of people think I am nuts) I tell them that it’ the first gym I’ve EVER been to…where people clap/yell/cheer me to finish a gruelling workout….and then help me up. It takes your workouts to another level that you can’t get at the local Y. Community.

    I so glad you are liking it….it’ll keep getting better, I promise.

  10. Christina on September 20th, 2010 5:53 am

    Yeah not getting the whole CrossFit thing… sorry! I would rather trudge through 10-20 miles of running and do my own little weight workout which is just right for me. Then again someone has to keep those Orthopedic surgeons is business!!

  11. Sharon on September 20th, 2010 5:55 am

    I started a similar program 9 months ago and I can’t believe the difference in my body. I was always fairly fit and active but I really see the results now. The one thing I noticed though is that it never really gets easier. I gained more muscle so there’s more of me to lift and the instructor pushes more because he knows what we are not capable of. It’s great though, stick with it!

  12. AndreAnna on September 20th, 2010 6:59 am

    There’s a saying written on the wall over the exit sign at my Crossfit box:

    “Damn, that sucked. What time tomorrow?”

    Because, dude, totally.

    Welcome to the club, lady. The Kool-Aid is over there next to the kettlebells.

  13. EB on September 20th, 2010 7:20 am

    CrossFit is awesome! And you WILL get there. The first time you don’t feel like puking after a workout will be the best feeling ever. And funny you mention your armpits hurting. One day I went to shave mine a few weeks after I had started CrossFit, and I noticed that even my ‘pits were getting toned. I had muscles there! It’s hard and it hurts but CrossFit is one of the best feelings there is. Keep it up!

  14. saranlap on September 20th, 2010 8:42 am

    Fellow Kool-Aid drinker here. Totally feel your pain and echo the above sentiments. CF is the most awesome, humbling, empowering, pain-inducing, fun thing I’ve ever done! 8.5 months into it and I am in the best shape of my life. There has also not been a day since I started where something on my body isn’t sore. I think you just get used to it and accept it because it’s sooooo worth it! Our trainer’s favorite saying is, “How’d that feel? Good, let’s do more”.

  15. Josey on September 20th, 2010 9:07 am

    LMAO – oh man, this brings back memories of my first days at CrossFit. It’s an ass kicker for sure!!

  16. mixette on September 20th, 2010 9:16 am

    I ran at the track last night, getting a glimpse into the CrossFit across the street with its garage doors open wide, at the top every lap. I went home and read the reviews on Yelp…still working up the courage to sign up for real..

  17. Christina on September 20th, 2010 9:38 am

    I did some looking and ran across this article. Please be careful!


  18. Taryn on September 20th, 2010 10:04 am

    I’m jealous. I want to do it too! I’m sure I’d die and throw up but then I’d like it. I miss city living. We live in the middle of nowhere and there are not many things like this available. good luck!

  19. victoria on September 20th, 2010 10:21 am

    Your post reminds me of descriptions I’ve read of drug-free childbirth. Why was it awesome? (I worked out with a trainer for a while, but quit because every workout was such a miserable, rotten experience and it wasn’t even working: more exercise = more hunger = much more eating = more fat around my middle.)

  20. Lola on September 20th, 2010 10:26 am

    There is a crossfit gym so close to me, but its sofa king expensive. I wish I could do it! Till then, I’ll live vicariously through your stories. :o) Can’t wait till you start using the kettlebells. heehee.

  21. Jane on September 20th, 2010 10:27 am


  22. Jane on September 20th, 2010 10:27 am


  23. Kristin on September 20th, 2010 10:39 am

    DUDE. I knew you’d love it.

    Corey and I are going to be competing at a Crossfit competition in Victoria in November, maybe you should come up too?

    Also: med ball cleans are one of the most awkward movements for me (joining overhead squats and kipping pullups)

    Can’t say enough about the sport, and am glad you lovehated it too.

  24. Carmen on September 20th, 2010 11:12 am

    I LOVE Crossfit. I train Muay Thai boxing – the stand up part of MMA cagefighting – and one of my instructors offers CF in the morning. It’s the single best – and worst – part of my day.

    Today’s routine: 6 burpees. 6 ball slams. 6 pull ups. 6 box jumps. 6 kettlebell swings. Eleven times.

    Then puke. :)

  25. kakaty on September 20th, 2010 12:55 pm

    I want to do CrossFit so bad! There are 2 in my area, and I live right in the middle of them – 40 min to each one! Ugh! I’ve been emailing both asking to open a box closer to me. As for now, I keep trying to make it to my personal training group 2x a week, which I kind of think is CF lite. And it still leaves me sore and breathless…which, why do I want to do CF again?

  26. Eric's Mommy on September 20th, 2010 1:32 pm

    You know what Linda? You have some big hairy balls. I would never have the guts to do that, I can barely get myself to workout at home a couple times a week.

  27. Wendy on September 20th, 2010 1:35 pm

    It is always a good thing when you find an exercise that can hook you in. Did you take any “before” pictures so you can see how ripped you get?

  28. Danell on September 20th, 2010 5:59 pm

    That little baby in the green on the Sofia Bean banner makes it very hard to concentrate on reading the text on the page. I keep getting distracted by the cuteness….which is saying something, since anything you write Is pretty irresistible as well.

  29. Dawna on September 20th, 2010 6:05 pm

    When I started CF a year and a half ago I thought of you and thought you’d love it, lol.

    CF is awesome. Your post brings back memories.

    And those med ball cleans do get easier ;) “hip pop!”

  30. Stacy on September 20th, 2010 6:36 pm

    I ran a 6.0mph 5k today. About 9 hours ago. And I still feel like I wanna puke.

  31. Angella on September 20th, 2010 9:35 pm

    How crazy am I in that I read this and am all, “I WISH WE HAD CROSSFIT HERE”?

    Alas, I’ll have to stick to Boot Camp. You rock Crossfit, like only you can.

  32. Lynnann on September 21st, 2010 5:42 am

    You Go Girl!!!!

  33. Big Jim on September 21st, 2010 8:12 am

    Linda, I am 45yo and have been a workout freak since I was 14…ref the name :o)…anyway, I do CrossFit now and will never go back to Globo gym, it is the best workout (WOD) you can do. I love the family and team type environment. I am writing this as my left calf is screaming at me from last nights WOD! :o)! Keep it up, you will love the results…my wife does! :o)!

  34. Stephanie on September 21st, 2010 8:18 am

    Big Jim is right, his wife (that’s me) does like his results! She just doesn’t have the balls to try it herself yet.

  35. tuna on September 22nd, 2010 4:13 am

    Amazing article and how true it is I started my journey in Nov. of 2009 and to date have lost 70lbs. I owe this all to 3 things my coaches, my partner, and my fellow warriors at Crossfit North Vancouver in BC Canada. It is truly an amazingly life changing experience through hand rippage and all, and the days I don’t wanna work-out I go and work-out just to hang out with everyone…your words are so true and funny and bang on to what Crossfit life is like, Thank You for your articulate article :)

  36. zombie mom on September 22nd, 2010 7:51 am

    You got me hooked on Crossfit from your blogging- I was running half marathons, but needed to get in better shape. I fully drank the koolaid- I love it! Hate wall ball- but in a good way. Crossfit it awesome! I am a newly single mom of two little kids running a kickass business that requires long hours and travel and Crossfit is somehow anchoring my sanity and giving me a bangin’ body to boot.

  37. Cara in the House on January 8th, 2011 4:06 pm

    I had to pass this on to all my fellow crossfitters! Recently at a job interview someone asked what I do for fun and I blurted out crossfit! Fun?!?! Yet I show up at 6 am 3 mornings a week going on 3 years and am cranky if I have to miss!

  38. Cara in the House on January 8th, 2011 4:07 pm

    I had to pass this on to all my fellow crossfitters! Recently at a job interview someone asked what I do for fun and I blurted out crossfit! Fun?!?! I don’t know if that’s the right word! Yet I show up at 6 am 3 mornings a week going on 3 years and am cranky if I have to miss!

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