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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Crossfit- My Coming Out

It's been over six months now that I've been going to the gym. That's right- me. Going to the gym. I'm the kid that got chosen fifth from last for every sport in school, just before the four kids that nobody even liked. I'm the one who only ever went down hill skiing once because I fell so many times trying to learn that the group of friends that I travelled with made me the laughing stock of the weekend. I can still feel the sting of humiliation, the sore and tired muscles, the bruises.

It took about a year of thinking about it almost every day before I decided to give crossfit a try. One of the coaches kept sending me kind and gentle messages about what she thought crossfit might do for me, might help me with, might undo in me. And since I struggle on and off with my body anyway, have given up dieting for life, and I trusted this coach, I thought maybe I should give it a try. I wasn't ready. I wouldn't ever be ready, so I decided to pretend that I needed physiotherapy and that I just needed to show up at the gym twice a week and do whatever exercises I was given. For a year, I told myself. You need physio for a year.

I may be the first fledgling crossfitter to have thrown the F-Bomb on my very first visit.

I mean- skipping rope?? I loved skipping rope as a child. All those awesome little poems and songs we'd sing while we skipped rope on the sidewalk at school recess. I could totally rock that skipping rope.

And then, at 45, my first time at "physio", they said- "Skip". And I couldn't. My arms didn't know how to handle the rope and my feet moved at the wrong times, and the rope got caught on my ankles.

And so because I didn't also want to burst into tears, I said- "DAMMIT! I can't even F-ing SKIP!" Which made the woman beside me laugh so hard she couldn't skip either, and that made me feel a little better.

Well, now I can skip. Around 3 or 4 times later, my body remembered. I'm no longer skipping like an eleven year old, unless they currently wear depends, but still- I can skip. And that feels good. And we never ever skip to MISSISSIPPI, but you take what you can, folks, you take what you can.

My first visit to crossfit, I couldn't do a squat. I don't think I had ever done a squat, or attempted one since I was a toddler. When my "physiotherapist" showed me how to do a squat (stick your butt out, blah, blah, blah) I managed to get down. So far that I fell onto the floor. And couldn't pull myself back up. These days, I have learned how to do the squat- wall squats, kettle ball squats, and the one we refer to as "pole dancing squats". I'm feeling pleased that I don't fall over any more.

When I started crossfit a little over six months ago, I was around about a size twelve, with flabby thighs and a lot of cellulite, a second chin, a weird little belly, and that "second arm wave" that shows up on your fortieth birthday. Not too sure what I weighed since I got Brian to hide the scale from me some time ago.

Six and a half months later, I'm around a size twelve, with flabby thighs and a lot of cellulite, a second chin, a weird little belly. The arm waggle does seem to have settled down.

In a certain kind of lighting, when the moon is crescent shaped, and a woodpecker is pecking past twilight, I can faintly make out some muscle definition on my thighs. The blobs of fat that were falling onto my kneecap have receded, and my flabby butt sits a little higher than it used to. I also have a tiny collection of black workout gear, since learning the wrong way that if you wear stretchy royal blue leggings from WalMart and pee your pants doing a teensey little jog, everyone will know. Turns out that black is a little more forgiving. A little.

I have a new community. A brilliant group of people who know how to laugh at themselves, push themselves, be kind to one another, and just show up. I enjoy watching people who weren't the last chosen at gym class hurling their bodies up onto piles of boxes or wrapping themselves around chin lift bars. There's something marvelous about the human body being able to do that. I also enjoy working out with a particularly sweet, smily-est, most encouraging woman who isn't above saying "feck-it" under her Irish breath when the going gets just a little too hard. It's marvelous to be allowed to laugh.

I'm over half way through my initial plan to give crossfit a year of my life. It's hard to believe that I actually enjoy going to the gym. It's remarkable that challenging my body after a tough day at work feels really good for brain and body. I still tend to feel self-conscious and generally hope no one is looking at me, but the crossfit community in my town has been so kind and gracious that I'm getting kind of getting slightly over that too.

I'm pretty sure I won't turn into an insufferable nag who posts workouts on facebook or goes on and on ad nauseum about crossfit. I'm definitely not going to become competitive. I can't imagine eating paleo, as I'm addicted to carbohydrates and yogurt. I don't even like that caption: "we eat pain for breakfast", because I like toast.

But I like the kitty. And that kind of die-hard weirdo obsessive freak I'm likely to remain.



Valerie Ruth said...

I'm so proud of you. You're doing it!

janice said...

AWESOME!!!!! I have many thousands of excuses for not going to the gym, over my 10 years as a gym rat, but I love it when I get there, and I love the results. And, like that kitty, the pain of overworked-yesterday muscles is my frequent breakfast.

I am also proud of you. Please go on ad nauseum any time you like.

Anonymous said...

Joyce thanks for making me laugh again and saying it like it is again....and I was just wondering if Crossfit might be for me who does not like to drive more than 5 minutes to workout......lets see. Meanwhile keep going to "physio" and lets see what more happens for just never know. Rosella

Anonymous said...

Thank you Joyce for making me smile. and maybe, just maybe I'll think about going to a gym.

Periwinkle Dzyns said...

why or why is my gym not full of Joyce's but instead rock hard babes that have never seen cellulite, a scale that squeals or make colour choices based on errr leakage
le sigh

Anonymous said...

Thank are brilliant!!!

joyce said...

Ah, you are all so kind. We could totally work out together ;)

Michelle said...

I've started doing yoga... I labelled myself today, as "the one who shows that you don't have to have it all together" and that touching your toes is not mandatory to having a good workout. (Is yoga a workout? It is for me.) I'm impressed that you're doing crossfit and I love the way you've shared about it! Keep up the good work!!! :)