Cross Fit workouts thrive on the small victories

  • By Bruce Overstreet
  • Friday, January 17, 2014 11:32am
  • Life

As I sit here composing this, I’m sore. I just spent an hour at CrossFit Marysville. I guess I should be sore. But as I drove through the fog across “The Flats” back to Everett after the workout that kicked my tush, I felt nothing but satisfaction. Really, I felt like I had just been to a party, not a workout. CFM is everything a non-gym type of person could want.

And I’m right in the middle of it. You can’t help but be right in the middle of it—the action is everywhere the minute you walk in.

Tonight, Ryan Swobody, one of the owners of CFM, was in the corner repeatedly dead-lifting 435 pounds as easily as I lift my cold beverage after the workout. The pounding of the weight hitting the ground after each lift was deafening and just a little intimidating. After all, this is a guy who finished 44th at the 2013 CrossFit World Games. When you consider that over 138,000 athletes competed in the 2013 CrossFit Open competition—the qualifier for the CrossFit World Games—that’s quite an accomplishment.

At 7 p.m., the regular CFM class was 28 members strong and they took up the bulk of the space. The energy is enough to jack anyone up to do a little better in their WOD (Work-Out of the Day). As they went through the drills led by Noah Prester, the other owner of CFM and the seventh overall finisher in the 2013 CrossFit Regionals, it’s easy to see why they were so “into it.” These guys and gals are being motivated every time they walk in the gym — by Noah and Ryan, by any of the other coaches, but mostly by each other.

This place thrives on celebrating the small victories. The “PR Bell,” located right in the middle of the gym, rings every time someone accomplishes a new personal record in some event. Everyone joins in the cheering.

I have to admit — today I came into the gym lacking motivation. An hour later, after pushing myself through another ‘baseline’ workout that ended with my doing 42 total pull-ups, as well as 42 thrusts with the 35 pound barbell, I left more than satisfied. I was salivating, ready for Saturday to be here so I could be back in this same gym.

I now understand addiction a little better.

How could I go from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of one hour? The better question is how could I not?

The sense of accomplishment is palatable in this building. My arms were burning on round No. 9 of the WOD called Fran AMRAP — which stands for As Many Reps As Possible — a linear increase of one additional rep of each exercise for each additional round.

Just remember, if this were easy, everyone would be doing it. Only in CFM, it feels as if everyone is doing it.

As I gathered my strength for the last couple rounds of this 8-minute workout, the burn forced me to pause. At that moment, Ryan Swobody, the guy who only thirty minutes earlier had been lifting weight plates that weigh more than 870 Big Macs or 202 cases of Budweiser beers, was right there by my side, giving me advice on how to finish the workout.

“Bring your hands in,” Ryan suggested as I hung on the pull-up bar with a nice thick elastic band around my foot to provide extra bounce needed to keep me thinking that I could get “just one more.”

And after a couple more pull-ups, as I fought to get through the rest of round No. 9, Ryan was there to advise me to “Take your hands off the bar and let them relax” before attempting to get a little closer to the end of the AMRAP. As Litsa shouted “Five, four, three, two, one — Time!” I pulled myself up to the seventh one in that set of nine.

Oh, the triceps were tight. But a good tight, a satisfying tightness. Of course, my triceps weren’t so tight that I couldn’t raise my arms and participate in a whole bunch of high fives. Most gratifying was the high five from Swobody, the guy who probably could do 42 pull-ups in one round with one hand — sans a nice thick elastic band.

But, when everyone is celebrating, it doesn’t matter if it is a 52-year-old guy who has toothpicks for arms or the 29-year-old who could deadlift a piano.

The sense of accomplishment after a day at CFM is consuming. If not checked, it could become addicting. I could start to change my diet, just like my OnRamp coach, Litsa, who now finds the Paleo diet more to her liking than her old vegetarian diet. Talk about two extremes. But perhaps that’s what CrossFit, or any other coordinated workout facility, does to you. It makes you think twice about what you are doing with your body. It’s a good thing Safeway is on the way from CFM. That 1.25-pound package of ground turkey cooked with four eggs was certainly better than the full bag of Doritos I had last night.

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