My first day at school

Today I went along to CrossFit to do my four-hour induction course. Some CrossFit franchises split the induction over two days, but we were shown all the fundamental moves, and some other stuff, in one go. I suppose doing it all in one go was better for me, as I ACHE LIKE HELL. If I had to go back tomorrow to finish off, I think it would be ME who would be finished off.

So anyway, I arrived just before 2pm, to fill in a form to prove I wasn’t falling to pieces. “Do you suffer from … being over 40?”, was the question I found most amusing. “Yes, I’m 41”, I wrote. I hope it’s not frowned upon.

There were four of us on the course, and one of the girls is a dance teacher and ex-gym instructor, so already I knew she’d be doing everything with ease while I puffed away. Our instructor started by talking us through what CrossFit is all about, the nine fundamental disciplines of weightlifting we’d have to master, along with a few other nasty gym-type things (wall balls, as a Twitter friend has already noted, are evil).

On-Ramp Itinerary
Induction day – kill me now

So we started out with a warm-up, followed by some basic exercises to determine our overall level of fitness. This comprised of 50 skips (with imaginary skipping rope), 40 alternate lunges, 30 sit-ups, 20 press-ups, and ten burpees. I hate burpees, and I especially hate them after 140 reps of other stuff! Of the four of us, I was the slowest by 57 seconds, but that was mostly because I struggled with the sit-ups. I have little core strength, but I now have a time to aim at if I ever want to improve on that particular little workout in the future.

After that short workout, we got down to learning the nine fundamental weightlifting moves (is that the right word for them?) that form the basis of most CrossFit workouts. I’m not going to go into them in great detail here or it will be a very long blog post. Suffice it to say that it involves squatting, squatting with a bar over your head, lifting the bar off the ground, lifting the bar to your chest in a couple of different ways, and lifting the bar over your head in a couple of different ways. You get the idea.

We did this for what seemed like ages, including a 30-minute OMEM (on the minute, every minute) workout involving all nine fundamentals. By about halfway through my quads had gone, and I had to scale back and slow down. Towards the end, my biceps had gone south too. A well-deserved break followed this madness, and then it was on to the non-weightlifting stuff.

Kettle-ball swings, wall balls (squatting, and then throwing the ball up the wall as you come out of it – ow!), box jumps, pull-ups, and toe-to-bars. I could do the Kettle-balls and wall balls, but I had nothing left in my legs for jumping on a 21-inch high box, and I certainly couldn’t do many pull-ups. Remember, this was about three hours into a four-hour session and I am very unfit. I’ve got plenty of time to work on it.

After all that, the evil bastard had a mini-WOD (workout of the day for us) to do. At this point the other guy bailed, having previously said to me that he didn’t think he was going to do this final workout. This left me with two reasonably/very fit girls to kick my arse, which they proceeded to do over a series of box jumps, wall balls and kettle-ball swings, interspersed with a 200m run which I didn’t do, as I could hardly support myself on my poor thighs at that point. But I pushed through with the other stuff, replacing jumping on the box with stepping up. I couldn’t just give up like the other guy apparently had, could I? As my workout finished before the girls, I gave them some encouragement on their last few reps, and I think even the dance instructor was flagging by the end.

After four hours of intense work, it was over except for some pretty full-on warm-down stretches which pulled me even further apart just for good measure. And then I tried to drive the car home; I could hardly turn the steering wheel, my arms hurt so much. And then I almost fell down the stairs, due to complete quad failure. And now I can’t get up from this chair.

So what have I learned today?

I am grossly unfit.
Your body cries, “Enough!” way sooner than you think it will.
I need to work on my Power Clean technique (arms mostly).
I need a bloody long bath to soak my poor muscles.

I am never going back. Not really. I fucking love it.

See you next week!

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