Well, here we are. It was three months and a week ago that I walked into CrossFit Liberation in heavy tennis shoes and baggy shorts. The first workout was eight minutes long, and afterward I felt exactly as I'd feared—drained of energy, out of breath and out of shape. Fast forward to the present: I've just finished a five-week Paleo Diet Challenge and I have the endurance of a bull in Pamplona chasing a screaming mustachioed jerk in white pants.
Tacos for Dinner
Thank God the Paleo challenge is over. There's no substitute for a hamburger and fries, or chorizo con huevo with corn tortillas and a glass bottle of Coke. Still, I went from 176.5 pounds to about 173 pounds in that five weeks, and have picked up a few good habits along the way, like eating apples, drinking lots of water and ensuring a steady future for workers in the bacon industry.
I'm not the only one to experience change. Former long-distance runner Marken Orser, who went from 153 pounds to 146.5 on the Paleo Challenge, has seen a marked improvement in his workouts. "Since the challenge started, I've been able to push a lot harder, and my recovery time is a lot faster than it used to be," he said. "I just beat my best-ever 5K time by more than a minute, and I've run a lot of 5Ks."
Jeremy Simmons started CrossFit with me three months ago. "I'm here to tell you that CrossFit is the greatest thing that has happened in my life, fitness wise, for a long time. I'm motivated to workout again," he said. "The workout environment is, in a word, healthy. Everyone encourages each other, men and women of all ages and abilities work out with each other seamlessly. It's just a wonderfully healthy, social environment."
And Outside the Box...
I played racquetball with my friend Chris Olson the other day, and the outcome was interesting. I destroyed those games. Kwaboosh! I was calm, intense, like a racquetball assassin, and time slowed down. Thwack! I was in the zone, which used to be tough to reach because of my previously wretched condition, but now—game over.
I wasn't tired at all, and the games felt like a gentle warm-up. Strangely, the whole time we played I kept thinking about that scene in the original "Karate Kid," when Daniel-son wins the tournament with that timeless jump-kick to the face.
"Hell yeah," I thought. "I just kicked racquetball in the teeth."
Give It a Shot
So, if you've never tried CrossFit, and you want to be in the best shape of your life, take it from me—there's still time to make a change and look good in a swimsuit before the weather turns cold.
It won't be easy, though, and that's the point of this series. Everyone knows deep down that it takes hard work to get into great physical shape. CrossFit will work your entire physique, from head to toe. You'll be sweating so much that your body will start craving something strangely natural—water. And then, before you know it, you'll be doing kipping pull-ups and Sumo Deadlift High Pulls with the deadly eyes of a lion closing in on a community of gazelles.
Look at me, for instance—I've never felt better! I feel like I can do anything, and that confidence has helped change my life over the past three months. My aggression is focused, and if it happens to be particularly heavy, you can always get rid of it at CrossFit Liberation. There, you'll find owners Atom and Carrie Ziniewicz working hard alongside trainers Mark Zaragoza, Mike "Tat" Newsome, Vivian Nguyen, Kerry McKay, Scott "Panda" Horton, Angelo Scarlato, Suzy Smith Sturdevante, Emily Lynn Klioze, and a host of CrossFit regulars. Thanks to all of them for helping me on this journey.
Incidentally, I'll remain a member of the Box, and look forward to seeing you there.