Three Months: Lorton Patch Taking CrossFit Liberation Challenge

Two workouts down and I'm a mass of aches and pains.

Lorton Patch Editor James Cullum is on a mission to get (back) in shape. He's working with CrossFit Liberation on Lorton Market Street.

Follow this column every Friday on Lorton Patch to see how James Cullum's three-month journey is progressing. (Need a reminder? Sign up for the Lorton Patch email newsletter.)


By the end of just eight minutes doing a rotation of exercises at Crossfit Liberation on Lorton Market Street, you'll be gasping for air and crawling to the drinking fountain.

The Crossfit program run by Atom and Carrie Ziniewicz is the real deal: calisthenics, weight lifting, rowing, running, jumping and sweaty-handed high-fiving. These workouts are high intensity and usually last less than an hour. 

Atom, a former Green Beret, will tell you this in the first class: "Leave your ego at the door."  

The CrossFit prescription is “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement,” according to the Crossfit Journal. "Functional movements are universal motor recruitment patterns; they are performed in a wave of contraction from core to extremity; and they are compound movements—i.e., they are multi-joint. They are natural, effective, and efficient locomotors of body and external objects."

So, with that in mind, for the next three months, I will be participating in Crossfit Liberation's intense workouts. I'll post stories and photos every Friday, and you'll learn about one of the fastest growing fitness programs in the country.

You'll also see photos and read stories about people who have turned flab into rock hard muscle, have an extensive workout wardrobe (no doubt) and have added years to their lives. 

Week One

So far I've only done two workouts with Crossfit - the first being on March 11, my 31st birthday. And what have I learned so far? I couldn't run for my life if I had to. I'm sore all over, and you better believe it's frustrating when a pregnant lady beats your ass on a run. 

This is what I was thinking as I staggered through the third leg of 800 meter "sprint": "Got to quit smoking… Pick up your feet, man. Ok, here we go… I really shouldn't smoke anymore. I bet that pregnant lady who just passed me doesn't smoke and she's carrying another person."  

My jogging slowed. "You're doing great! You can do it!" shouted a little boy eating dinner with his family at an outdoor table at the Fireside Grill. 

Thanks, kid.

But it's only the beginning, and it takes a little while to clear away the cobwebs. The first six classes are on Crossfit foundations, and after that I'll know what the all exercises are called and the proper way to complain about them.

I lost 50 pounds a couple years ago through swimming, workout machines and racquetball. Before that the best shape of my life was as a cadet at the Marine Military Academy — on the boxing team, routinely running five miles and being punished with innumerable prolonged workouts at the whim of a testy drill instructor.

Since then it's been writing, taking pictures and coasting by with a generally sound physique (thanks, Moms & Pops). This has been me, the journalist — smokes, eats poorly, doesn't work out regularly, spends too much time staring at a screen and doesn't drink enough water. 

Well folks, winter is over as far as I'm concerned. It's time for spring. I'm motivated at the moment, and would appreciate if you'd check out my weekly Crossfit posts and comment as I learn about the Crossfit culture.  

jessep.17@hotmail.com March 15, 2012 at 01:56 AM
to kristin and brain u2 did it and done it
Sally Spangler March 15, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Aw - James, tsk, tsk. For whatever reason, I couldn't do anything after a 5 minute whatever try to do exercise! YOU'RE IN GREAT SHAPE! Keep a-goin', I'll be cheering from the sideline.
Connie Dicken March 29, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Good luck on the challenge James!


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