About three year ago, I was 50 pounds heavier, was sick every few weeks, consumed about 6 diet cokes a day, was winded climbing the stairs at home and I didn’t have a visible neck. I still snore like a banshee on a cold day but ya can’t fix everything! I made the decision to start CrossFit and adopted Paleo(ish) — and I haven’t looked back. My primary motivation was the goal of “mastering” my body and fitness. I love the concept of constantly improving, “leveling up” and “mastering” things — be it technology, management, music, being a father, whatever. Plus, I surely wanted to be able to wear a t-shirt without thinking my “man boobs” might knock someone out or having my stomach start eating my shirt as I would just sit there. To be honest, I’m surprised I’ve been able to sustain my commitment to my fitness — it’s truly just part of my life now.
I started slow — one CrossFit class a week and started to cut out bread from my diet. Those first 8-12 weeks were super hard. It was such a humbling experience — I was one fat, out of shape old man. The one CrossFit class would crush me — I wouldn’t be able to move the entire week and it hurt to sit down on the toilet. As things progressed, I got strong and I was able to do more and more.
Here is a list of observations and lessons I’ve learned through my journey.
- Baby steps. Start small and work your way up. Transforming your way of life doesn’t happen overnight or after listening to a Tony Robbins seminar.
- Write down the things that motivate you and revisit that list every few weeks. That becomes your inner motivation to keep going.
- Be pragmatic as you level up and know your body. Having been consistently going to my box for multiple years now, I’ve seen so many people cycle out — push themselves too hard and then hurt themselves. Its usually a 50/50 shot if they come back.
- Don’t drink too much of the CrossFit cool aid — its fun but doing a WOD isn’t the only way to get a good workout in. Diversify with other activities.
- There are no silver bullet supplements. Just be pragmatic about the things you consume that you think gives you an edge.
- Tracking what you eat and your workouts is key to progress. I use an app called MyFitnessPal to track my food — its fairly popular and hooks up nicely to my FitBit Surge. The library of cataloged foods is quite good. Additionally, my box uses Wodify to keep track of personal records (PR’s).
- Alcoholic drinks are the biggest waste of calories and you don’t realize it until you track your intake of them.
- One of the best aspects of a CrossFit box is its community. I’ve met some great people at my box and find myself exploring other boxes when I travel.
- Olympic lifting is hard and so much of it is technique, flexibility and practice. It so fun to try to get good at.
- Partner workouts are the best, way harder to cheat.
- CrossFit sneakers are essential for a good rope climb.
- Wrist wraps are the best.
- I hate double enders, muscle ups, snatches and anything involving me being upside down. That list will grow and you will love it.
Looking forward — I’m still the older, slower and fatter guy at my box but that’s what keeps me motivated to keep pressing hard. I have a long way to go and I’m up for the challenge. I’m going to try to do a WOD 4-5 times a week and combine it with other activities such as skiing, weightlifting, etc. I’m currently investigating jiu jitsu as an interesting martial arts to augment my fitness.
By the way, kudos too all the coaches at CrossFit San Ramon — they are awesome.