My Fitness Journey – What the Eff is a WOD?

Thrusters with cement

Doing thrusters with a block of cement at the cabin this summer. I am an addict.

To bring everyone up to date: I had a terrible foundations for fitness, had begun doing Boot Camps in the park with my beautiful bride, kept at it longer than I had ever stuck with anything, and even had to find something new to do, when I discovered The Machine Shop.

Now let me perfectly clear – I liked Boot Camp. I liked it quite a bit. It was social, which I liked; it was scheduled, which I needed; it was variable/always changing, which kept me from getting bored; and it was hard work, which I needed in order to feel like I was accomplishing something. All that being said, it never struck me as particularly hardcore or “rock and roll.” There was something missing, and though I found something that I would endure, and even sometimes look forward to in order to see my buddies I worked out with, I didn’t LOVE it. But I didn’t know what it was.

So then that fateful Wednesday in August rolled around that I was scheduled to come in for a Crossfit Beginners class. We did a warm-up, much like we would have done at Boot Camp, so I was pretty familiar with some of it. Then we grabbed PVC pipes and started to practice doing an Overhead Squat.

I had never so much as lifted a weight before except in a couple of abortive attempts to get in shape by going to the gym. And that pretty much led to me faking my way through some kind of barbell curl while staring in the mirror and trying not to make eye contact with anyone, and alternating that with gazing at the complex, antiseptic, machines littering the landscape like pieces of modern art – just as expensive and baffling.

I always felt so intimidated at the gym because I not only didn’t know what I was doing, no one talked to each other, and I felt like I was being judged for not wearing a muscle shirt and backwards ball cap, which, I assume, is the uniform of the gym. So, I would stop going right away.

What I felt like at the gym.

What I felt like at the gym.

Hmmm, that was off-topic, wasn’t it?

OK, back to Overhead Squats. Pretty soon our trainer/coach came by and watched us perform a few squats and then allowed some of us to get a bar. I was chosen because she said I had “good mobility.” I simply nodded and said, “Yeah” while thinking “What the eff is good mobility?” So I grabbed a 45 lb bar and soon she said to add two ten pound plates, which felt pretty heavy in a position that I had never been in before.

Then, she announced the WOD. My first thought, “What the eff is a WOD?” Second thought, “Just act like you aren’t gobsmacked by every second word that comes out of her mouth and get to the end of this.” Seriously, I thought she was speaking another language as she rattled off acronyms “The eff is an AMRAP?” and started demonstrating wall balls and explaining to us that Overhead Squats would be in the workout.

I can’t remember the breakdown or how long it was or anything.

What I do remember was hoisting what I thought was an endlessly heavy bar over my head for what I’m pretty certain was the gazillionth time when suddenly it hit me, “Workout of the Day!”

I nearly dropped the bar.

Why couldn't they just define their terminology for clarity at the outset? Oh, because they aren't nerds.

Why couldn’t they just define their terminology for clarity at the outset? Oh, because they aren’t nerds.

Then I remember afterwards gasping for breath, my muscles screaming at having been used in such a vicious manner, and covered in more sweat than I thought was possible.

I thought to myself, “There is no way I am going to do this again!”

I went home and promised myself to look for another Boot Camp somewhere.

But there was nagging feeling that I couldn’t shake. I felt like I had discovered a hardcore new workout regime. I felt like all I wanted to do now was lift that barbell again. I wanted to lift weights; I wanted to prove that I could throw down again. I wanted to get better at what I did. It was gnawing at me. I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to try it again, but maybe just one more time.

Then my wife asked me, “So, are you doing it again?”

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