Early Adopter, Late Bloomer
I can't quite remember when exactly I found CrossFit. But to the best of my knowledge it was some time around late 2005. I had first come across the Gym Jones website. I looked at their workouts and videos and thought, These guys take 'Fight Club' way too seriously. Their workouts are nuts. I need to try this. And so I did. And their workouts kicked my ass. Plain and simple. As I began reading Mark Twight's essays (interesting stuff) I found that the methodology of his programming was rooted in something called CrossFit. I like things that are applicable to real life. Functionality, if you will. I was also doing Krav Maga at the time and loved the real life scenarios they'd put us through. Here's what you do if someone comes at you with a gun or a knife. You know, situations you hope to avoid in the real world but that are still fun to learn. So, I decided to check out the source. And there it was, the Thruster. Such a functional movement, especially for me as I was coaching high school volleyball at the time and the carry over was tremendous. After that I was hooked. The rest was history.
The Self-Taught CrossFitter
I taught myself how to play the guitar, I could teach myself the snatch, clean and jerk and kipping pull-up, right? Being a visual learner it was great having all of those demo videos and journal articles to watch over and over and over again. I got really into it. Studied the movements. Practiced on my own. So you would think for someone who was a relatively early adopter to CrossFit, who has told so many people about it (whether they wanted to hear about it or not) over the years and converted quite a few into the flock, that I would've gotten certified in it years ago? Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.
Over the years, I came and went with CrossFit. Doing the workouts at home or in a traditional gym has its limitations and drawbacks. For one, you look like an asshole. Two, equipment and usable space is a problem. You can't drop weights. You can't even work out too hard in a traditional gym without the staff asking you to stop.
Then there was the issue of the cost. CrossFit gyms are expensive compared to their traditional counterparts. I was locked into a $26/month membership with LA Fitness that I could cancel at any time. $26 isn't bad at all. Of course, now you can join Planet Fatness, I mean Fitness, for $10. Ridiculous. How do they make money? I was getting some results on my own and thought I could make do without joining a CrossFit gym, and besides, there wasn't one within a reasonable driving distance from where I live, and I'm a creature of convenience. Actually, I need to correct myself. There was an affiliate very close to where I live that I had considered trying out, but when I had seen that gym's trainers out socially at a local event and they seemed rather douchey, I decided not to pursue it. Interestingly enough, that gym is no longer a CrossFit affiliate.
It wasn't until last summer that CrossFit Delaware Valley moved locations to just a short drive from my house. I had no excuse. I had to go check it out. The experience was completely different than working out at home or in a globo gym. The people were so friendly and supportive. I never even said hi to anyone at LA Fitness. But still, the money was an issue. It was expensive to join, but I bit the bullet and signed up. By the fall Kara signed up as well. She was a little skeptical at first, but once she started seeing results (and that didn't take long), she knew it was money well spent. There's no comparison between doing these workouts on your own and doing them in a group environment. On your own you can easily sandbag it or just quit if you want to, with absolutely no repercussions. In the group, you're held accountable. And that has made all the difference.
My Level 1 Trainer Certification Experience
A few months back when my wife kept telling me to "Just f*cking do it" in regards to pursuing things that will make me happy, I signed up on a whim for the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Cert. I guess it's not really a whim when it's something you've wanted to do for years. But regardless, I took Kara's advice and just f*cking did it.
Having watched the cert videos for so many years I knew what I was walking into. But I have to admit, I did get a little star struck at first when I saw Chris Spealler writing some notes on the white board. The seminar staff was great and I picked up a lot of great pointers and cues from the different trainers.
Going into the test I felt pretty confident. I felt like I knew the material really well. I know the movements. I've got a good grasp on nutrition knowledge. I should be fine. I can't remember any of the exact questions, but I remember it went like this. First question, easy. Second question: What the F*ck?!! I must have read the second question three times in a row trying to figure out what exactly they were asking. This scenario would come up a few more times during the 50-question test. Some of the questions were horribly worded with very confusing language and sentence structure. When I handed in my test, I was just hoping that I would pass. I was not feeling good about this.
I waited outside with Laura Pappas and other cert attendees commiserating over some of the questions on the test, waiting for everyone to finish. When they called us back in my heart started racing. All I kept thinking was, I hope I passed, I hope I passed. When I finally received the manila folder with my name on it I had a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach. Did I pass? I opened the folder to find my name printed on a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer's Certification. They even spelled my name right. Huzzah!
Thanks to Jason and Aimee Lyons of Crossfit King of Prussia as well as the seminar staff for putting on a great cert.