I decided to try Crossfit. This decision, like most self-inflicted wounds, arose from a sense of desperation: a summer of Dales Pale Ale and Habitat burgers had taken its toll, and I realized with horror that I had succum to Skinny Fat. Skinny Fat, if you’re not aware, is a debilitating condition wherein a person with a narrow skeletal frame eats too many bagels/gets into IPAs/passes the age of 25 and suddenly starts putting on pounds. For many adults, these innocuous pounds can be comfortably worn on the body’s perimeters, but the Skinny Fat sufferer has nowhere to hide his/her mistakes, and thus becomes the walking contradiction of Thin Legs And Belly Fat. Nobody’s into that.
I had been a member of gyms before, but it just didn’t seem practical ever since I moved to Brooklyn. Gyms are overpriced, clustered in areas of dense economic activity, they smell like anaesthetic, and they all seem to be faceless chains; they’re really very Manhattan when you think about it. Crossfit on the other hand pitched as an inversion of the gym experience: low-tech, communal, unpretentious, and above all effective – the elevator pitch is that one hour of crossfit is worth four at the gym. Your author was sold on the idea of shaping up quickly and efficiently, because he loves results and also he’s lazy.
To become a full member of Crossfit Greenpoint, you need to go through an orientation course called Foundations. This includes six classes over two weeks on technique and process, followed by another two weeks of open class availability. During this time we were to be taught the fundamentals behind proper lifting, stretching, and core strengthening technique, while being introduced to the short, fast, ‘explosive’ system of Crossfit workouts. This means timed routines of alternating sprints, deadlifts, push ups, burbees (lots of burpees), and-
Look let me cut to the chase: Crossfit is freaking brutal. Like, so brutal. You go into it thinking, “Yeah man this is gonna be intense,” and come out thinking, “I don’t understand how I’m alive still.” Maybe this isn’t everyone’s experience – full disclosure, I was straight up the worst in the class at nearly every exercise. But everyone in my (extremely friendly and upbeat) class echoed similar sentiments: that they ached all over, that they had pain in muscles they didn’t know existed. People from classes before us would tell us to ‘have fun’ on their way out. But listen: they meant the opposite of what they were saying. Crossfit exercises scale to strength: in theory the strongest guy hurts as much as the weakest guy, cus everyone is doing exactly the reps/weight/time that they can. The best part of Crossfit is that at the end of your exercise you look at the roughneck gasping for breath next to you, and you know he just suffered no more or less than you did.
At the end of my 4 weeks, everyone from my class was asking each other if we intended to carry on with the full membership – there are two membership options, but you can also choose to pay for classes individually. I opted for the ad hoc option: from my Foundations class I learned a ton of new exercises and corrected some things I had been doing wrong for years. This way I can work out on my own, stop in whenever I feel like getting my ass kicked. In the meantime, I joined Crunch. Whatever dude, its near my office.