It’s 2008, my husband Chad comes home from SWAT practice and tells me he did some CrossFit workout and almost died. I didn’t know what CrossFit was, and I didn’t really care. All I knew about CrossFit is that Chad worked out all of the time, calling his workouts by name, Fran, Isabelle, Helen, and often used the term WOD (workout of the day). When he wasn’t doing the WOD, he was searching crossfit.com for every little morsel of new information he could use to get better. I thought this is just another phase for Chad, marking the beginning of a new hobby. I had no idea what was to follow.
As time went by, I watched Chad become obsessed with CrossFit. To put it bluntly, it became annoying watching my 38-year-old husband trying to become “functionally fit.” When he started saying things like, “I’m preparing for the unknown and unknowable,” I started to worry about his stability. When he would come home and tell me about some new “PR” or skill he had accomplished, I didn’t fully understand his enthusiasm and excitement. I would congratulate him, still never quite fully understanding how someone could be this excited about exercise. Then, there was the day I came home from work, only to find the construction of a mini CrossFit rig in our basement. It was official: The men in the Robinson household drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid and, perhaps, had a little too much.
I went to the gym fairly often. I did body pump, ran on the treadmill, etc. I ran a half marathon, finished a sprint triathlon, and still weighed 159 pounds at 5-foot-4. The changes in my body had occurred slowly, over several years. It was similar to not noticing your own children growing. You look back at the pictures one day, and reality sits in. I wasn’t truly aware of how far I had let myself slip until I started to look through pictures of our summer vacation. There I was in a swimsuit with everything peeking out from where it shouldn’t. I had become an overweight, middle-aged woman. It was time to give up my rebellion and make a change. I had watched around a million CrossFit videos with Chad, and decided I would finally take Chad’s advice and give it a shot. It was in 2009 that Chad told me I should try CrossFit. In October of 2012, I started. CrossFit West Lafayette opened its current facility, and it seemed like good timing.
It was a rough start. I was great at the “community” part. The workouts were a different story. I remember the first day we were told to do pull ups, I realized I couldn’t do one, not even close. Overhead squats, cleans, snatches … huh? My transition from 125 pounds at age 25 to 160 pounds at age 39 happened slowly, almost without notice. Fortunately, the road back was much quicker.
It’s now March of 2014, and I weigh 129 pounds. Chad actually told me to stop losing weight. He quickly followed with, “but you need to keep adding muscle.” I guess I will take what I can get because I’m pretty sure that was a compliment. I have worked my way up to 15 consecutive pull ups, won the battle of the bar muscle up and have accomplished a list of things that I would have been unable to accomplish at age 25. I finally appreciate and understand the passion Chad felt all those years ago when he started CrossFit. I am now the one in the Robinson household searching crossfit.com for videos of how to conquer that next skill. Our discussion at the dinner table often celebrates someone’s “PR.” Yes, it is exciting when you learn a new skill, and you want to celebrate this with everyone. I even have a T-shirt with the phrase “Prepare for the Unknown and the Unknowable.” I feel good about my progress in the gym, but more importantly, I feel better about myself. I no longer expect to slip with age. I expect to keep improving with time.
Like most, my expectations were quickly exceeded when I started CrossFit. My shape, my strength (physical and mental) and my confidence all quickly improved. I found new friends … lots of them. People I would have never known without the shared suffering we endured at the box. The term “CrossFit Community” seems to have become cliché, but the experience almost always surprises new CrossFitters.
CrossFit has been such a positive change in my life. I look forward to the WOD, and, yes, I do check the WOD every morning when I wake up. I have a shared passion with Logan and Chad, and at CFWL, I inherited a community that encourages me to be and give my best. Some people call CrossFit is “cult like.” That’s ridiculous, but I would move into a cave and starve myself with these people if it showed up on the website.