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Despite spending my entire career in athletics and being an avid sports fan, physical fitness really has not been a high priority in my life.

Unless you count tossing around the baseball – and pitching batting practice to my sons’ teams – or playing ping pong. And I have been a regular walker, when the weather is right – April through September – for about 10 years.

But as I reached the mid-40s (age, not waist size), I knew I needed to start doing something more to get my heart pumping and blood flowing. Coaching youth baseball alongside Patrick Flannelly (“Omega”) and at the same time getting to know his better half, Kristin (“Alpha”), I had heard a lot about this CrossFit phenomenon. In May of 2013, I decided to give it a whirl.

TomA small whirl. For starters, I went once a week and now have progressed to a whopping twice a week. Tuesday and Friday mornings at 6 o’clock: I am almost always there, often with my better half, Jane. It’s a nice group; no one laughs at me for my belly-flop-like burpees or the fact that I likely won’t ever be able to walk or even stand on my hands.

Seriously, it has been a great nine months for someone who honestly knew he wasn’t in great shape but hadn’t broken any scales with the needle spinning out of control. Kristin is our primary trainer, and she has an uncanny ability to teach and work with a group of individuals who are at varying stages of ability and fitness level. The WOD’s are extremely wide-ranging, and you never know what the next one is going to bring. I like that, and I am always excited to share my morning adventures with my co-workers in the athletics department at Purdue … after a cup of bullet-proof coffee.

If I have accomplished anything – besides being able to jump rope, almost make it all the way across the monkey bars and increase my flexibility – I now feel guilty if I miss a morning. My short-term goal is to graduate to three days a week by this summer, figuring if I combine that with a couple days of walking, I may feel the benefits even more.

For me, I don’t aspire to compete in the CrossFit Games. But that’s the great thing about the endeavor. There is something for everyone, and if I can help my heart become a little healthier and body a little toner, then I will be more than satisfied.

So far, so good.

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