In general, I don’t prefer working out in groups. Especially in the shape I’m in now – I’m working hard, but it is a struggle, and I mostly don’t want anybody watching my fat ass work through something that I can barely do anyway. And one thing about Crossfit is that there is always a group. Sometimes the workouts are structured so that everybody is so busy trying to figure out what they’re doing that they don’t have time to see you, and everybody finishes at roughly the same time. Sometimes, though, they are structured such that the really fit people get done much faster than the not-so-really fit people – of which I am a gold-star member.
Tuesday morning was one of those latter workouts. We did what they call a Chipper – what appears to be an incredibly high number of repetitions of relatively simple movements. You do it for time, and the idea is that you just chip away at the total – Chipper. So this particular morning was 100 (!) Double Unders (jumping rope, the rope goes under your feet twice for every time you jump. I have still never successfully completed a single Double Under), 50 Power Cleans, 100 Air Squats, and 50 Toes-to-Bar. With a 20 minute cap, but that exists mostly to make sure I leave before the next class starts.
If you can’t do Double Unders, they let you triple-up on single unders – so 300 regular jumps at the rope. I got about 30 jumps in and the coach came over and told me I could just do 200 so I didn’t spend the whole workout just jumping rope.
Aside – jumping rope is hell. Hell.
So then I go and do my Power Cleans with 65# – I can clean a lot more weight than that, but I’ve learned the hard way to be careful with weight – doing it once and doing it 50 times are two very different things.
And then I started my air squats. I got maybe halfway through these when the fit people started finishing up their workouts. They were cleaning up the weights while I was in the corner plugging away. One of the girls came over to me, and I asked her if she was going to yell at me while I finished. She looked at me and said, “Nope, I’m going to do the rest with you. How many do you have left?” And then another came over, and another, and for the last 20 squats or so there were probably 5 – 6 people around me doing extra squats while I finished. And when I finished they all cheered.
That was about 17 and a half minutes in, and they all thought I was done. Of course, I still hadn’t done any toes-to-bars – which I have to modify and do on the floor. So, down to the floor I went and the coach in particular encouraged me through. My form sucked for these, but I did 28 of them before time ran out – and that was something.
I still don’t like being last by that much, and I don’t like being the fat guy people feel they need to go encourage. But, damn, was that nice. I never would have pushed myself that hard and done that many if I weren’t in a group that would come help me through. It hurt, but I did it – and they helped. I’m only 6 weeks in to this, and when I’m 6 months into this and doing much better I’m going to remember that encouragement helps, and I should give it whenever I can.