“…I had my first exposure to CrossFit in 2007. I had been doing the typical bodybuilding style programming, which I took mostly out of the pages of different fitness magazines. I had always taken my fitness seriously, however I knew that there was something lacking. A shoulder injury that lingered for most of 2006 made me start thinking that I needed to change something. It was at that time that a co-worker told me to check out CrossFit. I would love to say that from that moment on I was hooked but it took me a while to fully understand what I was missing.
I began by perusing the CrossFit website where I was introduced to foreign terms such as WOD, AMRAP, Tabata, thrusters, and the list goes on. And what the hell were the “girls” that everyone on the website spoke about? I began by trying a few of the workouts but without a true understanding of the intensity that was truly required to get the most out of the programming. I spent about a year picking and choosing workouts that were suited for me. I did a lot of power cleans and pull-ups during that year but continued to neglect those movements that I struggled with. One thing was consistent during this time however, no matter what I did I was drawn back to what is now referred to as the “mainpage” but
at the time was really the only page. I read article after article and began to get an understanding of what CrossFit was all about. I was also noticing at this time that workouts were fun again. Each day I was left lying in a puddle of sweat wondering what the hell had just happened to me and I loved every minute of it.
This took me up to the fall of 2008. I continued to read articles but still had trouble following every mainpage WOD either due to lack of equipment or inability to do the rx’ed exercises. I was now torn between laying down money for equipment and a level one certification or finding a gym. Naturally I looked on the CrossFit message boards for a gym in New Hampshire. It was at this point I stumbled across this guy named Samy. He had a skull and crossbones profile picture and was part of a small group attempting to assemble for some workouts in New Hampshire. I still remember Samy referring to himself as “a shy little bastard” who liked creeping around where no one noticed him. I have to say this described me perfectly. (Editor’s Note: Soulmates)
That is when my “blogstalking” began. I read almost everything that Samy posted, along with several others to include Melissa Urban/Byers at the short lived 603 CrossFit. I
began to get stronger and eventually started doing my best to follow the programming on the “Savage Society’s” webpage. At this point I still had never stepped foot in a CrossFit box or had coaching on anything. I would workout alone either at home or in my police department’s gym. Occasionally I would convince a co-worker to try a workout with me, no one ever stuck around though. Most said I was crazy or that it ruined their back and bi split that they had been doing for years.
So with no coaching or exposure to a true CrossFit gym I made the decision to lay down some money and create my own “basement gym.” I had read every article associated with creating a garage gym, as well as Samy’s trials and tribulations with stocking his own gym. I figured that if I couldn’t buy it I could probably make it. I made my order with Rogue Fitness and less than a week after that my equipment arrived. I now had a fully stocked gym that included rubber flooring, bumper plates, a pull-up rig, kettlebells, and rings. I have added several other pieces of equipment since then but it was that original shipment of equipment that became my gym. Equipment was no longer a limiting factor for me. I had no excuses now when it came to workouts and it was paying great dividends. My fitness was improving in leaps and bounds. The old injuries that had limited me in the past were non-factors. I was getting stronger in all areas, even those that I had neglected at one time.
The Salty Dog Can’t Hide From Us
I obtained my Level One Certification in 2010. It was a great weekend that I still am in awe of. When I walked through the doors of the Maine State Police Academy in Vassalboro, Maine I had butterflies for the first time in a long time. I had studied and researched CrossFit for years at this point but still had never experienced the community that is CrossFit. Of course I had read Samy’s blog and liked to think of myself as a member of the Savage Society but they didn’t know that. I still had not visited the gym or even posted on their site. There were several big names in CrossFit at the time and as I walked into
the cert I realized that many of them would be instructing me that weekend. I hoped that all the time I spent alone in my basement attempting to perfect moves such as the air squat would pay off.
The certification went very well. I was extremely happy to learn that the work I put in had paid off when I was complimented on my squat form on the first day but I still had butterflies, we would be doing a group workout in the afternoon. This would be my first taste of what it was like to workout in the atmosphere of a CrossFit gym. The workout was a variation of Fran. We were divided into teams and had to complete a 400m run, a combined 250 thrusters, another 400m run and a combined 250
pull-ups. Only one team member was allowed to workout at a time. Once I got into the workout I realized that I had been missing out on a huge part of what CrossFit truly is.
There is nothing like the feeling of being cheered on by others who are experiencing the same pain that you are. To be around people that share the same outlook as you is an amazing motivator. I left my certification with a new respect for CrossFit and all those that take part in it.
The CrossFit community still continues to amaze me and yes I have finally stepped foot in the Savage Society. Samy has even given me the honor of helping to coach some of the On-Ramp Programs. I would like to think that I add a unique perspective to coaching due to the path that I took to get here. While I do not get to CrossFit New Hampshire as much as I would like I consider many members as part of my family. I learn something new every time I step foot in the gym whether from one of the trainers or from one of the athletes working out alongside me. I am truly amazed at the accomplishments I see on a daily basis, whether that is the person putting up a PR or just completing that extra rep before putting a bar down.
I encourage all new CrossFitters to take the time to explore the message boards and the CrossFit Journal. These were invaluable tools to me during my CrossFit journey. At the same time I hope that all CrossFitters embrace the community and remember how it
was when they first started. Challenge yourself and those around you every time you step foot in the gym.”