Feelings of a beginner

by Paolo

And so it seems that I arrived at the end of my On-Ramp training.

When I decided to join the CrossFit community, pushed by a friend, I didn’t know what I was going to face exactly. Surely I knew that my physical condition wasn’t great, and I had to do something about.

As I often say talking with my new friends at the Box, I’m usually the best customer for regular fitness centres. I pay a full year subscription, driven by an irrational enthusiasm, and I never go. That happened more than once in my life: I could never stand staying closed in a gym, lifting heavy stuff and running like a hamster in its wheel.

I was scared this time I was going to have the same feelings. Especially because my expectations about the CrossFit training philosophy and its community where not great. Or better: I was sure I couldn’t fit in there with ultra-fit people lifting barbells, hanging on bars, running, rowing and shit. I’m a tall and skinny guy, 185cm tall (6’1” fts) for 69Kg (149.6 lbs) and I never liked any kind of strength training. All the time I felt embarrassed in gyms, next to huge guys growling and panting while fighting with bench presses or huge dumbbells. And I think, this may be a common feeling for people like me. For these reasons, before applying for my On-Ramp training, I decided to attend a Free Trial offered by my local Box, trying to understand what was really happening during a CrossFit WOD. And that warm Saturday, everything changed.

Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try

Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try.

What I will remember for a long time is the deep sense of fatigue after the 15-20 minutes of the trial workout. I realised that I never had such intensity of physical activity before. While resting on the floor, trying to slow down my heart, getting my breath back, and control a strange nausea, the only thing in my mind thinking was: “I’m not made for this stuff”.

Once back home, after a refreshing shower, something started to change in my mind. And that little voice saying: “Hey, be reasonable, you’re not made for working out…” shut up. And suddenly I was attracted by that intensity, that sense of fatigue, those sore muscles. I started considering the chance to apply for the On-Ramp training.

I wasn’t convinced until the Monday after. That morning I woke up early as usual. Checking my emails while having breakfast, something caught my attention. An email from Rolando, the Box manager, saying that there was a free place for the On-Ramp training starting that same day. In that moment a bell rang. I took my phone and I made the call: my adventure started that evening.

A lot has been written in blogs and fitness related websites about CrossFit and the On-Ramp program. What really impressed me is the level of attention and preparation of the trainers I found. I immediately felt comfortable with the situation as I never felt in any of the gyms I went (or at least tried to go). I started learning movements and skills that I thought I could never perform and get. And, for the first time, I started being confident about my potentialities.

I read a lot about the “CrossFit Community” and I thought was just a bunch of nice motivational words, part of a clever marketing operation. Well, I had to change my mind. What really helped me was being with other people, each one of them giving its best to learn something that was new for all of us, with our ego out of the Box. That sense of embarrassment I had in other gyms totally disappeared: I was for the first time happy to be working out with a group of people I barely knew.

And yes, I started seeing (or better: feeling) results. Of course each person starting a new physical activity does it for two main reasons: feeling better and looking better.

The “looking better” part is hard to achieve and requires a long, long (longer) time. The “feeling better” part is almost sudden and really satisfying. And yesterday during our last On-Ramp lesson, I had a clear confirmation of this. We repeated the same WOD we had during our first On-Ramp lesson.

400m run
Jumping Pull-up

400m run

And these, are my registered times:

19/08/2013: 14’11”
11/09/2013: 9’14”

The improvement, for all of us, was great. And at least for me, unexpected.

The bottom line: no matter how fit you are CrossFit will change your life. You will improve your weaknesses, and will teach you keep motivations high. Your pals and your trainers will help you to not give up. And this last thing is the one I feel the most important. Learning the feeling to have all the instruments to achieve ambitious results. During your workouts, and especially, in your life out there.

My special thanks:

My friend Gianandrea, for having pushed me in this adventure.

My wife Adriana, for the patience she paid for my late dinners.

My trainers Niccolò, Filippo and Rolando for the motivations they gave me, their professionalism and capacity to transmit skills and concepts.

My On-Ramp classmates, for the time spent together sweating and learning.

All the other CrossFit Lugano members I had the chance to talk with, for their advices and moral support.

CrossFit Lugano on-Ramp 001

CrossFit Lugano on-Ramp 001. I’m the guy with the yellow t-shirt. Picture courtesy of CrossFit Lugano