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How I Lost Weight and Gained Health with Crossfit Workouts: Part 1, Starting from the Bottom

Updated on June 15, 2013
Crossfit Brea: typical Crossfit space.
Crossfit Brea: typical Crossfit space. | Source

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

My body was showing the effects of the approaching half-century mark: 190 lbs. at 5’10” or about 30 lbs. over where I needed to be. The ever-tightening 37-inch waist on my pants threatened to explode . And I suffered the strength and endurance of an earthworm on Valium. My standard lament was this was the inevitable decline into decrepitude and age. But one word told me that it was all reversible: CrossFit.

Starting Out

TV news stories, magazine features and Internet websites must have planted the name in my head. To quote the originator, Greg Glassman, CrossFit emphasizes “fitness that is, by design, broad, general and inclusive.” It does not specialize in any body part or method, since “combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.”

A Google search yielded Crossfit Brea as the closest gym to my house. Its well-designed website boasted of a strength and conditioning program used by many police academies, fire fighters, elite athletes and military units. Pictures and videos, like the one on the right, showed shirtless muscular men and scantily clad fit women who were half my age lifting 200-pound barbells and breezing through pushups. Many collapsed in exhaustion at the end of their workouts, with some proudly showing off torn palms and bruised thighs as badges of effort.

This couch potato found the prospect frightening. But even more so was the prospect of turning into a bowl of jello. So my partner, who was my age but well-exercised from 20 years of martial arts, and I resolved to join up.

We visited the gym where the physically imposing but soft-spoken owner, Erik, showed us the mostly empty space and some of the equipment: some Olympic barbells, chin-up racks, wooden boxes, kettlebells, rowing machines and exercise bicycles. There were no treadmills, weight machines or mirrors. It all seemed so benign, even with the very fit men and women doing calisthenics. He encouraged us to come back the next week at the start of the beginner’s cycle so we could learn the ropes.

A typical workout: running with medicine balls.
A typical workout: running with medicine balls. | Source

At the Bottom

We showed up to our first night and joined at least two dozen individuals who formed a mix of newbies and veterans. The warm up was to run three times around a standard-sized industrial building measuring perhaps half a block long. I started at the back of the group and stayed there as they ran ahead of me. My partner easily kept up with them while I fell behind.

I finished the three rounds of warmup long after everyone returned to the gym. Sweat soaked my shirt and my lungs were wheezing like they belonged to a 90-year-old lung caner patient on a respirator. My sides ached and I could barely stagger to my car to rest. I had to quit. My partner had earlier disappeared into the gym to join the other exercise junkies.

The owner’s wife and also a trainer, Darla, came out with another trainer several times during the next hour to check up on me. They encouraged me to come back into the gym just to see how the workout was going. They said it was common to feel this way after so many years of inactivity. But everyone had to start somewhere. They could easily scale down the workouts for any fitness level. I told them that my body could barely move so I needed to stay outside to recover. Frankly, I felt embarrassed to even show my face, having been unable to complete even the warm-up run.

At the end of the workout, my partner finally showed up, exhausted but happy and concerned that I never came back. We bid a final goodbye from Darla and headed home. My partner was eager to return to the workout class in two days. I, on the other hand, vowed never to go back. Crossfit was obviously too hardcore for someone at my minimal fitness level.

Find out what happens next and what exactly Crossfit is in Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.

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    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      We actually have quite a few nurses in Crossfit -- but finding the time is always an issue.

    • NicktheNurse profile image

      NicktheNurse 5 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

      This is very inspirational. Perhaps I should try crossfit, but my fitness level is very low. Working full time plus (60 hours per week), plus going to school full time with a family to support doesn't leave a lot of time for workouts. However, I am going to have to start making time. Going to vote up! Very motivating!

    • healthguru72 profile image

      healthguru72 5 years ago from Ohio

      I loved the first installment of your crossfit hub journey and can't wait to see what happens next!

      I've just started crossfit too, and I'm really loving the energy in the classes - helps to make getting fit a whole lot more fun. I'm voting this hub up.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      After reading this motivational hub, I'm thinking I should at least start going going for walks about the neighborhood to see if I can reduce my paunch.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I'm often inspired by my fellow Crossfitters.

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Donaisabella 5 years ago from Fort Myers

      I find this to be very interesting and I know that in spite of your initial let down, you went on to become great at it. What an inspiring story. I will make sure to read the others as we go on. Thanks for writing this, I needed to read it.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 6 years ago from Western NC

      Wow! This looks very interesting. Regardless of what sort of working out I do, I need to get back into the routine. Voted up and useful and SHARING.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 6 years ago from Thailand

      Hey Alocsin, a fun and brutally honest hub lol. I kind of know that feeling, it sneaks up on you and when you suddenly start to get fit again, your body tries to fight the idea!! However, it feels great when you get there eh and from the fact that this is part 1, I'm guessing you continued.

      Thanks, SOCIALLY SHARED, up and interesting.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks all for your comments. Wait for Part 2 -- maybe it gets better ;)

    • MarleneWheeler profile image

      MarleneWheeler 6 years ago

      Thanks for spurring me on, I've been lackadaisical when it comes to my fitness regime, I'm supposed to do yoga, aerobics and weight training; haven't lifted a finger yet, but after reading your hub I'm going to start my exercise program again.

    • Axaflaxar profile image

      Axaflaxar 6 years ago from Virginia

      Cross fit is excellent because it keeps your body guessing as to what stimuli it will be hiot with next. It has no time to adapt

    • hoteltravel profile image

      hoteltravel 6 years ago from Thailand

      It is comforting to know that there are others fighting this battle and at times losing. Waiting for the second part to know how you eventually lost weight. Voted up and interesting.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I am glad you were able to take control Alocsin. Losing weight is probably one of the hardest things I've ever done as well as the most rewarding. Thanks for sharing!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks Tammy, it's amazing what Photoshop can do, lol. Actually, I started Crossfit two years ago and am just writing about it now. Thanks for the compliment and for the read.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow.. I read this and I really would never have guessed you were nearing 50. You look so young in your photo. These are great tips and I need them. Writing for hubpages has me sitting too long. :) Well done!