Monday, July 15, 2013

Our warm--ups are, like, so hard.

If there's one thing that I don't want to hear...

It's that your warm-ups are harder than my workouts.  As a matter of fact, no one wants to hear that.  We also don't care about how you put bacon on everything else in the world, including your bacon.

I knew things had to change when Tuesday's warm-up was:

  • 50 sit-ups
  • 50 double unders
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 50 lunges
  • 50 burpees 
  • 50 sit-ups
It's clear that some people start CrossFit because they want that good, old-fashioned "boot camp" experience.  Nothing piques the interest of Americans more than the phrase "boot camp."  Images of verbal ridicule, physical strain, mental challenges, and the ultimate triumph over all obstacles dance through the heads of those otherwise uninitiated.

I knew things had to change when I was told that this was a "warm-up."

Now, let's be clear

Let's be clear about one thing: this is not a warm-up.  There's not a shot in hell that this would ever be used by the world's elite worker-outers as a warm-up.  12-16 minutes later, depending on how I remember things from the "white board" I was eyes-to-the-sky and out of breath.

"What the fuck was that?" a blubbered aloud to a fellow member.
"That was our warm-up!  Isn't CrossFit gnarly?!?!" he replied, enthusiastic as ever.
"Did you play sports in high school?"
"Ya, I played football in the fall and ran track in the spring" he responded.
"You did?  Really?  And before any of those practices or games or events, did you ever, in your infinite memory, warm-up like that?"
"Well, no.  Not really, we just jogged lightly and stretched out."

That's no moon.  It's a space station.

Star Wars reference???  Ya???  You like?!?!

"That's not a warm-up, dude.  That's a beat down.  At the very least, a workout.  No way.  We just got our asses handed to us for 15 minutes straight.  Look at the pile of sweat on the floor.  It's 92 degrees outside, and close to 100 degrees in here.  We walked in this place 10 minutes early and did some light stretching, said our hellos, chatted, and boom, here we are, at 6:19 p.m., completely floored, and we still have our WOD, or whatever the hell they call it."

The light was flickering, but I could tell I was getting nowhere with this guy, so I shut my mouth.  I knew what he wanted, and what he wanted was devastation, brutality, pain, sweat, and excessive amounts of laundry.

But what about me?  I want to learn skills.  I'm still struggling with hand-stands.  My snatch is hardly a thing of fluidity.  When are we going to do that skill work?  As I glanced at the schedule for the remainder of the week, it was plainly evident: this was a boot camp gym.

I'm a competitor, but I'm not a competitor, ya dig?

Lots of us are athletes.  Lots of us are not.  I don't think our backgrounds dictate where we go in this world, but they certainly do provide us with a lens.  This lens is what we look through on a daily basis. We take it with us wherever we go.  We look through it and use it to make determinations, judgements, and final opinions on the people and things around us.  Oh, you don't?

"Everyone says that movie was good.  I didn't think so."
"Handstands are soooo easy."
"My warm-up is harder than most people's workouts."

Yes.  You're guilty.

The soccer player, cyclist, and rower in me knew right away that this was a problem.  I'm a competitor. Most of us are, and will be for the rest of our lives.  My friends are the type of people that go into the Karaoke bar trying to have a good time, but secretly try to put on the best damn performance ever.  If we're playing darts, you better believe it's the World Championships.  The Tuesday Night Ride in Torrance, California might as well be the Tour de France, and every night at the local box, athletes compete against each other and themselves to lift heavier, run faster, jump higher, and achieve more.

However, I'm not a CrossFit Games competitor.  I'm not a professional cyclist.  I can't sing like John Legend and I still can't believe that there is such a thing as professional darts (sign me up).

This means that, believe it or not, I don't want to endure a severe beat-down every time I show up to the box.


Yes.  Contrary to what some of those people say (the ones drinking the party-punch), that is absolutely not what I want.  I want to get slammed in the face a lot.  I want to get punked by a workout so hard that I rethink my membership.  I want to go so deep into the pain-cave that someone has to help me out.

But I don't want this all the time.  As a matter of fact, I like my rest days.  I also enjoy my easy days.  It's all part of the game, and to complain about them is a purely selfish, short-sighted view.

Similarly, bragging about something as trivial as a warm-up is a surefire way to overlook the importance of a warm-up, of humility, of patience, and of humanity.  What kind of world do we live in where this is an actual, "thing"?  It's really quite fascinating, the social-dynamic that this sport brings to the middle class, but that's a topic for a different day.

Let's make a deal: I'll stop bragging about my epic cycling tan lines if you stop bragging about your warm-ups.  Deal?  Deal.

That's no illusion.  It's a tan line.

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