I’ve got a lot of work to do on my own fitness to make myself the best rider I can be. My cardiovascular endurance is basically zero, and my strength ain’t all that, either. I’ve read and heard a lot about CrossFit and, with the motivation of getting in shape to ride, I finally went to a Foundations (beginner) session on Thursday.
I have serious social anxiety (like, with a diagnosis and panic attacks and all), and that’s part of why it took me so long to start riding. It kicked into full gear when I walked into the CrossFit box and saw about 14 other people who were also there for Foundations. And I started crying when they said we’d jog 400m as… a warm-up. I can’t run. I made it about 80m before I had to start walking. I was the last one back by a long shot — the class had already moved on to the next exercise. It just kind of got worse from there.
We did some work with PVC pipes to learn the motions for cleans. I can’t say I got a very good grasp on it, but it gave me time to calm down as I stood at the back. After that, we moved on to push ups. Since the gym was so small, and there were so many of us, we had to go four people at a time, and that meant people were watching. I can barely do a modified pushup; I can’t get close enough to the ground. My face, at this point, was probably beet red from embarrassment. Then we did a hands up (I think) push up, which was better, because I just laid my chest on the ground, hands up, back down, and picked myself up. The next thing was handstand push ups, which I didn’t even pretend I was going to try. The instructor had those who couldn’t kick up into a handstand try walking their feet up the wall instead, but I was close to tears and declined to try.
After that were burpees, which I’ve sort of done and which will kick your ass. I got those just fine, although sloppily and lacking in the push up area. Next, box jumps: The box in question was a foot high, I believe. It looked easy enough, and we went one at a time. I was last. I didn’t want to be last, but people cut in front of me. I walked to the box and realized this wasn’t going to be as easy as I’d hoped. I tried multiple times, starting with stepping up one foot at a time, and ultimately managed one jump onto the box. There was plenty of arm-flailing and no opening of my hip angle on landing. Oh well. So now I’m crying again, because I see two people whispering to each other.
Next the instructor showed us the various exercises on the pull up bars. I again declined to participate, because I was so, so embarrassed. It was at this point that another lady in the class took me to the restroom for some privacy and helped me with some encouragement. I was still pretty shaken, but I didn’t run out the door the way I wanted to.
Finally, we did an actual Tabata workout, although with only 4 intervals of work for each exercise instead of the prescribed 8. A Tabata means you do 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 (in our case, 4) times for a given set of exercises. We did push ups, sit ups, and burpees. Your Tabata score is apparently the least number of reps you complete for any given exercise in an interval. I liked this part, because nobody had the opportunity to pay too much attention to my total lack of fitness. It hurt, but I did it. I think (I lost track) that I got 4 pushups for my lowest, 8 situps, and a whopping 2 burpees.
I went to my car afterwards, pounded a bottle of water, and cried for a while. It was just so overwhelming to have people watching me fail. I knew I would fail, but I thought there’d be others at my same level. There weren’t. The instructor said that was an abnormally large class and that she still cries at CrossFit sometimes, and it’s OK.
Initially, when I left, I had planned to go back on Saturday. But when Saturday rolled around, I was still really sore and very disinclined to go embarrass myself further. I still want to do CrossFit, but I think I need to be in slightly better shape to start. I know they say they scale the workouts, but with 15 people, one instructor, and next to no space, that really wasn’t happening. I didn’t get much feedback on my form, either. So I didn’t go.
I plan to do some of these moves at home, and am also starting the C25K program. I’m not sure right now whether I’ll try CrossFit again next week or whether I’ll wait until I feel like I can handle it without bursting into tears. I don’t want to be a quitter, but I don’t want to make myself nuts, either.