Those that I am friends with are aware of some recent endeavors into the other modalities of “fitness” offered in this CRAZY world of gettin’ FITTEREST.
I have one day a week set aside as active recovery, and recently decided that on those days I would choose to do something outside of my comfort zone.
Spin class…check! Holy camaoley those GO LANCE fuckers can have it. Never much cared for riding a bike, really don’t care for riding it while listening to house music in a dark room with pulsating lights. That being said, the folks taking the class were cordial, and the instructor took the time to make me comfortable with what was about to go down. They did not earn a convert, but did earn the respect due for a group that rides the piss out of a bike going nowhere while stuck inside a dance club, traveling up and down hills that don’t exist. There were more shenanigans involved at this mecca of misery, but that frankly could be its own post all together.
Next up…….ZUMBA!!! No way I could allow myself to have an opinion on an activity without giving it a shot. 12PM…Wednesday…Golds Gym…Bee Cave, TX. The Zumbanites were not the most welcoming bunch, and the Zumbaness seemed shocked as I held the door for her, that I was not only aware that there was about to be a ZUMBA class, but that I was in fact there to Zumba my little heart out. Fucked from jump street. I have described my experience as feeling as if I were a monkey attempting to fuck a football, greased with Crisco, while listening to Justin Bieber, in a room full of other monkeys who by some fucking miracle could fuck their greased football no problem, and finally, led by THE monkey who not only could fuck her greased football, but could do it “NO HANDS.” Took EVERYTHING I had to not walk out. It was the longest hour of my life. As it turns out the Zumbanites and Zumbaness are good people, they congratulated me on sticking it out, told stories of how difficult it was for them at first, and encouraged me to continue to give it a shot. Sound familiar? Guess what….. ZUMBA is difficult…..and…..FUCK ZUMBA…..that being said, I may or may not have a ZUMBA DVD enroute to my house at this time where I may or may not practice ZUMBA until such a day comes where I can return and redeem myself!!! (think ROCKY III)
I collect myself, change, and head for the door. It had been well over two years since I had been inside a “GYM”, and Gold’s was exactly how I remembered it……with one exception…….as I am nearing the door, I notice an area tucked back in the far right corner…..looks like a ROGUE rig…..I move in to inspect….yep, ROGUE rig, and a complete affiliate package for I would say 15 along with it. There is a partition wall around it, and entry is restricted to times that an employee of GOLD’s is present. IN BOLD WORDS ON THE WALL ABOVE IS THE WORDS “GOLD’S FIT” I’m fucking dying over here. I meet Frank. Frank has on some nanos, a pair of Reebok wod shorts, and a pretty dope tat sleeve on his right arm. What Frank does not possess is a level one trainer cert., CrossFit exposure, or a fucking clue as far as I can tell. I ask about all the cool toys they have. Bars and bumpers…Frank says they’re too risky for clients. Rings on the rig…any activity other than ring rows is put on hold for now, “they had an accident during an attempted muscle up.” Boxes, kettlebells, wall balls, rowers, pvc pipe, parallettes, ab mats, dumbells, chalk bucket, clock, and even THE BOARD all in the heezy. Frank tells me its legit and that I should come in and check it out. I thank him for the tour, his time, and I bounce. I am conflicted about what I really feel in respect to GOLD”S FIT and even Frank. During the exchange that ensued after my “I did a Zumba class” post that included a tidbit about what I saw, it was suggested by a friend that I check out a class……….
Monday 12PM, this is going down. Schedule says its Frank’s class, so I’m in. I arrive early and con my way in once again. I sign a waiver at the front desk this time and then head to the Gold’s Fit compound. I’m early and its sealed off. I lean against the partition and am looking at the equipment. The bars and bumpers have disappeared…..not surprised…..too risky, is tooo tempting I suppose. Finally some folks start to congregate, and then one lets themselves inside the compound, and then another, and then three more, these motherfuckers are crazy for some Gold’s Fit. I sit on one of the ROGUE boxes being used as a barricade and wait for my escort to arrive. A blond-haired fella in a blue Gold’s shirt walks up says hello and asks if I am there for the class. I tell him that I am and he asks that I sign a waiver. I tell him no worries and that I had filled one out at the reception desk. He explains that the Gold’s Fit class requires its own waiver to be signed prior to taking a class. I oblige, he thanks me and then walks off. The class has no instructor, but is beginning to go through the warm up of PVC pipe movements posted on the board. I grab a PVC and start through the movements listed. I make eye contact with the others and say hello to each person as I do. Luke warm at best would be the description given to my reception, but I convince myself that it is probably due to the anxiety over the three separate WODS listed on the board and move on. Our instructor arrives, her name is Kara. She says hello, asks me if it is my first time, and then welcomes me to my first Gold’s Fit class. This is where shit starts to get real, and by real I mean REAL fucked up.
I have had my Level One Cert. for 13 months and 13 days (my mind just exploded over the 13/13 split….) and THE only thing I love more in this world than Coaching, is my Family. PERIOD. That being said, there are RULES! Rule ONE-it is a biggie-DON’T DIE!!!!! This rule supercedes EVERY other rule. PERIOD. Rule TWO- a very close second, but you can’t beat don’t die- SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT!!!! Safety will be first and foremost in everything we do. It takes precedence over ego, “usually”, “normally”, “but I wanted to..”, or any other rationalization used to ignore it, with ONLY ONE EXCEPTION, yep you guessed it rocket….DON’T DIE! Because if we fail at rule one none of this shit matters, so in the face of DEATH and only FUCKING DEATH do we disregard RULE TWO!!! PERIOD. There are more rules and then a sub list called “Certainties of Life,” but I promised this to be a quick SITREP. Final thought. If you are still reading and have found THE rules to be a bit extreme or maybe you rolled your eyes a bit as you read them, thinking…Chuck needs to relax, or maybe…this guy is being a bit dramatic….think about what I have presented in the above 12 lines, as rules to apply in EVERY aspect of our lives, and then if you still have that funky attitude…..STOP reading at the line break, and start doing the following, because frankly you are wasting my fucking oxygen and have claimed your spot in the 80% (another time). Stop wearing your seatbelt, PLEASE. Start dating randomly on Craigslist, as often as possible, PLEASE. Start playing with plastic bags, but only as headwear. PLEASE. And finally, GO TAKE A FUCKING GOLD’S FIT CLASS, you’ll fit right in.
Kara, Kara, Kara……we begin the group warm up. 10 airsquats, imagine how our airsquats were when we first started, or if yours were perfect, how EVERYBODY elses are when they first start. Now imagine that, not only going uncorrected, but by all accounts being “correct.” We are just getting warmed up. Punter kicks, opposite hand opposite foot..check…maintain straight leg…who gives a shit, its all about how high your foot gets. Push ups….do whatcha got to do, half down half up…we can call that the active hold up….worm, yes, just be fast, all the way up, all the way down, maintaining a straight back…..why? Let us move on to the WODS…..WOD one and two will run together, for time, I guess…..there was no explanation/benefit/strategy/goal as to why we were doing this WOD/S.
1) 4 ROUNDS OF:
15- Kettlebell Deadlift ( heavy as you can go)
7- Box Jumps (as high as you can get)
2) 4 ROUNDS OF:
15- Kettlebell Swings “Russian” (instruction given, “get the bell as high as you can, overhead if possible.” make sure its heavy)
20- Sit ups ( bottoms of feet together, knees out flat against the floor, all the way back, come up and touch your feet
I ask for clarification on the “Russian” swing and am told that the bell at eye level is good enough, but go higher if at all possible, shooting for the bell overhead, I give a hearty DA!! Russian, American, who gives a shit lets roll motherfuckers (in my best sarcastic typing voice). That’s it for instruction/standards/didn’t ask if there are any questions, lets get started. I am bothered that Kara did not go into any details or provide any cues/reminders for the class on any of the movements. Straight up troubled that she advised me to go heavy, take the bell overhead, and not once went through the movements to make sure that I wasn’t about to kill myself or anyone else (we got a first timer over here). THANK THE LORD THAT I GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE FUCKING RULES!!!!! 3-2-1 GOOOO!!!! The class goes to work, there is nothing funny about what goes down, forget about no repping someone, deadlifts are being done breaking every rule you can imagine , (SEE RULE TWO), by each of the participants. Rounded back, and lifting with your back was in full effect, with not a word from Kara….not one fucking word!! I am moving slowly, shocked at whats going down. As I transition to box jumps, there are box jumps already taking place. I open all the way up on the top of my ROGUE box and take a look around. Fast is what matters here. Feet hitting the lip and pushing away…open all the way up on top with feet flat on the box showing control….whatever motherfucker!!! Truly amazed that boxes and participants didn’t go flying (God bless stall mats). In Kara’s defense, she didn’t give any standards…….well maybe Kara is in over her head. The class is transitioning into the second WOD of this two’fer and IT IS A SWING FEST!! If I ever go to another GOLD’S FIT class I’m wearing a fucking helmet, seriously. Any assumptions being made at this point are probably spot on, and I dare say, perhaps not even scary enough! I will confirm Kara’s silence on this matter, and ask you to think of EVERY single wrong way to swing or even think about swinging a kettlebell……picture painted, and the picture is titled “SWINGIN’ BELLS, A SPOT ON INSTRUCTIONAL GUIDE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THOSE WHO TRUST/PAY THEM TO GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THEM!!!!!”
We all finish the second WOD and are asked to gather around to go over WOD THREE. Holy fucking shit Batman!!!! She might be late to the party, but it looks like Kara has got her head in the game and will be a proper steward for our third installment. Could it be that I will have to decide if I have it in my heart to forgive what has transpired up to this point? Nope, just nope……She points to the board and recites:
4 ROUNDS FOR TIME OF:
400 meter run buy in:
15- front rack kettlebell squats (one each hand)
15- burpee knee to elbow (no pull up bar required)
Finish with 400 meter run buy out
There is a lengthy argument as to where we run to for a 400. Kara certainly doesn’t fucking know, and lets face it, at this point does it REALLY matter. The class decides that we will run to the mailbox and back. Perfect. Kara once again asks for our attention to go over the rest of the WOD. Front rack Kettlebell squats she explains will be done with two kettlebells, one in each hand. She bends over grabs one, stands up, puts it in the rack position, and then squats to retrieve the second…….Houston…we have a problem….she can’t get the second kettlebell into position. Wasn’t for a lack of trying though……bless her heart. I almost felt bad for Kara, and then she simply dismissed that second kettlebell with a quick, “well YOU will have two”, and then simulated holding the second kettlebell along side the first while performing a squat? Fuck Kara. She puts down the real and imaginary kettlebells, and then explains that the next movement will be burpee knee to elbow. I fully expect that we will be doing these bad boys at the rig and turn to face it, and Kara looks at me like I’M dumb, the class registers her “pity” towards me and follows suit. Plenty of people in this world would agree that I am on my best day “dumb”, but in this case if I am in fact dumb, these fuckers are a special kinda dumb, the kind reserved for politics and daytime television. She sighs, refocuses, and explains that in the knee to elbow burpee that it is important to make sure that when squatting down before you kick your legs out that your knees and elbows make contact…..Imagine a frog jumping up and down on its back legs, with its front ones dangling in front of it. Once contact is made kick your legs out to the plank position, and then ….stand up and repeat. At this point I am considering screaming at the top of my lungs and running head first into the wall, praying that I am knocked unconscious. Part of me is convinced that this is all an elaborate joke and Ashton Kutcher is going to come out of nowhere and tell me I just got punk’d. I decide that I am going to hold out for Ashton (could use someone to smack around) 3-2-1 GOOOO…we are running, and honestly it was nice to do something that wasn’t scaring the shit out of me. We get back in and its front rack kettlebell squat time baby!!! Be afraid, be very afraid. Above I had stated that if I were to attend another class that I would make sure to wear a fucking helmet, and now I have added steel toe boots! It would be hilarious to watch on video (where you at Ashton), but I’m in the mix and kettlebells are going fucking everywhere. Kara’s inability to hold two kettlebells is shared by at least half the class, and like Kara, it wasn’t for a lack of trying that they couldn’t “get” it, and just like Kara most of them elected for the second invisible kettlebell to work with. Miracles happen every single fucking day, on this day it is demonstrated in the fact that not one Gold’s Fit fucker went to the hospital. We move on to the burpee knee to elbow. This shit IS funny, the only fucking time during the entire class that anybody seems to give a shit about the “standards” is when doing these knee to elbow burpees (where you at Ashton). Kermit the motherfucking frog couldn’t have done them with more precision, it was impressive……and then, back to the kettlebells. Like I said, nobody was hurt, miracles baby, we have all completed our 400 meter buyout run and are back in the Gold’s Fit compound. I am grateful to be alive and am letting all of it soak in. The GFFuckers are talking and patting each other on the back. I grab a foam roller and plop down, a few GFF’ers cruise by, I smile and nod, nothing, must be invisible. Fuck it…..Kara approaches, in my mind I am praying that she doesn’t ask me about my thoughts on the class. I smile, she fakes one, gives me a pathetic “good job”, asks if I had signed the waiver, gets a yes, along with, a lot of good that would do now if I hadn’t and HAD hurt myself. She looks confused and returns to her group(ies). I finish rolling out, decide that if Ashton was gonna show it would have happened already, and go to put up my foam roller. I thank the class and Kara for my first Gold’s Fit experience, and then consider either robbing a bank or a quick trip into the ladies locker room, because I am convinced that I am invisible at this point. I realize that for a number of reasons either one of those would be a BAD idea and decide to get my things and GOOOOOOOOOO! I’m not even mad at you Gold’s, I enjoy the irony TOO much to pretend to be upset. I am very afraid for the people participating in your CrossFit rip-off though.
Flash forward three months. This experience confirmed some points worth noting. CrossFit has taken an onslaught of attacks in the last six months, even more than normal, and my friends that can be quite a bit at times. Here is what my experience has confirmed. CrossFit works, and there are a lot of folks in the mega gym traditional setting who want to find a way to “get in” on it. I have read reviews where people have stated that they are doing CrossFit during these classes. These folks trying to ride the coat tails are also the same folks who have worked to discredit CrossFit by trivializing its potential and results, and even worse by demonizing CrossFit as a reckless, mindless fad, that can only guarantee to hurt you, and or possibly kill you. FUCKHEADS, CrossFit is the safest, most responsible “workout” I have ever participated in. Fundamentally at its core it values standards in movements, preaches virtuosity in the movements, presents scaling and modifications for every fucking possible scenario to ensure those participating are doing so in the safest most responsible way possible while working to maintain the goal and intensity prescribed for the WOD. I realize that accidents happen, that’s life bitches, but you’d be a liar or “driving out of your lane” to speak as an authority in efforts to discredit CrossFit.
Now the best knowledge bombs I received early on in this matter happened during my Level One Cert. First, Kurtis Bowler, owner of Ranier CrossFit and Seminar Staff Leader, at the closing of our certification explains, (not quoting) don’t be THAT guy, be a proper advocate for and representation of CrossFit and its community. It was an appeal to remain mindful in the fact that there are other ways to pursue a better you than just CrossFit……I know, it’s tough to swallow at times, but it is true. It is understanding that when we are out in the world not to be a dick about what we do, it really is okay that the person you are speaking with believes their Body Pump class is like CrossFit, instead of being a dick, smile, admit that there ARE similar elements, and then encourage them to come and give it a shot. If you REALLY LOVE your beloved CrossFit, put your money where your mouth is and offer to attend a Body Pump class as well. If you are unwilling to do this and still feel it necessary to argue…….you’re a dick……stop it. Second, Jevon Ikner of CrossFit Westlake, in a chat about CrossFit and my concerns about the influx of people out to capitalize on its growing popularity, I shared that in no way did I feel that it would be responsible for me to begin coaching quite yet or entertain the idea of opening an affiliate, I explain that I “care too much” about CrossFit to “be one of those people.” He laughed, tells me that the cream WILL rise to the top, and that in moving forward going down the road remember “to just stay in your lane.” Fucker!!! The truth and simplicity in that statement resonated then, and EVERY single day of my life since then it has been applied and has grown to be the very compass of how I approach not only CrossFit, but my entire life. So, the point and the realization is this, I welcome the challenge of going outside my comfort zone and experiencing other activities, workouts, classes, or any other (insert idea here). I do so looking to test how my work in CrossFit translates to these experiences. I do so unashamed of drinking “the CrossFit cool-aid”, and realizing that the very best thing I can do for my beloved addiction while being out and about is to BE everything I LOVE about CrossFit. I will work to perform as prescribed no matter what, I will not quit (no matter how uncomfortable Zumba gets), and I will embrace and support those around me participating as my very own family. What I will not do, is speak as an authority against anything that I have not experienced for myself, I will not dismiss or trivialize anothers efforts simply because they are not in line with my own. If I feel the conviction to discredit anything it will be after I have experienced it for myself, otherwise I keep my mouth shut. In a world where there are far more people choosing to do nothing than those who are doing something, anything, I argue that WE are ALL on the same team! GO FOR IT!!! So long as it is responsible, positive, and done with integrity and honor, have at it. Shake weights, Zumba, Body Flow, Naked hot yoga, CrossFit, Body Building, Boot Camps, Spin,…………….OWN IT, DO WORK, you’re way ahead of the curve already! I celebrate you. I only ask this….STAY IN YOUR LANE!! If you come into mine, looking to attack my passion and work in an effort to discredit the incredible people I call my brothers and sisters…I WILL crash your motherfucking car with the sort of absolute intensity best described or imagined as you being trapped in a china shop, slathered in honey, with a bear that has been smoking honey flavored crack cocaine for a week straight, and he just ran out of rocks…….fucked.