At 18, during a routine work medical, I was diagnosed with a high blood pressure. The diagnoses was inexplicable, I was told that it was “probably genetic” and that I would be taking pills for the rest of my life or risk heart attack or death by the time I was 30.
I was a scrawny human being who was afraid of people, sunlight and activity. (Needless to say a career in I.T. came naturally to me and exercise didn’t.) I had the typical modern western mentality that I didn’t need to exercise and I could eat whatever I wanted because people wouldn’t make things that were bad for you and everyone knows it all just scaremongering.
After getting married in my early 20’s my neglect of my body began to catch up with me. Over the next few years, I gained a high cholesterol, ventricular palpitations, sleep apnoea and infertility to go with my hypertension. In my late 20’s my sleep apnoea was so bad I was put on a C-PAP machine to help me breathe at night. If you haven’t had the pleasure of a C-PAP, it’s like a big elephant trunk thing forcing air down your throat as you try and sleep.
It wasn’t just the physical effects that were killing me either; I had become depressed and obsessive-compulsive too. (A joy to live with I’m sure.)
A culmination of annoyances built up in me over time, being told by doctor after doctor they don’t know why I was constantly ill or getting worse. I wasn’t ever obese or even heading that way, which lead one “medical professional” to tell me “There are degrees of normal, and you’re just outside of them.” The day came eventually that enough was enough; I needed to do something about my deteriorating health. Something needed to change and it had to be me.
So I started trying to get fit, the exact same way everyone does. I tried the local gyms, I tried lifting weights while looking in the mirrors and being embarrassed, embarrassed for myself and the other people going through the same thing as me. I hated looking at myself in the mirror lifting pathetically small weights. I hated the attitude of the trainers who really didn’t want you to ask too many questions. So I tried running, endless-mind-numbing-miles, on day I woke up and decided I was going to be a runner, so I ran 6 miles every morning for a few weeks until I started to tare the muscle from the bone on my shins and couldn’t walk for days.
One day I found a video on the net of some people doing this awesome looking training outside, they were lifting weights, jumping on a box, rowing and throwing a ball at a wall. It looked like hard work, but it looked like fun, the training was CrossFit, the video was Fight Gone Bad. (A few years later at my Level 1 Cert I was trained by one of the girls in this video, another great thing about CrossFit is that everyone gives back.) A few days later I was showing my wife this video and just as I was an advert came on the TV or a new CrossFit Gym locally. I had to give it a go.
Nothing changes your world view like suffering in a group.
A group of ordinary people from average backgrounds fighting their demons like warriors fighting against dragons and giants, trying to be just one point better than they were yesterday. There’s no time for prejudice, for ego, there is just struggle. Fire breathers, novices, grandmas, kids and everyone in between, all feel like they are dying inside, but they do what needs to be done, to be that one point better.
The community of CrossFit is built on the mutual respect for people who struggle together and the friendships that grow out of that struggle. Associates become friends and then family very quickly with such a community. The rewards come from effort proven in full view of everyone else.
CrossFit taught me that I was weak, physically, mentally and emotionally, that I hadn’t gained the tools to succeed in this kind of arena. I wasn’t prepared for the world, and that’s why I was losing the fight. It also taught me that I had the power to do something about it. One point at a time. One second at a time. One WOD at a time.
So 3 years ago and after just 2 years of CrossFit, and a much improved diet, I was finally taken off of the last of my medications by my doctor. 2 years of hard work had undone 15+ years of poor choices. 2 years and I was off medication I had been taking since I was 18. 2 years had changed my life so completely that I’m still surprised today.
This is why I chose CrossFit and why I stick with CrossFit. This is why I want to build a community of people who aren’t afraid of the fight. To fight for what they want; to fight for a better life; to fight for the people around them.