This is the first blog post from a newer female client at Catalyst. We’ll call her “Mary” (not her real name), and she’s the wife of Jim, who’s story has been published here.
Mary and Jim have been at Catalyst for a few months, but when I asked for their story, she didn’t want to share at first. Now she’s allowing me to tell the story through their eyes.
When I got started at Catalyst, I was scared of two things:
- looking like an idiot. Those people doing CrossFit on TV are way more fit than me.
- lifting something heavy and hurting myself.
I guess I avoided going to a gym like Catalyst mostly because of the first one. The second one is in my control, right? I’ve done all kinds of classes and bootcamps down at the Bondar Pavilion. I even did one with Coach Miranda once (she’s at Catalyst now!)
In the Incubator, I was mostly one on one with a coach. I tried a group and liked it, but my work schedule meant I could mostly come in around 8 am. So I signed up for the ID program after the first month.
We did some barbell stuff in the Incubator. There were deadlifts, cleans and snatches (I still can’t always tell you the difference, but they’re both hard, and the coach demonstrates what she wants me to do anyway. I’ll get it someday.) But when I started ID, the coach started putting weight on the bar.
The weights at Catalyst look big. They’re rubber and you’re supposed to drop them. In fact–funny story–the first time I lifted a weight over my head, the coach said, “Now drop it on the ground.” and I just couldn’t. All those years of hearing “don’t drop your weights!” and just my mom instinct kicked in, and I set the bar down gently. The coach just smiled and asked me to do it again, and then MADE me drop the bar from overhead. She said there’s no real value in lowering the weight slowly on that lift, and the safest thing I could do if the weight got too heavy was just to drop it. So we practiced dropping it a few more times. It felt GOOD. Sometimes (don’t tell the coach) I look forward to Catalyst JUST so I can drop something. This always happens at the end of a hard day when my boss is in one of her moods–go figure.
Then we deadlifted. In a deadlift, you pick up a heavy weight from the floor to your hips. You just stand up with it, and when you do it right, you feel it in your butt instead of your back. It took me awhile to really get it, but on my third time deadlifting, I actually lifted a hundred pounds! I didn’t know what the coach had on the bar. I just went through my little drill to get my butt in the right position, and she said “now stand up”, and I did. Then she asked me, “How much do you think you just lifted?” I had no idea. A hundred pounds seems crazy to me.
What happened next was scarier still: we walked over to a whiteboard and she wrote my name on it, with “100 DL” beside it (that means one-hundred-pound deadlift.) The board said “Bright Spots” at the top. I didn’t know what that meant, but I found out on Friday. I’ll come back to that.
The last scary part was a surprise. Coach brought out a little black box and told me to jump on it. It was about as high as a stair, but I couldn’t do it. I bent my knees and got ready to jump, but when the time came, I just couldn’t make myself do it. So she got out some long pipes and I used them like ski poles to hop onto the little box.
When I finally got on that box, I felt flooded with relief. It was such a stupid little thing – jumping maybe ten inches into the air, really? – but I overcame some fear that day. I went home and had dinner. Jimmy asked me about my workout. I started to tell him about the little box, but couldn’t really explain it. I tried to think of the last time I’d done something that scared me, and couldn’t. I can think of plenty of times when I was nervous or anxious. I’m a big chicken. But I couldn’t think of ONE time when I just went ahead and did the scary thing anyway. He told me he was proud of me, and that did it: waterworks. That’s not something Jimmy says.
Okay, the Bright Spots thing. On our second or third week at Catalyst, our coach put us in the Facebook group. I’m on Facebook a lot, but Jim hates it. So we get put in this group of all the Catalyst members, and on Friday, everyone starts posting their Bright Spots and tagging other people in the group. Like Chris would say, “Bright Spots Friday: my hockey team won” (that one sticks with me.) Coach Miranda tagged me, so I had to put my own bright spots. I wrote down my deadlift PR (that means Personal Record) and my first box jump, then tagged Jim. He gave me a hard time about that later: “You’re one of those CrossFit girls now! You gotta tag me on Facebook and do selfies and get some tall socks.” We’re definitely old enough to laugh at ourselves, doing CrossFit with all these hardcore athletes.
Next time: double-unders. Now THERE’S a story.