Three years ago this week, I saw Kayser post on Facebook that he just did a CrossFit workout and it kicked his butt. Not knowing exactly what CrossFit was and confusing it with some P90X system, I left a comment on his post asking, “Is that some sort of DVD?”
He excitedly responded that he did the class at TwinTown, just four blocks from our building, and that I should do an intro with Teddy as soon as possible. Since Kayser grew up in the town over from me out east, I trusted his advice and have never regretted it for a moment.
I could extoll the virtues of CrossFit for the community that it introduced me to in Minneapolis and beyond. But you probably already know that I have made lifelong friendships and spent the last few years happily celebrating countless birthdays, new jobs, random Fridays and even two weddings.
I could speak volumes on the high-quality coaching, support and encouragement that I have received from Teddy, Peter, Kayser, Joe, Brock, Ashley, Michael, Andy, Martha, Emily, Drew and others. I could tell you how they helped push me to achieve new PRs in every movement and exercise, from being able to actually squat below parallel to cutting my baseline time in half.
But what I most want to discuss is how CrossFit, and thus TwinTown, helped me transform from thinking into doing. And through that process helped me finally connect with my actual self.
Growing up, I wasn’t very athletic but always wished I was. I thought constantly about how great it would be to be picked first for kickball or score the winning run for my team. I got to high school and college, dreaming about how much I would like to be stronger and be in better shape. I wanted to take so many more risks, try so many more things, but was always thinking, never doing.
Post-college, I was always busy. I organized lots of social activities for my friends and was always running around to see a new play or concert or gallery opening or happy hour, etc. It was an active life, but with little physical activity. I filled up my time to mask the fact that I was dissatisfied with my life. I even did improv for a few years, enjoying the ability to escape and be anyone but me.
Cut to that summer in 2011 when I did my first month of CrossFit and felt every bone and muscle in my body suddenly be forced to work and shake and be sore. And from there, I was eventually getting my chin above the bar and climbing to the top of the rope. I was using equipment that I had never dared to touch before and sweating by choice. And I was happy!
I improved and worked harder and allowed myself to be vulnerable in front of strangers and friends. Allowed myself to wince and tremble, grunt out loud and collapse in a pool of sweat and tears. And I wasn’t playing a character or doing it for laughs. I was me. For better or for worse, I was being my true self, warts and all, displaying all my quirks and all my grit.
Outside the gym, I was now signing up for half-marathons and (multiple) Tough Mudders and on vacations going horseback riding and zip lining and training at a Muay-Thai gym. On my weekends, I was going to yoga and boxing and stand-up paddle board classes. I was competing against people and standing up in front of a crowd of 700 plus and telling my story. I was no longer thinking about all these things in my life. I was actually doing them.
Now, three years later, I am physically stronger thanks to CrossFit. But more importantly, I am mentally stronger and more closely connected to who I am, rather than just always thinking about whom I want to be.