Nailed on the CrossFit

Want to feel deep shame for letting yourself devolve into a flabby slab of kitten-like weakness? Take it from me: Try CrossFit!

Staying in shape for me has lately consisted of endless dreary minutes on the treadmill, elliptical and other cardio machines plus the odd push-up and crunch. I don’t do any sports. Needless to say, I’ve never taken fitness too seriously.

Many paleolithic eaters do, on the other hand. And when they work out, they often visit CrossFit gyms. Google CrossFit to learn about the philosophy if you like, and Google CrossFit and paleo together to see how closely the two lifestyle choices go hand in beefy hand.

The idea seems to be that CrossFit exposes the body to a range of physical activity varied enough to mimic the daily grind of a hunter and/or gatherer.

My introduction to CrossFit came courtesy Dhani Oks, owner of CrossFit Academy of Lions (, which happens to be about a four-minute walk from my house.

I’d earlier heard frightening wails and clangs booming out of the former garage space on my walks home. I later discovered this was just Dhani’s musical taste ringing out. Another newbie and I were put through an initial fitness test to a soundtrack of Death From Above 1979, Wolfmother and Eagles of Death Metal. My kinda stuff. Already that’s better than the corporate gym where I have a membership.

The workout itself was less fun. Dhani — who is himself trim as opposed to beefy, and seems to experience the world with a sense of mental and physical presence and alertness I would associate with a wise hunter-gatherer — looked over in barely concealed horror as I hopelessly cocked up the very first activity, jumping rope. Maybe I should get an eight-year-old girl to school me?

You see, my sense of what my limbs are up to — whether you want to call it proprioception or kinesthesia — functions terribly. I am incapable of dancing, for example. People who are well co-ordinated find this difficult to understand, and get frustrated with me. My sucky gross motor co-ordination has become an issue the odd time I’ve participated in group physical activity (and wasn’t much fun when I was a boy either, now that I recall).

Another failing of mine, namely my laziness at avoiding strength training, came out in my pathetic defeat at doing CrossFitty things like ring dips and pull-ups. Meanwhile, some other things went much better: push-ups, jumping onto boxes and back down again, and kettle bell swings. All the while, Dhani looked like he was trying to hide deep concern over the lack of muscle in my back. That he was supportive and gracious about my condition speaks well of him, and also suggests lots of slug-like thirtysomethings have darkened his garage door before me.

The session wrapped up with 15 minutes of hell: a cyclical workout that consisted of a few reps each of relatively easy activities — so far, so good — but coming at the end of a gruelling hour (is that all it was?) that left me with nothing in the tank.

Finally, the end did come, but only after Dhani gave me permission to actually lift myself with my arms a little to complete the sit-ups. My abs just plain went on strike. Never has collapsing into a sweaty sack of flab given me a greater sense of relief.

I haven’t followed up with Dhani to see how my fitness evaluation went. Poor guy shouldn’t have to squirm and be diplomatic about my shit condition. I know already.

My brush with CrossFit came close to shocking me into action, but the expense of enrolling for reals is far too high for me to contemplate at the moment. Personal attention costs money, and I don’t have $299 for a startup package, especially considering I have a contract somewhere else.

With more money sometime in the future, however, I could imagine myself joining Dhani’s tribe. In the end, setting my body on fire with physical effort at 7 in the morning felt more virtuous than it did painful.

Post script: But it was painful. Somewhere along the way, Dhani said something about how quickening one’s recovery time can serve as a sign of improving fitness. If I worked out on Thursday morning and still felt a little stiff on Sunday, would that be bad? Even raising my arms to shampoo my hair was tough going for a while there.

It certainly occurred to me, with it being Easter weekend, that it took me longer to recover from a one-hour workout than it took Jesus to recover from being dead.

3 Responses to “Nailed on the CrossFit”

  1. With the various advancements and technological revolutions made, people have become more and more involved into their work. They have become very busy in their own lives and hence some people are not even able to take out time for them. One should never be careless when it comes to being fit and healthy. Fitness is the most important factor for people today.

  2. People who concern fitness as the most important thing are the ones who perform regular exercises and keep in mind that they eat a proper diet. A fit body is less prone to any diseases or any such discomforts. There are fitness trainers available these days who guide in a proper way regarding what to eat and how to exercise in order to keep the body absolutely fit.

  3. hi mark.
    dhani here. trust me, i’ve seen worse. i think you did quite well and got a lot better as the workout wore on.
    i have a proposition for you…
    our training is challenging and thorough. we are not in the business of taking people’s money and giving them nothing back in return; our clients thrive because our program is based on things that work and don’t just look cool (can you say bosu ball?) we do a program for newbie’s where we train them in the fundamentals and bring their conditioning up to a pretty high level. this is the 30 day fully coached program that you mentioned which runs $299. if you would like to roll with this i have a plan that will suit your budget and help us with one of our projects.
    let’s do it for $150. we will take that entire amount and use it to fund our “academy of lions project.” this program helps at-risk youth from a local shelter build better life habits through our physical training and proper nutrition. we take 4-6 kids every 2 months and run them through this program. we are also sponsoring their nutrition by purchasing organic food and grass-feed meat from local farmers. in the process we give them nutritional education and teach them how to shop. we will donate all your money to actually buying proper paleo food for them. .
    i find it tragic that these kids get fed the lowest quality processed food at their shelter and we expect them to have energy and motivation to recover their lives. visit their residence and you will be immediately greeted by vending machines full of junk food and colas!
    let me know what you think!

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