- What brought you to CrossFit in the first place?
Dave: In a word, boredom. Before I discovered Root 18, I had bounced through a number of self-directed and self-guided fitness plans. On New Year’s Eve 2010, I was a 275 lbs. pack-a-day smoker. On January 1, 2011, I was a 275 lbs. former smoker committed to reversing 20 years of detrimental behaviors. That morning I was at the Medina Rec desperately trying to survive 10 minutes on the elliptical and walking 1 mile around the track. I spent the next 6 months as a cardio-freak and dropped 71 pounds, as well as any semblance of strength or muscle mass I may have possessed. I then spent two years floating between running 3-4 miles every day or swimming 1.5 miles every day. I would do each, religiously, for about 6 months at a time. That managed to expertly keep weight off and equally expertly keep strength at an arms distance. As an added bonus, they also led to a series of enjoyable overuse injuries. I eventually realized two things. One, I was so bored with running and swimming that I was ready to give up entirely. Two, after three years of strictly cardio, I could barely lift my then two-year old daughter with one arm. So, I decided to switch my focus to lifting and getting stronger. After six months of dutifully and ineffectually sitting on or near the free weights at the Rec Center, I had successfully put on 40 lbs. and I am sure at least two of those were muscle. Tired of the lack of results and bored of spinning my wheels with no real direction, I stopped doing anything regularly for the first time in years. A few months later, Erin and I drove by Root 18. We were loosely aware that Crossfit existed, but were not really sure what it was. I half-jokingly swore I was going to sign up. That summer (was it 2013?), I did.
Erin: I suspect my situation is not unique. I decided to try Crossfit after weeks (okay, months) (fine, years) of looking in the mirror and seeing a tired, squishy, and unhappy version of myself. One day, I was mindlessly scrolling through an online article about the benefits of exercise in preventing multiple forms of dementia, when it hit me…the woman in the mirror was no longer young. Fortunately I also realized that 39 was not too late to rescue my health. The funny thing is, I started Crossfit to improve my future well-being; I did not expect how much it would improve my life in the present.
- What was your first impression? How has that changed?
Dave: My first impression of Crossfit was, “Man, that was horrible,” followed almost instantly by, “That was fun.” I don’t think that anything has changed about that, really. Every day is tough, but every day is enjoyable. Crossfit is all that it bills itself to be, and most importantly for me, it is never boring and it is results oriented.
Erin: What I thought I knew about Crossfit was based mostly on the opinions of other people who knew nothing about Crossfit. If Dave hadn’t insisted–for about 7 months–that I would love it if I tried it, I would probably still believe it to be fitness for fanatics. After the Foundations classes, I knew that I could stumble through. But, that didn’t stop me from feeling like a phony for a little while. The first month I felt so nervous coming to Root 18 that I nearly threw up in the parking lot. Despite some serious self-doubt, I convinced myself to show up and to try. Even though I was surrounded by people who amazed me (and still impress me) with their strength and abilities, I was encouraged by these same people to keep going. To be honest, that support (which I did not expect) is what kept me coming back. That, and the fact that I kept improving.
- What was your first “goal”? Did you hit it?
Dave: I am not sure when I set my first goal, but I remember very clearly laughing internally the first time Carlin showed me a handstand pushup. I nodded, pretended to listen, and just knew that I would never be able to do that. It took a while to prove myself wrong and it was maybe a year and a half before I was able to Rx one, but I did. I have hit several goals since, and there are always more to set. And there was the 100 days of burpees. I still don’t like burpees, but I did all 100 days.
Erin: It was a good while before I started considering specific goals…I was taking it one step at a time. When my 1 year anniversary approached I decided to attempt what I thought was an achievable goal—to back squat my bodyweight. So I showed up during open gym, told Greg what I wanted to accomplish, and asked for guidance. And this is what I love about Root 18—I know that any and every time I need help, the coaches are there for me. I know they have my progress and my well-being in mind. So yeah, I hit that goal. (After a lot of squats, because Greg is nothing if not thorough.)
- What are you working on now?
Dave: Right now, I’m just working on general shoulder strength.
Erin: That’s a trick question, right? I am working on everything, because there is always room for improvement.
- What’s your favorite Root 18 memory?
Dave: I have an awful lot of good memories surrounding Root 18, but one that comes to mind happened maybe eight or ten weeks after I started. The WOD was very simple. I think it was five rounds of a 200 meter run and 10 burpees. As usual, I was slower than all (some things don’t change), and was at least one full round behind everyone. When I came in for my fourth set of burpees, followed by my fifth run and fifth burpees, people who had already finished dropped into a plank until I finished, and one did an entire extra round just to keep me moving. It was very clear at that point that this gym is filled with people that are not only invested in their success, but also in the success of those around them.
Erin: Tough question. There are so many moments when the camaraderie here is mind-blowing. So many times when I do something, something that I never believed myself capable of, that make me glad I walked in that first day. Thanks Sherri, for running that mile with me. Thanks Hope, for that first partner WOD. Thanks Emily and Denise, for getting on that bar with me when you could have been resting on your laurels. I could go on and on and on some more, so I will summarize. Thank you coaches and thank you community. And thank you, husband, for convincing me to start.