A new way to die


That’s it.  Oh you want more? Fine.

Meet Greg Glassman. Gymnast, founder of Crossfit and self proclaimed ‘rabid libertarian’.  Oh good. Can’t wait. And he’s from California.  The ‘new wife’ is from California.  I suffer from Anticaliforniaism.  That’s a word.  It’s my word.


“We’re rough edged and authentic.  And yeah, you might puke.”

“Cult of the caveman, what you gonna do?”



Far away.

Ok.  I went.  Today I can still type.  That’s about the only thing I can still do. It will be even worse tomorrow.  Did I puke? No. Did I feel sick? Yes.

Bored by everybody going ON and ON about Olympic lifting and WODs and boxes and burpees (rude) and bullied into giving it a try, I found a new Crossfit set up gym thingy (I am sure there’s a word for it, there’s a whole new language to learn) so thought, as they are setting up, they have to be nice to me.  I was scared.  And concerned.  My L1S5 disc had a rendevous with a scalpel a few years ago, my knees have seen better days and my left shoulder has been niggling due to bad posture. Surely this was not for me.  They really did not want a semi-fit, decrepit 44 year old dear on their team.  Apparently they did.

I had an in depth conversation with Jack.  Jack is ex military and 20 years my junior.  I don’t like the fact that I am now getting nearly all of my wisdom from people younger than me (I have some token older girlfriends to make me feel better). We won’t mention that he is also better looking than Greg, as he might read this.  Concentrate!  I put on my ‘I am old enough to be your mother’ face and quizzed him about the probability of me ending up in hospital. He seemed to think that was not going to happen.  He is barely out of nappies, what does he know? Quite a lot, it transpires. Bugger, might really have to do this.

A good trainer will spend a lot of time talking about and practicing posture and technique.  You start with nothing and work your way up.  So my fears of making this face, would not come true (yet).


I did not lift anything.  I rowed for 300m (“You have done this before” nearly made me pee my Tena Lady. Well yes, actually I have. Twice. I would have flicked my hair at this point but I have no hair to flick and I was rowing.  Maybe I should be in Henley instead of Wellingborough?) Bless his encouraging cotton socks.

Then I lunged (touching the floor with my poorly knees) my way across the floor and back, and forth and back and – ok you get the picture.  This I can do, I have lunged before.  Squats next. Air squats and other squats.  Deep horrible ones, that made my pelvis go “WTF do you think you’re doing?”.  When he corrected my posture I fell over.  Thank you so much.

I was beginning to not enjoy myself.  This was uncomfortable and it hurt.  It got worse:


As I child I had a hate/hate relationship with these:


This was not good.  Here squatting and throwing was combined into Wallthrows, squat down, come up and use your leg momentum power (hahahaha) to throw the thing towards a blue line located 25 meters above your head, catch, repeat, repeat, repeat … But hey, wait a minute.  I could sort of do this.  I liked this. OMG I liked this! The liking stopped after what felt like 50 practice throws.

My glory was shortlived.  Burpees.  Yes I made that joke. The ‘my mother said that’s rude’ joke.  Jack, I am sorry, I am sure you have never heard that before.  I talk too much when I am nervous.

Named after Royal H Burpee, they were not designed to be done in quick succession, bad for knees and back if you lack core strength.  They are horrible.  I could not do them. My back was tight and I said so.  Jack watched me carefully. I just took it really slowly and even though mine must have been the most inefficient way of doing them, it was the only way I could without compromising my back. My arse was sticking up like a confused duck in water whilst I walked my hands towards my feet, then stood up, finishing not with a flourish but a pathetic little hop and clap. And that was fine.  Because this stuff is about what you can do.  Next time do it a bit better.  I might never be a champion burpee person or I might decide that it just doesn’t work with my back, and that’s fine too, I will just find an alternative.

Finally we arrived at the WOD.  Workout of the Day.  Guess what, 10 burpees and 20 wallballs.  For 8 minutes,  As many rounds as you can do. I think this is where you puke. This is where I felt quite sick.  This is also where I came 3rd out of 6 people.  It’s not a competition, but it so is. I was chuffed to bits not have totally embarrassed myself.  I was pleased that everything gets taught from scratch.  I am sure that there will be times when you can get carried away, but it’s up to you to put your health before beating the next guy.  It’s OK to say “I can’t” if you really can’t.  It’s not OK to say “I don’t want to”. And I think that’s where this can be a really good way to exercise – with the right coaching approach and your own mindset of taking it slowly, you can really achieve noticeable and measurable improvements in a camaraderie environment.

Does my back hurt today? A little. I will watch it.  Do my muscles hurt?  Yes, all of them, especially my Trapezius.  It, like my tricep, is still a little shy.

Will I be back? Hell yeah!



Substantial sacrifice and commitment, blood, sweat, tears and other bodily fluids” Glassman

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