CrossFit 353; A Love Story.
By Katie Fanagan.
As I walk through my hall door after another intense 353 class, protein in hand, with some delightful scars all over my arms, I am greeted by my mother. “Oh Kates what are you like?”, she asks, “Don’t go getting all manly on me”! The tone of sheer worry brings a smirk to my face. What am I like? What have I become? From the young school-girl who avoided physical exercise at all costs and echoed a ‘time of the month’ excuse at any mention of breaking a sweat, to the person I pride myself on today, a genuine lover of Crossfit. It really has been quite the journey. Joining on a whim, following from a ‘merry’ conversation one night with Mr. RBF himself, turned out to be a defining moment in my life. I kid you not. This sentimental and somewhat dramatic profession of love is no word of a lie.
Thinking back to 10th October 2013 and my first class is a distant memory at this stage. I should take this opportunity to admit that I am in no-way claiming to be a ‘Crossfit Queen’ at present. A need has possessed me to discuss the unique place that is the familial institution at CrossFit 353. Thus, a reflection of my personal journey will act as my starting point. My inability on day one to perform a basic squat caused the coaches to share worrying glances. Let’s not even begin to discuss my total lack of strength; my arms, legs and overall physical ability was at a level which caused my ‘core’ to appear non-existant. At the time, of course, I was under the impression that I was “nailing it” as the coaches shouted encouraging words in my direction. They never let me believe that, in reality, I was useless! Only recently have we embarked down memory lane and I have become privy to their so-called first ‘Crossfit impressions’ of me.
Trinity College gym was certainly not a dear friend of mine. It was my sworn enemy. Frequenting it sparingly, due to a constant nattering in my ear that I needed some fitness/sports related activity in my life, was the sad reality. I would stroll in with an air of clueless confidence, (I had nothing to be confident about), and spend approximately 10-15 minutes on ‘the stepper’(I had been told my ass would reap the benefits of such a workout). After a few droplets of sweat gathered on my forehead, I would make my way casually over to the weights section and embark on lifting a 3kg weight a dozen times on each arm. This was how I intended to become a ripped version of myself. I had no determination and no one to push me forward. This has been the blessing of CrossFit 353. The essence and the mentality of the team lies in two simple yet weighted words; support and encouragement.
Peter, Gary and Royce, while all being bred from the love of the sword, are incredibly different and unique coaches. Peter stands as the father-figure of this establishment, guiding us through life, one clean at a time, and filling us with the encouragement we need for all of the various pursuits. Gary’s clear and concise explanations of some rather technical manoeuvres gives him the ‘teaching role’ of the three while his constant utterances of “You’re doing a bloody incredible job” keep you smiling and assured. Last, but certainly not least, is Royce. No matter how unwell and dizzy I feel coming close to the end of any WOD (Workout Of the Day), he will manage to instill in me the determination to keep going. Quite possibly out of fear of his ability to hurt me; but whatever it is, it works! As a threesome, they are the perfect combination. CrossFit 353 is unique because of them.
It is the people and the environment that makes 353 a special place. Mixed workouts would not have had the slightest bit of interest for me in the past. The presence of any male, attractive or not, watching me sweat, to the extent one does during this beautiful sport, was to be feared. However, this is the most natural environment where one should exercise. Putting it simply- it works. The atmosphere in ‘the box’ (Crossy lingo- yes I am THAT person) is intense, hard-working, full of energy yet with an air of frivolity to it. At one moment your body will be on the brink of bursting into flames as you scramble to get in as many rounds as possible that time permits. Then the next moment, you are partaking in musical bear crawls to the 5ive megamix. Singing along is also highly recommended. Perhaps I take that aspect a little too far! The classes are constantly varied with each individual searching for their strongest workout while also working strenuously on their weakest. There is never a point at which you have reached perfection. To be constantly striving is the aim of the game and everyone has bought into it. That is the beauty of it. Everyone is there for the same reason- to work bloody hard, while making some new friends along the way.
“You always know someone does CrossFit because they never stop talking about it”; this snide remark is regularly spoken by those non-crossfitters amongst us. No one can argue with it. I can speak honestly and say once you have become active in such a community it is difficultnot to want to share your enthusiasm with others. That’s all it is. Sheer enjoyment. If I wanted to leave now, I simply couldn’t. Albeit its individualistic nature, reaching personal goals and striving for your one rep max, we are a team. Of course, the odd social night out adds to this experience. It increases the support and makes us far more determined to push each other and ourselves. Maybe we are obsessed, but let’s not forget- “Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated”.
Thank you 353- Jackie Perez here I come!
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