The CrossFit movement is sweeping the nation, but commentator Luke Burbank wonders why exactly anyone would pay good money to go through the torture:
If you've driven down the street in any major American city, you've probably seen them: exhausted software designers and soccer moms hobbling down the sidewalk carrying or dragging something way too heavy.
Despite how it looks, this isn't some North Korean re-education program. Mo, it's actually a workout/lifestyle called "CrossFit" -- and these sweaty Stockholm Syndrome Sufferers are paying good money to be a part of it.
How do I know? Because I was briefly one of them, before my escape.
It started off innocently enough. I had a reunion coming up, and I wanted to get in shape to trick everyone into thinking I'd been staying fit all along (you know, like you do). But there wasn't much time, so I typed "get in shape fast" into the Internet, and up popped "CrossFit."
I found a class in my hometown and I joined up. Soon I was learning a whole new language:
CrossFit gyms are known as "Boxes."
A "WOD" is the workout you'll be doing on a given day.
The "Snatch" is an unfortunately-named weight-lifting technique.
And a "Burpee" is an exercise designed by Satan himself, which seems really easy at first, but eventually becomes completely impossible.
Despite its hardcore ethos, or maybe because of it, CrossFit is sweeping the nation. Back in 2005, there were 13 gyms (excuse me, "boxes"). Now there are more than 5,000 throughout the country.
So why is it so popular? Well, for one thing, it works. It turns out getting up at the crack of dawn to whip kettle bells around like some old-timey strong man, will change the shape of your body.
Then there are the friendships you form. Like any group that's been through a traumatic experience together, you bond with your fellow CrossFitters, holding each other and sobbing quietly at the beginning of class, when you see the workout you have in store.
I tried to be strong. I tried to tell myself I was one of them, that pain was just "weakness leaving the body." But what they don't tell you is that it's also "pain leaving the body," which is painful. And tiring.
Eventually, I had to admit, I'm just not CrossFit material. So I simply called the gym (I mean, "box") and told them I was canceling my membership.
The guy on the phone sounded unsurprised, which I'll admit hurt a little . . . not NEARLY as much though, as doing one more of those burpees.
More from Luke Bubank:
- On gamers and the game we should play
- How smart technology can make us dumb
- A dad's take on teen fatherhood
- On Manti Te'o and imaginary girlfriends
- My name is Luke, and I am a binge TV viewer
- The future of "Back to the Future" is almost here!
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