Flying High Now!!! (by Dana McMahan)


Flying high now

I have always heard about this supposed ‘high’ that athletes get after working out. It seemed vaguely made-up, like some propaganda that gluttons for punishment spread about to justify their extreme activities. But after leaving CrossFit feeling like a rock star after my last workout, you can count me as a believer.

I was a bit afraid going in Saturday morning after some friendly teasing from Ben warning me about what lay in wait after I’d called my Tuesday workout easy (by ‘easy’ meaning it was the first time I hadn’t felt like I’d cry, pass out or throw up).

But the hour-plus I was there was a series of new personal records (‘PR’s) that left me feeling more and more like I was in a Rocky training montage … “flying high now.”

After a warm-up we went straight to pull-ups. Since a rash moment when I responded to Ben’s goal for me of an unassisted pull-up in six months with a reply that I’d do it in three, he has pushed me to meet that goal. I dusted my hands in chalk — one of those slightly gleeful “I’m really working out now!” moments, and stepped into the now-familiar helper band. To the background of Eminem and Ben’s “pull! pull! pull!” I worked through four sets of four. The hand slap I got for the work was as thrilling as any “A” this super-achiever ever earned in school. “If you keep progressing like this you’ll have your pull-up in a month and a half,” Ben said. I could barely keep from doing a little victory dance.

I moved on to squats and push-ups feeling like a conqueror. I wanted weights on my squat, not just the bar, and Ben obliged with the teeniest weights I’ve ever seen, but moved up to slightly less teeny ones after I knocked those squats out. I progressed through push-ups on the bar going lower every time until it was time for my first on the floor push-ups. “Chest on the floor!” Ben ordered. I made three, and almost four but my spaghetti-feeling arms collapsed on the way up. Still, I felt awesome about my three.

Quivery but flying high, I moved to a contraption that one wedges one’s calves into. I’m apprehensive about falling out of this thing so Ben fastened me into it with a band and instructed me to stretch out straight and raise my back up. “You’ll be be sore,” he warned. This was ominous. It was incredibly hard, and I did only a few but I could tell it was really working my lower back and glutes.

It wasn’t over yet — the dreaded prowler awaited. This time we started with no weights though, and Ben instructed me to speed-walk it up the street and back. I would have thought this was really difficult if I hadn’t pushed it at a run loaded with my body weight last week. Even unloaded it left me gasping for breath after the first rep. He casually dropped some weights on it for the next run and I pushed through it, trying to focus on breathing. More weights for the third round left my calves on fire. I stretched and tried to control my ragged breathing while I rested before the final round. I’ve learned the coming back is always harder than going out, and I thought I’d never get back to Ben, who standing in the street urging me on. But I made it, feeling like I’d conquered a mountain.

Even stretches were great — I found myself feeling more flexible than I have yet. I left feeling like I was walking on air, and drove home with the windows down singing along with the radio at the top of my lungs. It’s official. I’m addicted to CrossFit.


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