Being strong outside the gym (by Dana McMahan)

Before I went to Thailand I wrote about the results of my work at CrossFit. Then I went out into the world and learned what being strong can do for a traveler.

While it’s definitely great that I can do squats and chin-ups and push-ups and run with sandbags and do burpees, what all that really means is that I can do a lot more outside the gym too.

I can climb 300+ stairs in midday heat near the equator and not need to rest. I can walk for hours through Chinatown in Bangkok on a photo tour and only stop when the guide, a local, has to rest. I can easily haul my suitcase on and off trains.

Muay Thai (kickboxing) lesson at Sor Vorapin Gym #1 in Bangkok-4

I can survive an hour and a half in a ring with a Thai kickboxer showing me how to jab, kick, and otherwise batter myself against him using knees, feet and elbows. In an open-air ring in Bangkok where it was at least 90 degrees. Could I have even dreamed of a workout like that before I started CrossFit? No way. I couldn’t even have made it through the jump rope warm up. I kicked until I raised a goose-egg on my shin and jabbed until I sprained my wrist (not that I advocate this, mind you). I left blooming an array of bruises, completely drenched in sweat, and hobbling, but I made it through everything my coach for the day threw at me, and never quit. And only because of the hours and hours of sweat and pushing myself at Derby City CrossFit.

Patara Elephant Farm-17 I can stand in a river and throw basket after basket of water up onto an enormous elephant (maybe a new WOD idea?). I can climb up onto an elephant — I was nervous about this until my husband reminded me I’m strong enough to haul myself up there, and I did. I can ride through muddy jungles up and down hills, gripping only with my thighs.

In general I can have the trip of a lifetime because I am fit and strong. I never want to travel any other way!

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