When I joined CFCC, I thought I was in decent shape. I’d run a couple of double-digit races and worked out regularly – running or other cardio a few times a week, and more bicep curls than you could ever imagine. And then I went to my first-ever On-Ramp class (the predecessor to today’s Elements), and woof. We spent most of class working on squats – with a PVC pipe. And then we did One-Armed Jeremy – 21-15-9 of overhead squats on each arm (again, with that PVC pipe) and burpees.
The next day I could barely move. From working out for seven minutes with a PVC pipe.
I was hooked. And incredibly humbled. I found out that I couldn’t support my full bodyweight hanging from the pull up bar. I found out that my endurance was maybe not so hot. And I found out that spending an hour working with a real live barbell and some plates, capped off by going balls-to-the-wall for ten minutes or so at the end of class, did far more for my body and soul than 35 minutes on a stationary bike and countless 10-lb dumbbell curls ever could.
It’s been hard work, but over the course of a couple years at CFCC I’ve come lightyears beyond where I ever thought possible. I gave up the gallons of diet soda I drank every day, traded bagels and cream cheese for eggs and pork shoulder, and along the way managed to stop obsessing over food without even realizing it. I’ve dropped several clothing sizes, got my first pull up and then my bazillionth, made some fantastic friends, discovered some excellent Pandora stations, and am deadlifting well over twice my bodyweight. You get out of this what you put into it. Every workout is just as challenging as that first one was – I’m just not using PVC anymore. The best (and worst) part of this is that no matter how much better I get, there are constantly new and different things to struggle with – and an entire community to back you up, encourage you in your competition with yourself, and celebrate with you once you’ve nailed that next goal.