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  • Ken Avatar


    March 20, 2012 – the first day of Spring and my 2 year Crossfit anniversary. When I walked into the ... [more]
    Ken Avatar


    March 20, 2012 – the first day of Spring and my 2 year Crossfit anniversary. When I walked into the box tonight, it was appropriate that the first person I saw was Donkey – after all, she was the one who introduced me to Crossfit. I’ve known her for years, and over dinner one night she told me about this new thing she was doing called Crossfit. I could see the physical changes she’d experienced right in front of me and was impressed. At the time I was 44 yrs old, and feeling stuck in my fitness routine, not getting worse but not improving either. Clearly, the globo gym wasn’t cutting it. I also had 30 lbs. or so that I wanted to lose and couldn’t. Could Crossfit be what I was looking for? After a lot of thinking about it, I finally took the plunge and drove the hour from my home in NJ to King of Prussia. I still have very clear memories of that first workout: it was a Saturday morning, Nikki Sieller was the coach, and after couple of pushups, some box jumps and a quick 200M run to warm up I felt spent. “Really, that’s just the warm-up?” I asked. “Yup!” I was told. Oh my, I thought, I’m in trouble. The WOD was a 21-15-9 of burpee pullups and 200M Farmers’ Carrys. Somehow I soldiered through the first 2 rounds (scaling massively) but just didn’t have it in me to even attempt the round of 9. I’d never worked out so hard in my life. I was completely wioed out. When I finally got home, being able to lie down on my bed was sheer ecstasy. I couldn’t believe just how good it felt just to simply lie down. Strangely, as exhausted as I was, I also felt somewhat exhilarated. A bit like surviving a near-death experience perhaps? I was sore for days afterwards, but I also felt a bit taller and stood a little straighter. Wow, I survived that, I thought, if I can do that what else can I do? So I signed up for Foundations, and then got a punch card and started coming as often as I could. At first it was infrequently, I was more out of shape than I realized and it often took me days to recover from a workout. But each class brought a little more improvement, and it began to take less and less time to recover. Another huge change that took place early on was switching my eating habits and adopting a mostly Paleo Diet. I started to see the weight drop off, I felt better, had more energy and the mid-afternoon fade I’d known for years disappeared. Plus, carrying around less weight made workouts easier. I found I was doing more and harder work in the box than I would ever think of doing at my local globo gym. There’s something about how everyone pulls for you and cheers you on that brings out the best in you. I remember struggling through my first Filthy Fifty. Being older and slower, the rest of the class had finished ahead of me but, tired as I was, I didn’t want to give up and kept going by myself there in the corner of the box. A couple of people realized I hadn’t finished yet and came over to cheer me on. If they hadn’t I don’t know if I would have made it. With their support I was able to push through to the end, they even kept the time for me after the timer on the wall was reset for the next class. That sort of camaraderie and support isn’t an isolated thing at KoP. It has helped me become a better athlete and it keeps me coming back for more. I hope I’ve been able to give as much as I’ve received. People ask me why I drive an hour to get to KoP. “You live in Jersey? Aren’t there other boxes closer to home?” they ask. There are 2 simple reasons: the coaches and the community. The quality of the coaches at KoP is unmatched; every one of them is excellent. One of my primary concerns in joining was whether I’d be safe and learn to do the movements correctly to avoid injury. I know they’ve got my back and will ensure I’m doing it right, and I appreciate every correction I get. After 2 years, I’ve never gotten hurt – that’s a result of good coaching and me listening to that good coaching. Just as important is the quality of the community at KoP: the open, friendly, supportive atmosphere made me feel right at home from the start, even though I wasn’t a “regular” and only showed up once in a while. That spirit in the gym flows down from the top and Aimee and Jason deserve credit for that. I’ve visited other boxes and often it’s not mentioned that I’m a visitor, and the regulars there, who clearly don’t know me, don’t bother to even say hello or welcome. That “silly” practice we have of calling out people who don’t know the names of the other people in class with them? It’s not silly. It’s important and we should all do it. After all, how can you cheer for someone or urge them on if you don’t know their name? So, some things have changed in the 2 years since I first walked through the door: I’m 30 lbs. lighter, but have much more muscle mass and much less body fat; my resting pulse and blood pressure are both lower; my energy level is up; the 200M run that winded me then seems like such a short distance now; weights that challenged me (or were impossible) now feel light; I’ve met a fantastic group of people and at 46 I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life. I’ll give myself some credit for working hard, but thank you Crossfit KoP for your support in making it possible. And thanks Donkey for getting me started.[less]
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