What CrossFit offers me that gyms do not

In my life I've been active in soccer, baseball, basketball, Taekwondo, Isshin-Ryu, I've trained with a very-very-very fit individual that's in superb shape, I've trained alone, I've trained with airborne. I've trained with machines, traditional free weights, kettlebells, body-weight, home-made weighs, Indian clubs, medicine balls, buckets full of rocks, sandbags etc. I've never found anything I enjoyed, not even for a second. I've never found anything I even felt satisfied or rewarded doing. Then I started CrossFit.


Lets face it, I'm fat, I'm lazy, I lack motivation and always have. In the past I've always needed good training partners that would come to the house and MAKE me go train to even get to a gym consistently.

CrossFit gives me a community, people that I challenge myself against and get motivation from both directly & indirectly!

CrossFit is something I actually look forward to... it has a positive environment, there is encouragement from coaches and members, lots of cheering, lots of good fast paced music, weights slamming down, grunting, people giving it their all. It's a contagious atmosphere!

It's also very challenging. I hate not being the best at something and I absolutely hate being the last, when I see a bunch of other people smoking me it causes me to push myself (alone I wouldn't). Last night we were doing strict presses before the WOD and I was done, man there was no way in hell I was getting another press done but... I hadn't done as many as we were supposed to and the coach starts barking out 'COME on Ryan' and I'm like "oh screw you, I got this, I got another one in me and I'll show you!" yeah I didn't have it. I pushed and pushed that bar up from my shoulders and didn't even get it eye level before it came back down. The coach keeps barking out encouragement and then a half dozen of my fellow members join in "Come on, you can do it" "don't stop" "come on push push" and what do you know... it got 2 more strict-presses out of me that I was 100% sure I did not have in me. I racked the bar and everyone focused their attention to a guy doing far far more weight than everyone else and guess what, they squeezed a few more out of him too. That community, that genuine positive encouragement from staff & members, that competing against yourself, that is the kind of stuff that is absolutely priceless to a lazy fat man like me. That alone is worth what my box charges.

Just three short weeks ago I was breathing with difficulty after having simply done warm ups, some high-knees across a room or air-squat side lunges. My first day we did some amraps... I did the first batch of v-ups and then got the wall ball up ONCE and never finished a single v-up or wall ball, yesterday I managed 2 + 7 and would have probably done 3 + ? but I'd experience 2 rips in my underwear and they were fast becoming boa-constrictors around my thighs and bunching up in the back. I'm adapting fast, my resting heart rate is down, I can swiftly walk up a flight of stairs at the movie theater withour breathing hard for 10-15 minutes. Life is great.

CrossFit is the first time in my life where I actually feel like part of something. I'm part of the team, the team is the members of CrossFit317, people that want to succeed and want to see me succeed just as bad. I might be a hair over 300lbs while I write this post but CrossFit is something I love, it's something I'll be sticking with. It's something I look forward to every Monday, Wednesday and Friday... and once I don't feel like a truck hit me on Tuesdays and Thursdays I'll be shooting for 5 days a week. While I HATE country music, Tim McGraw's lyric is exactly how I feel about CrossFit "I like it, I love it, I want more of it"



For fear of jinxing myself...

I won't say CrossFit was easy tonight. I'll say... CrossFit tonight wasn't too bad. I never once felt like I couldn't breathe. Yes I had to pause every couple of spoken words but a hell of a lot better than past 2 weeks. Wall-balls are still the devil but I made considerable improvements over last time. I did however lose my first pair of boxers to catastrophic blowout (no, I didn't poo myself. I ripped them, not just once but at least two different times) however this thread on reddit just happened to pop up two days before this post and had various advice on underwear. I might buy a pair of these Adidas Men's Sport Performance Flex 360 Boxer's and these ExOfficio Men's GiveNGo Boxer Brief for now and see how they hold up, I suppose I can suffer and wear boxer briefs for 3 hours a week.

Methinks on the morrow my forearms may very we'll be angry at me though... as I'm already feeling fatigue in them. SQUIRE, fetch the alchemist and his oil of magnesium!!!

CrossFit day 4 recap

Day 4 of CrossFit I got paired up with two of the women in my class Monday, everyone else was in groups of 4. We are done with power cleans and doing our burpees... the 2 girls did all the burpees except the last five... lungs still on fire from my 25 power cleans to the point of being in considerable physical pain my chest (I had pneumonia a handful of times as a kid) and about a dozen people (inducing 2 coaches) are standing around cheering me on to do the last 5 lousy burpess... which involved me falling to 2 knees and staying there for several seconds before falling face first into the AstroTurf for another 3-10 seconds with my face buried in it before pushing myself up for a few seconds, back to the knees for a few seconds, into a crouch for a few seconds, wobbly stand up, shuffle to the bar and jump over it to wobbly stand for another 30-40 seconds before repeating haha. I was thinking... why don't you all suck an egg (I was thinking far more profane things) and die. If it wasn't for the community I wouldn't have done a single damn one heh.

I then just sat there for about 15 minutes, half my class sticking around to see if I'd live... hell one of the girls even comes over with her water bottle and offers it to me "nah I'm fine, just trying to get breath back" although it probably sounded more like "nah hahahaha bre hahaha goo hehhhh ehhhhh ehhhh hehhh", the coaches kept popping back into the room and checking on me. Finally I stand up and shuffle to the door and you see relief on half the class as the expressions on their faces resemble "good, he's not gonna die we can leave" and sit in my car for another 15 minutes just enjoying the beauty of a comfy seat, 2 more classmates just sit there in their car making sure I'm going to be ok, one of the coaches pops out a few times and tries to check on me without being obvious and finally I'm like 'Shazbot, I better go so they can get on with stuff' heh.

I love those folks at CrossFit317, the members and the staff!

Strength sport training and Insomnia (modulating cortisol)

On my 4th day of CrossFit I learned two things... I CAN continue, although slow, when my lungs are burning hotter than thermite AND CrossFit is prone to giving me insomnia (I suspect the cortisol) as I was exhausted and couldn't fall asleep last night, finally managing only a few hours of poor sleep. So that being said, being a bio-hacker and all, pulling out my two favorite cortisol modulating tools... Inositol and Phosphatidylserine.

Now, I've seen a lot of people recommend ZMA or just magnesium (which might help some) but I suspect the real issue here is cortisol. I've used both Inositol and PS in the past very effectively for dealing with excess cortisol that was causing insomnia and am sure I'll have great results here too, I prefer Doctor's Best Best Phosphatidyl Serine 100, 120-Count and Jarrow Formulas Inositol Powder, 227g or (if you want capsules/pills) Jarrow Formulas Inositol, 750 mg, 100 Vegetarian capsules.

Inositol has been used in multiple studies in help treating PTSD at several grams a day, personally I can attest to it's functionality here. After my hypokalemic event I was experiencing PTSD rather bad, 3-5g of inositol a day for a couple of months helped tremendously as I'd start to panic if I got relaxed or just randomly while sitting which would spike cortisol, the elevated cortisol would then make me more prone to getting antsy/panicking so it was a nasty feedback loop. I found some PTSD studies and accounts of combat veterans using as much as 15g of inositol a day with great success so gave it a try. Worked great!

PS has been shown in multiple studies (as well as ancedotal reports by many many athletes) to lower cortisol levels as well. 3-5g of inositol a day and 300mg of PS and I completely defeated the PTSD in 2-ish months and then as long as I didn't start thinking about the event while laying in bed I had zero issues going forward and have not had anything remotely resembling an episode in at least a year and a half!

This wouldn't just be limited to insomnia caused by CrossFit but any training, let's face it... a lot of us can't train in the morning and find ourselves training after work, I no longer CrossFit but I do Olympic lift at a CrossFit affiliate and on particularly demanding days (like doing a widow maker set) I'll find myself taking some inositol and PS first thing when I get home and then again just before bed so I'm not in bed awake for hours and hours before I fall asleep. Both were also invaluable when dealing with my PTSD from the hypokalemic episode. 

If you find you are training hard and having trouble sleeping, or training hard and have your kcals dialed in and are operating at a deficit but having trouble losing weight I'd definitely tinker with cortisol modulation. Your mileage may vary but it's something I'd definitely try for a month or two and see if it helps you too! 

Update: July 18th, 2019

I’ve found as I moved to Powerlifting and Strongman that when I need to turn to something to help me with exercise induced insomnia that the cortisol modulation of phosphatidylserine seems to be the most beneficial, 100-200mg post workout on days with very heavy volume (especially if I do conditioning after) followed 2-3 hours later (30-60 minutes before bed) of my nightly 100% RDA of magnesium as magnesium citrate as well as 1mg of melatonin and I have no issue whatsoever getting to sleep and it is quality sleep.

Since I initially wrote this post there has been a lot more written about phosphatidylserine and cortisol specifically in regards to athletic/exercise induced stress. The phosphatidylserine cortisol beneficial connection is documented with both studies and anecdotal evidence of athletes much higher caliber than I.

A word of warning, start slowly with magnesium citrate as it can cause loose stool and even unpredictable diarrhea in some if you aren’t accustomed to it, I can take several times the daily RDA in a go and be fine but your mileage may vary.

CrossFit, my observations after 1-week.

I started CrossFit last week at CrossFit 317. After the initial week I have a few observations.


I like it. I like it a lot as I just can't work out alone and my training partner moved to California a long time ago. With CrossFit I have a group of people cheering me on, pushing me to not give up (but not do more than I can truly handle). Just being around other people doing the same workout gets me pushing myself on my own, then when I start to lag and give up they start encouraging me on and I push on and do a lot more than I thought I could.

I hate AstroTurf. I hate it I hate it I hate it. Haha, during the first 2 weeks we are in the back room to learn proper movements and what not before actually starting out in the main area of the box. The floor is covered with AstroTurf in the back room. Burpees on AstroTurf is worse than a fish swimming up your urethra and deploying barbs to live, not that I've experienced the latter but I'm sure it's a fair comparison...

I actually look forward to going. All weekend I've been thinking "man I can't wait for class Monday after work!", while I’m hands down the worst person in the class (and certainly in the box, even some silver-haired people putting me to shame) I look forward to going, I want to be there, I want to be challenged. I hate being last, hell I hate being anything but the best. Sure, I'm around 300lbs and I can only do a fraction of what even the other people in my class can do but I'll get there, I'll pass some of them soon once my lungs and heart can adapt and keep up with the new workload. I'll get faster, better stronger, by God gentleman I will be rebuilt to be the $150 a month man!

Started Crossfit this week

I started Crossfit this past Monday and go back tonight. I'm going to Crossfit 317 and I like it. M/W/Th this week and M/W/F next week are part of the 'kick-off' class to make sure you have proper form and to familiarize you with some of the Crossfit lingo and what not. For a bio-hacker like me who is quite familiar with various methods of training I mostly zone out when the instructor is talking and so far I've had great form (was even told I'm very flexible because I can actually do a full squat heh, thats because I work on one of my computers frequently on the ground and spend a lot of time in a squat haha), aside from zoning out during the talking bits it does make me feel secure knowing they are paying close attention to form and correcting bad form.

Aside from being sore as hell just from air squats, situps and push-ups I rather enjoy it and think it's something I'll be sticking with long-term (as long as finances allow anyway, at $150 a month it's a wee bit pricey).