Colbert: Making my CrossFit return | AspenTimes.com

Colbert: Making my CrossFit return

Fear kept me from returning to CrossFit. However, fear also brought me back.

No, I’m not about to ramble on about how horrible or awesome CrossFit is, because it’s both. I’m not going to tell you to steer clear because of its cult-like persona, or begin preaching about the benefits of the Paleo diet.

Yes, it’s kind of a cult. Yes, Paleo is good for you, but I enjoy sugar and dairy too much to consider it for my personal life.

I’m simply going to tell you why, after 22 months, I decided to take it up again.

First, the basics, like what is CrossFit? Officially founded in 2000, it’s a fitness regimen based on the principles of gymnastics, Olympic weight lifting and high-intensity interval training. For the sane, it’s an hour of hell.

For the insane — i.e., basically anyone passionate about CrossFit — well, it’s still hell. But we love it for that very reason.

I began doing CrossFit back in Kansas in 2013. I was a regular for a year and a half, and certainly got stronger, but remained remarkably terrible for the entire duration.

When I moved to Steamboat Springs in May 2015, I stopped. There were many factors, like the price (CrossFit can be a tad expensive) and the altitude (suddenly living 4,000-plus feet higher than you ever had made even getting out of bed taxing).

From that point until I asked The Aspen Times Publisher Samantha Johnston to take me to Aspen CrossFit a few weeks ago, I hadn’t touched a barbell or done a burpee. I had thought about it for months, but fear of said burpees at near 8,000 feet kept me far, far away.

So, where did I finally find the courage to dig out my old CrossFit sneakers and make my long overdue return? Well, that is a complicated answer, which in short can be my desire to belong.

After 22 months away, it wasn’t the strenuous workouts or the goal-setting mindset that CrossFit creates that drew me back. It was the people and the feeling of being bonded to others through literal blood, sweat and tears.

That’s what I missed most about training with SouthWind CrossFit in Kansas — my CrossFit family. I missed the camaraderie, one you don’t find in a normal gym setting. I missed the smiles, people knowing your name, the high fives. I missed the pats on the back and the hugs from simply giving it your all, even if you only did 30 knee-ups in a workout that asked for 50 toes-to-bars.

The cult that is CrossFit isn’t for everyone. The workouts are and always will be miserable. But I feel I’m a better person because of that misery and that’s why I returned. I had fallen into a rut, both physically and socially, and I feared never escaping from it. I needed something to return me to that happy place.

So, I asked my boss to take me to Aspen CrossFit, and I’m glad she did. And, after way too many burpees and power cleans, I couldn’t remember what imaginary monster I had created in my head to keep me away for so long. I’m happy to be back.

acolbert@aspentimes.com


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