I have never been a fit man, overly healthy or aggressively competitive. My interests in high school were music and reading and generally failing to perform up to my academic capabilities. President of the marching band, student class Vice-President and a big drama buff; I participated in athletics mainly as a social event and certainly not because I had any talent for it or skills of any kind. In one legendary junior high school basketball game, my father witnessed a great cross-court pass strike me squarely in the side of the head. Coordination wasn’t anywhere to be found on my physical activity resume in my early years. An argument could easily be made that I continue to struggle in that category more than 30 years later.
I gained the freshman 15 and then the sophomore, junior and senior 30. Not fat, but certainly not thin. I became spongier and softer with the passing of each year until my middle 30’s. Then I had a wake up call with an unexpected health issue. After I recovered, I thought it was a good time to change things up and make a run at getting healthy.
I began lifting weights at the gym of the day and had the typical casual-athlete type of minor gains that kept me interested. I discovered CrossFit in the late 90’s and gradually built a home set up that expanded continuously once my interests started to shift to powerlifting. I began lifting heavy and then found my motivation ebbing and waning and realized I needed to find a competitive outlet to keep me focused. I was drawn to an amazing sport and community; Scottish Heavy Athletics. I worked hard to increase my big, basic lifts. I remember when I first started that a 200lb dead lift felt like I was trying to move the earth. Now I multi-rep 400 plus pounds on a regular basis. No offense to my fellow kilted throwers though; total physical fitness isn’t one of the menu items when you are throwing 42lb weights 15 feet overhead. Big and strong pretty much covers the bases in my favorite sport. In fact, thinner or fitter ain’t generally better in the Highland Games. It is more like bowling, if you were throwing a bowling ball a couple hundred feet and drinking a beer between frames. But beer is definitely not discouraged in this sport.
Then I developed a friendship with a true athlete who became a mentor and a guide. She is incredibly strong, extremely skilled and basically looks like she could successfully separate your head from your shoulders should the need ever arise. She kept after me for months to get reacquainted with CrossFit and I eventually caved. Now, nearly two years later I have a rather unique series of unexpected blessings that will provide me with an opportunity to travel around the world. While talking with those who have been a part of my fitness journey so far, I told them I was both excited and a bit intimidated by the idea of trying to maintain and even improve my fitness level while traveling. I mentioned that maybe I would put this whole idea of CrossFit as a “community” to the test and drop-in on CrossFit gyms at every location where I can find one as I wander the globe. Plus, I’ll figure out how to use whatever is at hand to stay fit, even if it means a half hour of tabata man-makers (I’m sure I’ll be writing about that physical torture session in future postings so don’t worry if you don’t know what they are yet) in the hotel gym.
And then a colleague gave me a challenge. “You should blog about it.” Yep, the kind of triple-dog-dare-you suggestion that I simply can’t resist. So, I invite you to come along on this next phase of my journey – that started at doughboy coach potato, has meandered through $19.00 a month special deals at the globo-gym, passed through a series of buying binges that created the “toughest 190 square feet on the planet” in one bay of my garage, settled into a great CrossFit groove and community with my friends and family at CrossFit Polaris and now moves into a weird globetrotting adventure to stay fit, travel to parts unknown, maybe do a few gear reviews and hopefully find a whole new global community of others who also suck at overhead squats. And make a few friends.