One Year at Reebok CrossFit Medfield

Exactly one year ago, I walked into Reebok CrossFit Medfield and took my first class with two of the most amazing people I’ve been fortunate to meet, Spencer Hendel and Luis Alvarez. I remember the day well; my initial plan was to attend the 9:30am class, but my son came home sick from school and I had to wait until the 5:30pm class. I was nervous. I’d been playing around with CrossFit on my own for about a year, thanks to my interest in it being stoked by my good friend Rich Borgatti who runs Mountain Strength CrossFit in Winchester, MA. But in retrospect, my solo workouts could never have matched the intensity and sheer awesomeness that an actual CrossFit class could generate.

I took the 5:30pm with one other guy who had come over from CrossFit One in Canton, MA. Together, we got put through a great WOD that consisted of 5 rounds for time of 15 reps of the Push Press and Superman. Cool down was rowing until we burned something like 30 calories. I only used the 35# barbell and my time was 8:17.

Frankly, I fell in love.

It was immediately apparent that CrossFit contained all of the things that I love: constant challenge, intensity, variance, a fantastic community, and so much more. I came home and told my wife Joyce how incredible it was. She took her first class two days later on January 10th and that day we signed up for an entire year of instruction.

In the year I’ve been taking CrossFit, my life has changed for the better. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m stronger now than I was half a lifetime ago. When I started CrossFit a year ago, my deadlift was 200 pounds. Yesterday, I tried (and failed) to lift 400 pounds off the floor (but I’ll get that soon). A year ago, my one rep max on the Push Press would probably have been around 115 pounds. As of September 2013, it was 175 pounds. Last January my back squat was 165 pounds. As of October, it was 265 pounds.

Then there are the other exercises. I hate running with a passion, but over the year I’ve been doing CrossFit, I’ve done three 5k races and brought my mile time down to a fairly decent (y’know, for me, lol) time of 8:41 (that was in August). Burpees are loathsome creations, but I’m averaging 50 of them in 5 minutes each day as part of my Burpees for Breakfast fundraiser for NO KID HUNGRY. And I can throw 32 wall balls (20 pounders) in a minute.

And these accomplishments are not mine alone. My wife has made incredible progress in her fitness goals. And when I see friends at the box moving more weight, moving faster, and achieving goals they didn’t think possible when they first started, it quickly becomes apparent that CrossFit is truly an incredible vehicle for personal change, evolution, and success.

But CrossFit is about more than just the exercises.

There’s an incredible group of people at Reebok CrossFit Medfield that I truly love hanging out with. When you bleed, sweat, cry, laugh, and cheer alongside others engaged in the same struggle you cannot help but develop incredible bonds with them. That’s always been the nature of strife and challenge and nowhere (outside of the military) is that more apparent than in CrossFit. You come to respect the people you train with because you’re all going through it together. Their gains are your gains; their successes are your successes because it motivates and inspires you to accomplish more. The friends I’ve made over this past year are people I look forward to seeing every day.

And then there are the mental benefits. I was already conditioned to the benefits of constant challenge through my years of excellent martial arts training at the Boston Martial Arts Center with Mark Davis. But since moving out of Boston about ten years ago, I haven’t been able to get to the dojo nearly as much as I would like. And the degree of challenge that had been present in my life was somewhat lacking. RCF Medfield gave that back to me. I’m there nearly every day – and usually twice a day on the days I do attend (Joyce takes the evening class and I go back to work on my strength training and other things.) Challenge, challenge, and more challenge. I love it. Nothing else tests you and reveals both your faults and strengths like being challenged every day. Nothing broadens the mind like the crucible of strife.

Yesterday was the official first year anniversary of Reebok CrossFit Medfield, but the one-year mark happens today for me. The WOD for today looks pretty spicy, but I know that as much apprehension as I may have before the workout, afterward I will feel accomplished. I may be laying on the floor praying to a dozen unknown gods while trying to suck oxygen and water in at the same time and be covered in sweat, but I will still feel accomplished. And around me, I have no doubt, will be the bodies of my fellow athletes. Strewn across the turf and mats and floor as we may be, we will nevertheless bask in the glow of having met and tackled yet another challenge At RCF Medfield.

“Thank you” seems so insignificant a phrase to say sometimes because they’re only two words – and the amount of gratitude I feel seems ill-represented by such a short phrase. But even writing thank you a million times wouldn’t be enough.

So thank you Spencer, Luis, Mike, Erin, Ries, Monique, and Brian for what you’ve given me and my family over this past year. Reebok CrossFit Medfield is one of the best parts of my day; indeed, sometimes it is the very best part of my day. I wish you all the best in your second year and many years to come.

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