On Crossfit and facing your fears (or not)

Hello, my doves. How are you? You smell fantastic. Like some sort of pastry. Come closer.

This is going to be a long and rambling post but hell, you can skim it, or not even read it at all, if it comes to that. Right? Right. Whatever you decide, I hope you're comfortably seated, or standing, or maybe even lying flat on your back, with a screen hovering above you. Do you have one of those futuristic Hover-Screens™? So great.

I know some of you have been wondering how my mood is, and let me tell you! Just eechhh. Isn't that cheerful? Isn't that a happy sound? I actually took one of those online depression questionnaires today, and the result came back OH DEAR. And this is about 90% better than I WAS, so, well, you can imagine!

I have an appointment with my psychiatrist in two days, and I intend to give him a piece of my mind. My not-happy mind! I'm going to be all, "See here, good man, why am I not yet whistling a happy tune?"

I'll let you know how that pans out.

Until then, here's what happened today. Today I completed my Crossfit Foundations course. In case you're not familiar with Crossfit, it's one of those bootcamp-ish, lift-heavy-things-and-run-'til-you-puke workout places. People seem to obsessively love it, so I signed up for the Foundations course, in which you learn, duh, the foundations. This is supposed to lead you seamlessly into the regular group workout classes. Which I was a little scared of, to be honest, because I felt like I was perhaps less than ready for such a thing.

My feelings of incompetence despite completing the course surprised me, as I have been steadily and faithfully gym-going for the past two years--and also they didn't surprise me, as I have held the conviction all along that I'm still fundamentally weak and uncoordinated. This is a feeling that goes back as far as I can remember. I have never felt like I had any natural skill at moving my body through space.

Not only do I persist in believing this, it's also a belief that carries with it a huge amount of humiliation and shame. I seem to seek out activities that are going to poke me right in this incredibly sore spot, either because I'm trying to move past it and improve or because I'm looking for validation that I am a hopeless weakling and klutz.

I took kung fu until the instructor singled me out in class for my terrible form.

I took belly dancing until the instructor singled me out for awkwardness and general unsexiness (my terms, not hers).

I practiced yoga until one instructor spent the entire session adjusting me and asking loudly if I had some kind of severe injury that made me move that way.

I get it: I'm not flexible. But I keep giving up on these activities because I'm convinced that I'm not going to get any more flexible. And then I try something else, until I'm humiliated and I run away. And so on.

So even with my regular strength training, I had hit something of a plateau, because of the above inflexibility. That's when I decided to try out Crossfit. I have no idea why. Masochism? I actually thought the intro course was interesting, if intimidating and hard as hell. I thought I was making progress, although I know my instructor was concerned about my mobility issues.

By the way, there's another course, one that people who are not quite ready for the group classes can take, called "On Ramp." I had a feeling he'd tell me I should take this before I went to the group classes. THIS IS IMPORTANT TO THE STORY.

Instead, he told me that because of my mobility issues, he wants me to take 10-20 private sessions, then go to On Ramp, and then maybe I'd be ready for group classes. He wants me to work on my mobility issues, and he's worried that if I can't get proper form in some of the stances, I'll just injure myself and give up. Which he does not want me to do. Reasonable, right? So reasonable!

I will tell you, I wanted to die of humiliation, when he told me this. It was yoga all over again. And belly dancing. And oh, lord, kung fu. Once again, I was being assigned to Remedial Gym.

(Did I ever tell you how I had to take Remedial Gym in high school? Yep. Just soak that in, for a moment. REMEDIAL GYM. It's no wonder I have all of these goddamn issues.)

So now I have a choice to make: do I go for private sessions? Or do I give up?

Part of me wants to forge ahead. I've made some progress, and I've seen how far it is that I need to go. The worst that happens is after the set of private sessions, I decide I don't want to do it.

But part of me is wondering, why do I put myself in these situations, again and again, where I'm just left feeling terrible about myself? What am I in it for? Yes, I'd like to be in better shape. Yes, I'd like to feel strong and capable and coordinated. But surely there are ways of doing this that won't leave me just feeling awful?

Another factor is, of course, my brain chemistry, which is all off-kilter at the moment. Maybe once my serotonin is re-uptaking or not re-uptaking or WHATEVER I'll feel a little more confident in what Mr. Crossfit Coach is telling me.

Right now I only want to curl up under some blankets. This might not the best long-term approach for general fitness, but on the other hand the blankets are warm and soft and almost never mention my "mobility issues."

I'm throwing it to you, my beloved readers: what do you think? Crossfit? Something else? Or the blankets?

(And by the way: I don't question my instructor/coach's motives at : he's smart and his advice has always been spot-on. I like him a lot and truly believe he wants the best for me. I also happen to think he secretly is horrified by what an awful, uncoordinated idiot I am. This may just be me.)