Gym Class Jitters

It’s almost 7pm. My first Crossfit class starts in 30 minutes and I’m still at home. I’ve got the jitters.

Suddenly I’m back in 4th grade gym class. Once or maybe twice a year they’d have us go the rounds through a national or state fitness test, things like sprints, endurance runs, sit-ups, burpees, and the chin-ups bar although girls only had to hang on the bar and not actually do chin-ups.

I HATED gym class as it was, but this fitness test was my annual nightmare. I wasn’t an overweight kid…I simply wasn’t very strong nor did I have any cardio capacity. I scored last or came close to failing every single test that was administered. My heart would pound out of my chest and I would gasp for air whenever I ran or exerted myself. It was downright frightening, not exhilarating like it seemed to be for every other kid.

I have a feeling the phys ed teachers were not taught to monitor whether a child’s heart rate was in the danger zone. I’m pretty sure that was no consideration whatsoever in the mid-70s. No wonder it was frightening for me.

And for a kid who otherwise got straight As in school, gym class was a weekly lesson in humiliation, and this physical test was the single most humiliating event of the year. I didn’t understand what athletic prowess had to do with learning and why we were graded on it. And what did dodge ball have to do with real life at any other time during the year?

I remember the internal battle in my head even then:

“It’s ok, not everybody is an athlete. Some of us prefer books instead. This world is full of all kinds of people. But even still, why am I THE WORST in gym class?”

My family didn’t value athletic pursuits. No one exercised. Our world revolved around food. We kids were not encouraged to be “play outside” kind of people. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I gravitated toward books. So when it came to fitness tests, I always fell short of whatever physical standard needed to be met.


What I’ve learned since then! Ha! Life is gym class. Life is sweat and exertion and movement and strength and balance. Your choice whether you engage in it gracefully.  Your choice whether you get to enjoy the best views, vistas from a mountaintop you made the effort to climb (or to ski down. 😉)

I have no idea what to expect today. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I’ve seen the videos….I’ve heard people talk about Crossfit for a few years now. How incredibly hard it is. How they are pushed beyond their self-imposed limits. The injuries. The transformations. The zealots. The totally ripped bodies of the participants. I want to join those ranks. I’m doing what I always thought I could not do.

Running, weight lifting, push ups, sit ups, burpees, jumps, squats, whatever else is thrown at me. I don’t care if I’m slow. I know I’ll be discouraged. Very discouraged. I just hope I will be able to see some progress. And I clearly need an accountability partner. It would be a bonus to make some friends in the process.

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My friend Amy told me it was ok to be selfish and take care of me. Why have I never heard that from anyone before?

Here’s to a new me, starting today. Let’s see where this gets me at the end of six weeks.