It Was Throbbing

I was frustrated.

I was leaning over the glass countertop at the chain gym, where I felt stuck, unappreciated, and held back. It was no one’s fault in particular. The owner of the gym tried to run an honest business, but I wasn’t fulfilled. 

But worst of all, my workouts sucked. The stairclimber and every machine meticulously placed in front of a mirror had gone stale for me. I had just finished reading a Tony Robbins book and felt like I just hadn’t “awakened the giant within” by selling memberships and hitting back and bis every Thursday. Beyond a paycheck, I didn’t know why I went to the gym anymore. 

I didn’t want the routine anymore. I wanted to see change. I wanted to feel like I was progressing just like my clients felt when working with me. 

So, this guy shows up…

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and the gym is empty except for a few people on treadmills and the pec-dec, #beefcake.  

“Are you guys open?” Stephane was a tall guy with no hair and olive skin. He was built like a wide receiver and wore the infamous grey CrossFit t-shirt. I welcomed him in, took his money for a day-pass, and told him the back exit and the room he was looking for (the only one with a lifting platform) was downstairs.

After I clocked out at two pm, I spotted him doing pull-ups, push-ups, and squats (but without a barbell-what a loser.) As sarcastic as I was, he had something I was looking for. He was out of breath, he was sweating a lot, and he looked driven. At that age, I knew no strangers, so long story short, I interrupted his warm-up and joined in my first CrossFit workout.

It was “Murph.”

An hour later, I was on the floor, covered in sweat, and listening to my lungs. The only things that were louder were Stephane’s encouragement, and my pulse, which I felt in my forehead vein. It was throbbing.

It was a wake-up call. I had been missing out too long. This thing was hard, not as hard as what Stephane was doing because we modified the workout for me since I was new to CrossFit stuff, but it was still hard and filled with an adrenaline rush. 

That was over a decade ago. I never looked back, and I still get that adrenaline rush today. After a noon class with some of my friends, I still end up on the floor covered in sweat. I still hear my breath over the speakers. 

It’s been over ten years. I’m not frustrated or unappreciated here. I’m most certainly not held back when others are pushing me to do my best, and I definitely don’t feel stuck.


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