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CrossFit: Thinking Outside the Box

One week left in our CrossFit Liberation experience!

The energy level is high, and even though I'm nearly broke from near-constant trips to the grocery store (mostly for bacon and fruit), the is agreeing with me. The Workouts of the Day are getting loads easier, and doing pull-ups... I can do pull-ups until the cows come home.

Actually, most of the issues I experienced with running and lifting at the beginning of this three month challenge have disappeared, and I feel like a new man—ready to grow a  handlebar mustache, bend bars with my teeth and go on tour with the bearded lady. 

And that's the point of this week's column—marking the change that I, and many others for that matter, feel in themselves after committing to a weekly regime of high-intensity CrossFit workouts. 

CrossFit Week 12

I've found that many of the individuals who join CrossFit are former athletes, people who used to revel at the cheer of the crowd and have lost the opportunity to compete. The swimming pool, football field or track has all but been replaced by a 40-inch high-def flatscreen TV—and that's how it all starts, that descent into the dark and comfortable corners of the couch. 

In my case, there was always that ember of hope, that nagging reminder that former glory could be regained. "The hardbodies aren't just meant for television," I'd think while digging into a bowl of buttery popcorn, and then I'd say to myself: "Seriously, bro. Is the rest of your life going to be spent feeling uncomfortable? The worst part is that you'll progressively look older and thicker down the road as the years roll by, the couch gets comfier and the habits get more solidified."

No way, man. I'm glad I had that conversation with myself. The fighting spirit must win, and it's what makes a person successful at CrossFit. And then, before you know it you're not just in shape, you're in super-duper shape. You're wearing cooler workout clothes, having interesting conversations with people at the Box, and then, a regional competition comes along. What do you do? You think about the battle of Iwo Jima or something and saddle up for a challenging afternoon. 

On Saturday, June 9, dozens of CrossFit Liberation members will be participating in the CrossFit for Hope on the National Mall. The competition, which has raised $963,500 for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, will be attended by hundreds of CrossFitters from around the country. 

It will be the first competition for Liberation member Rob Pratten. "It's for a good cause and I get to WOD on the National Mall and hang out with a lot of like-minded people in the CrossFit scene," he said. 

CrossFit Liberation member Connie Dicken, 35, is a former competitive swimmer and has been CrossFitting since February 2011. "Before CrossFit I was 20 pounds overweight. I used to be fit and then I got married and we got fat and happy. Then, one day we decided not to be lazy anymore," she said, adding that she experienced a breakthrough at the BWI Mid Atlantic Hopper last November. "They threw in a 95-pound snatch, and I'd only ever done 85 pounds and I went into the competition scared out of my mind. It took me six or seven minutes to get that snatch up and the whole gym cheered for me. I was so emotional, too. I was crying. I knew I could do it and I hadn't had that much experience with the lift."

CrossFitters crave competition, said CrossFit Liberation owner Atom Ziniewicz. "In the words of CrossFit founder Coach (Greg) Glassman: 'Men will die for points.' People will kill themselves to get a better score on the white board for other people to see," said Atom. "I think it's just human nature. There are people who compete to win and others who compete against themselves. The atmosphere of a competition is just another excuse to kick your ass even harder. It's awesome. You get a cheering crowd telling you to pick up that bar! Pick up the bar!" 

CFL members participate in these annual regional competitions: 

Stay with Patch for next week's final installment in our CrossFit Liberation challenge. You'll see before and after pictures, including a gallery of the entire three month journey. 

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