Sorry for writing this column | Jack Marshall's column

Reader, I regret to inform you that, before the most recent lockdown, your humble columnist had become one of *those* people.

Monday, 23rd November 2020, 7:00 am
Yours truly (in the crimson top and in pain) during a session in October

We walk amongst you. We speak of the Amrap (as many reps as possible) and whisper rumours of rowing machine Emoms (every minute on the minute). Our pain-obsessed overlords delight in brewing cocktails of sweat, cramp, and lung-burn, cultivating torture methods disguised as handstand push-ups and wall balls.

We are CrossFitters.

CrossFit is famously gruelling, with the sport’s professional participants typically occupying a space on the body-type spectrum somewhere between ‘muscly Adonis’ and a ‘lithe rugby player/swimmer hybrid with 6% body fat'.

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CrossFit has a reputation for being the realm the truly hardcore, which can put plenty of people off and, allegedly, engender a sense of dread in uninitiated journalists.

Combining a horrid menagerie of gymnastics, calisthenics, and Olympic-style weightlifting, CrossFit was founded just 20 years ago in a gym in California. One can only imagine the inventor came into work that morning in an especially foul mood after stubbing his toe and dropping his ice cream whilst waiting in the line at the Post Office with a ‘I’m Sorry We Missed You’ card only to discover that they’d lost his parcel.

It’s a brutal pastime.

Three months into this new, twice-weekly, spirit-sapping endeavor, there was a tentative feeling of having just got the hang of everything. I’d only tasted blood in my throat mid-workout three times which, in the world of CrossFit, is referred to as ‘Tuesday’.

Then second lockdown came and the rhythm of punishment halted. You’d think this would be welcome, but I miss it greatly.

Why?

Not to generalise, but CrossFit people are lovely. The house of pain is built by saints on foundations of niceness, which is good because otherwise traipsing to a freezing warehouse next to a former mill for some, let’s say exacting, exercise would be hard to get out of bed for.

Sure, occasionally you’ll be at the squat rack, grappling with the likelihood of your eyes falling out your backside during the next set of five. Now and then, you’ll fall from the pull-up bar and find your arms don’t work and that your shoulders appear to have gone to war since you last checked.

But this is all part of the fun.

The blood (literally), sweat (so much sweat), and tears (crying helps) are integral to this cultish pursuit. It’s addictive. There, I said it. Now I really am one of *those* people.