Now that you’re working on your mindset bit by bit every day, then it’s time to think of a workout plan to help you reach your health goals. Of course, nutrition is the most important step, but I’ll save that for last as it’s the perfect piece of the puzzle to end things with.
What do I do for my workouts? I do CrossFit. It’s probably my favorite hobby of all time. At the moment, it’s basically a lifestyle for me as well rather than simply an activity of mine or a workout program. If you haven’t heard of CrossFit before, it involves all sorts of movements and exercises – sprinting, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics movements, and a lot of calisthenics. The videos you find online can make CrossFit seem intimidating at first, but the beautiful thing about it is it’s universally scalable. You can use lighter weights or even substitute more straightforward movements for those exercises that require more skill and mechanical development in order to carry them out.
This is great as you don’t want to overexert yourself and make your body do things it’s not accustomed to. Many people try to overdo things because they want to lift heavy or because they see someone who’s smaller than them doing a lot of weight in a lift. Lose the ego, as in CrossFit, your main enemy is really yourself.
Honestly, I didn’t find CrossFit right away, as I’ve been bouncing around from different workout styles before settling down with something I truly love. It all started the summer going into my senior year of high school. I knew that my weight was really a factor and I had to do something about it. In a year’s time, I would be in college, and I had that drive in me to reinvent myself. I didn’t want to be the same person I was all my life – shy, lacking confidence, unhappy, etc.
That was really one of the biggest turning points of my life. If I didn’t step foot in that gym, I don’t know where I would be today. I hate to say it, but people definitely treated me differently from when I was overweight and to when I was in shape.
Initially, I had NO IDEA what I was doing with my workouts. I was simply going with the flow and just doing whatever I felt was right. This could’ve resulted in some disasters, so luckily I progressed slowly so I things worked out fine for me. I’ll never forget my first few weeks of working out. The elliptical machine seemed nice to try out since I heard it was better on your knees than using a treadmill. So I stepped foot on it, and man, was it a weird kind of movement for me. And the sad part was I could barely stay on it for 3 minutes. Once I hit the 3 minute mark, I had to step off that thing.
So what I did in the beginning was something like 30 minutes of walking/light jogging on the treadmill and another 30 minutes on the stationary bike. Either before or after, I would use various Nautilus machines. As I said, I had no idea what I was doing, so I pretty much just went along with what I saw other people using.
Even though this was my worst workout routine ever as it was lacking so much and didn’t have the right balance in muscles I was hitting, I actually got down to my lowest weight ever of around 145 pounds. My goal right now is to get down to 150 or so but with raw muscle.
I kept up with this through the end of high school, and I’d say I was pretty happy with my results. I managed to keep the weight off and stay in great shape. The bad part of my routine was I wasn’t eating enough, so honestly I felt weak throughout the day and my lifts weren’t where they are today.
The lack of protein in my nutrition was probably one of the reasons I strained by right shoulder using the shoulder press machine. So for a few months into college, the only exercise I did was about an hour of cardio 5 times a week. Once my shoulder healed, I went back into my old routine along with some Smith Machine work. Still not that great of a routine, but at least I was making progress.
The summer going into my junior year of college, I came across Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength programming, and that was probably the turning point of my weightlifting. It was a really basic, beginner’s barbell routine that involved only 3 days of lifting and the movements of squats, bench presses, overhead presses, power cleans, and deadlifts. As I said, it’s really basic, but if you wanted to put on as much muscle as possible and gain a lot of strength, this was the way to go.
However, I wanted something with more variance so it wouldn’t seem so monotonous. My buddy and I were simply reading about stuff online written by Rippetoe, and he mentioned that Starting Strength is great for getting big and getting strong. When asked what if someone wanted a six pack, Coach Rip suggested CrossFit and the Zone Diet.
I tried Zone for a bit, and it just wasn’t for me. More on that in the nutrition post. CrossFit, on the other hand, was where I would find something I truly love and enjoy. For a while, I followed the workouts provided online by CrossFit’s official website. Then later on in my senior year, I really considered setting up my own CrossFit gym (no longer want to) so I thought of signing up at the local CrossFit box.
Let’s just say the rest is history.
Right now, I’m truly in love with the sport and getting myself to the gym 5 times a week isn’t an issue. I just go because I enjoy the workouts no matter how intense they get. Today’s workout was absolutely terrible since it was so tough, but I felt so good at the end. I’m tellin ya – there’s no other feeling like working through a CrossFit workout. You’ll hate it while you’re doing it. That’s part of the experience. Then again, it’ll make you a faster, stronger, and smarter athlete as long as you stick with it.
The beautiful thing about CrossFit is I no longer have asthma because of it
Want to find out more about CrossFit? Check out this video: