I found CrossFit while I was in the Army. I thought I was insanely fit because I ran every day, ruck-marched, and I’d been to Iraq and survived twice already. I’d heard about CrossFit from some other soldiers, mostly officers, and thought it was SUPER lame, but just like most people that “hate on” things, I had no idea what I was talking about.
When I was 22, I went to a leadership academy in Georgia and met a bunch of other soldiers with their different views on “fitness.” One guy, I’ll call him Chris, was DEEP into CrossFit. He was certain that he could beat me in any workout I chose, and as a cocky 22-year-old, I told him to pick any bodyweight workout he wanted. He chose “Cindy.” That’s a 20-minute workout where you repeat the sequence of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats as many times as possible and I was certain I could keep up with him.
A little over 5 minutes into the workout, I was face down on the floor, and he was continuing through the reps, literally laughing at me as he went.
I pitifully finished the workout and decided right then and there that this was what I wanted to be able to do. Watching Chris perform Kipping Pull-ups and moving through squats so easily made me want to be able to do that. I worked out with him during the rest of my time at the leadership academy and at the end I decided that I was officially a “CrossFitter.”
When I got back to my base in New York with my soldiers I ditched the daily 5 mile runs, the millions of push-ups and sit-ups and replaced them with sprints, jump ropes, kettlebell swings and wall ball shots. We pooled our cash together and bought enough equipment to get our workouts in. I took ridicule from the other Squad Leaders about how I’d jumped on the “CrossFit Wagon” and how I might as well be doing Zumba classes.
Almost as if by magic, all of our Army Physical Fitness Test scores SKYROCKETED. In our first ever Battalion-wide Squad Competition, my squad placed 2nd out of 25, only narrowly losing to another Squad who (you guessed it) had been doing CrossFit-style workouts for a couple of months longer than us.
When I got out of the Army, I didn’t need to keep up with my fitness. For the first time in my adult life, it was no longer mandatory! But 3 things made me stay with it:
I got out and dove straight into college headfirst. CrossFit workouts are all that kept me sane. In a given week, I would have upwards of 20 hours of classes, 30 hours of clinical work, 10 hours of studying, and another 10-15 hours of coaching. My college classes alternated between outrageously strenuous and mind-numbingly boring. The one constant I had was that I could count on CrossFit Cape Coral providing me an hour a day to dump out my stress, get stronger and faster, and have a great time.
Every time I, or someone I care about, finds a charitable cause that they feel strongly about, the people in CrossFit throw their entire weight behind it. In the time I’ve been with CFCC, we’ve raised over $50,000 for veterans organizations, toys for tots, families of fallen firefighters and cops, the salvation army, members who’ve suffered traumatic life events, and youth fitness organizations. I’ve never met a group of people so willing to donate to those in need.
I LOVE it. In nearly 5 years, I’ve never once thought about going in to the gym to workout OR to work, and thought “Ugh.” Not once. Every time I walk in, I’m surrounded by friends and I get to challenge myself while having a great freaking time.
CrossFit has been responsible for me continually over-performing in whatever I do, whether I was trying to learn kipping pullups on a broken Smith Machine at a YMCA in upstate New York, or playing around on the kick ass rig we have at CrossFit Cape Coral. Nearly 8 years into it, I’m still just as excited to walk into a class, fist bump everyone I see, learn a new skill, and get a great workout.
If you’re not with us at CrossFit Cape Coral yet, click HERE to book your free No Sweat Intro, and see what all the fun is about.
Nick Habich is the Owner and Head Coach at CrossFit Cape Coral. He is a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, a Certified Athletic Trainer, a Licensed Massage Therapist, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.