New Challenges are healthy. They are a necessary opportunity to establish a path you didn’t know existed. Struggle breaths life into a skeleton. Rain feeds a dying plant.
But dude, new challenges are soooo challenging.
I started a new job on Monday. It’s exciting. FNX is awesome. Products are awesome, people are awesome, and the environment is exactly what I’ve been missing. It ain’t easy, but man… it’s fun.
There’s a CrossFit gym attached to it. All the equipment, all the music, all the energy. I’ve spent that last two years avoiding gyms like they were the plague, and now I’m working right beside one.
I miss my wife, though. I just spent the last six months hanging out with my #RibRib all day. Well, I mean, I was in my home office all day, but we saw each other every water break and potty change. Not only her, but I miss the twins and #AKARoy.
The folks at FNX are great, but they can’t hang with sweet Royvan.
So, I worked out in a real gym this week. Instead of doing a LOTB workout, I decided to jump into a workout I saw on the white board. Just for funnies.
It’s a new challenge.
30 Bear Complex – 115 lbs on the Barbell
*What’s a bear complex you ask?
Power Clean… Front Squat… Push Press… Back Squat… Push Jerk.
… that’s 1 rep of a bear complex.
Every time you drop the bar:
6 leg raises
9 wall balls.
I’m not dropping the bar. I’m not letting go. My under-girth could fall off mid workout and the building could be on fire with a flaming cat running on top of a loaded barbell covered in gasoline… I’m not dropping that dang bar. That’s 27 wall balls. I haven’t done real wall balls in years. Don’t plan on starting today.
I’m doing this when no one else is in the gym. If I die, I’m going to be here for a while. But pride won’t allow me to workout in the room with other humans. I don’t want to subject myself to that level of scrutiny. It’s better to take the bear complex to the neck than feel that shame.
3… 2… 1… Go!
One rep in, and I owe myself an apology. The weight is just so high. It feels like I’m going to crash at about rep 4.
Just kidding, two reps in and it feels like I’m going to crash at rep 3.
My intention was to go slow. I wanted to take each aspect of the complex and approach it like 5 individual reps. That intention wasn’t aware of the cruelty of exercise. It’s almost like the bar is heavier here. Is the oxygen level lower? Higher? Is there even oxygen here? Why is it so hot? Why do my wrists hurt?
It’s all bad.
New challenges come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes they look like old challenges but feel completely foreign. It wasn’t even a month ago that I had to talk myself off the pretend ledge during a workout, and yet this felt like a new life being stolen from me.
Remember when I said I wasn’t going to drop the bar?
I dropped the bar on rep six.
It hurt, okay? My wrists feel like they were going to break. Everything in my legs has become a giant ball of lactic acid.
And now I gotta do burpees? Leg raises? And freakin’ wall balls?
I’m taking my freakin’ time I’ll tell you that.
9 burpees isn’t too hard, especially when you break it up into 3 sets. But when it’s accompanied with abs and wall balls… burpees feel like someone has ordered themselves a soft, soggy-middled voodoo doll of you and are completely intending on ruining your life.
I take my time, because I’m patient (ahem, out of shape) and head back into the bear complex.
Second Set of Bear Complex
The bar doesn’t feel quite as heavy.
I’m doing what it takes to protect my wrists. Rather than taking my time between each movement in the complex, I’m basically doing a squat clean into two thrusters. It’s not necessarily easier, but it’s faster. I feel less pressure on my ol’ raggedy bones to perform.
If you’re diving into new challenges, be sure to wear new underwear. This pair has started to ride up into my BH like a Reebok thong.
Anyways. Where was I?
Hitting rep 11, feeling much better. The reps aren’t fast, by nature. I’m pausing in between each thruster. Holding in the hang clean position an extra second before reseting for the next power clean. It could be worse, but only if that darn flaming cat came back.
I’m able to make it the whole way to Rep 17 before stepping away from the bar for a little.
These burpees are starting to wear on me. I like to think I’m efficient with the movement, but really I’m just slow. I chip away, but only because I’ve tricked myself into thinking it’s better than burning out.
So, I slowly burn out.[ahem, please take a moment to picture the flaming cat again. But listen, not a cat on fire. That’s sick. I’m talking about a cat that’s like a super hero who is surrounded by flames. He’s like Johnny Storm, but cat]
9 reps x 3 sets of wall balls is beastly. It’s just enough reps for you to finish, but too many reps for you to feel happy returning to the bar.
Third set of Bear Complex… please be the last.
What a predicament. At one end, I really want to just finish. But that means I have to be able to do a lot of reps, which means I have to conserve energy and not pop my top too fast. On the other end, I have to hurry up and finish before I start seeing visions of a flaming cat running on a barbell like one of those guys who balances on logs.
I take my team with each rep. Patiently suffering through one of the many new challenges I’ve undertaken this week.
At rep 25, my legs start to shake. I’m not dropping the bar, though. There isn’t enough pain found in this level of exhaustion that could allow me to continue forward into another dreaded intermission. I need to pause, rest with the bar. I’m in a hang clean position because my traps are completely normal. It’s everthing else that hurts.
Danny Tanner moment
“When you’re in the midst of any new challenge, rely on your strengths and don’t be afraid to suffer quietly with a low whimper.”
Sidebar: if you want to ruin your childhood, watch Bob Saget’s standup. Woof.
I did the final 13 reps unbroken, slower than molasses in January.
Totally worth it.
Welcome to FNX.
And back to the gym.
Say hello to my new life.