I moved to South Bend to begin a new job at Notre Dame. I had crossfitted before in Minneapolis for three years and I knew crossfit was the only way to achieve a maximal level of fitness so I was eager to pick right up in my new home as soon as possible. My only objective was to achieve a 200 pound back squat and since CrossFit South Bend had a class dedicated solely to strength and conditioning, it was a great fit. Very few gyms have the capacity to have that kind of specialized class, with the vast majority of crossfit gyms having only enough space and equipment for the workout of the day.
My first impression of CrossFit South Bend was that it was chaotic and there was way too much stuff going on! I came from a much, much smaller gym in Minneapolis that only had enough space for a strictly capped 12 person class to complete the workout of the day. CrossFit South Bend is nothing like that. When I started my strength and conditioning class, we had our class going on, another class was doing the workout of the day, the weightlifting class was doing its thing, and then several people were there for open gym. I was extremely overwhelmed from this radical difference where I was used to just one thing going on at the gym at one time.
Over time, I realized how lucky I was to have a specific strength-focused class where I could concentrate on my strength goals without being forced to do the WOD. That kind of specialization cannot exist at a small gym that only has the capacity for one class during each time slot doing the workout of the day. Period.
My first accomplishment at CFSB was my first lifting PR in the gym. I don’t even remember exactly what it was now. I think I deadlifted 225 when my previous PR had been 220. This was a big deal for me because like I said, I came from three years of crossfit experience and about 6 months of pretty focused lifting training so I was not a newbie. I was worried that it would be very difficult for me to make any lifting progress. When I got my first PR, it was a big deal and a sign that the strength and conditioning programming truly does work.
I am still working toward my 200 LB back squat goal but I am close! I hit 195, which is a 30 LB improvement over a year. I am very excited about this given that I worked for months to bust past 165 and couldn’t do it until I started CFSB’s strength program.
I am also working on making my back squat scream even screamier.
I could say my 195 back squat PR or 255 deadlift PR but what I will really remember forever are not those things. The other regular strength training class participants are very funny, not easily offended people and one of them came up with a hilariously off-color term for describing a difficult workout. We use it all the time now and have found a way to describe it in varying degrees. It makes class fun and reminded me that you have to have a sense of humor to power through strength training because you will with 100% certainty have bad days in the gym.