I had a pretty amazing experience this week.

Some of you may know I went through a four-years-long divorce that just ended late last year. That’s a life-changing event. And as that extended train-wreck got under way, I did what many guys in that position do: I got my butt back into the gym, both to sort myself out physically and to get my mind right.

The gym-rat experience turned out to be a really good fit for me! In my late forties and now early fifties, I’ve achieved the best physical condition of my life, even better than when I was in the Marine Corps in my early twenties. It’s amazing what you can do as a grown-up. šŸ¤£

Through most of that period, I was traveling a LOT, first as a consultant, and now living overseas on Bali. So I have seen the insides of a LOT of gyms. And now that I’m a few years into this experience, I’m pretty accustomed to being able to walk into a new gym and feelingā€¦ at home. I’m not a newbie.

Or at least, not until this week.

On Monday morning, for the first time in my life, I walked into a CrossFit gym. There are several on Bali, but Wanderlust is the biggest one and just happens to be a two-minute drive from our new house, so it’s kind of my new gym by default. I had no idea what to expect, and I didn’t really think about it. I just walked in.

A little background on CrossFitā€¦ these guys are all about functional strength. They have a group training program that looks like a cross between circuit training and Olympic powerlifting. Those videos people flipping water-filled tractor tires or whacking them with sledge hammers? Probably CrossFitters. The little pony-tailed cheerleader type deadlifting twenty reps up to four times her body weight: also a CrossFitter.

If you look hard enough you’ll probably find some criticism about the CrossFit approach, but there’s no arguing with their results.

And the results areā€¦ did you ever see the movie 300? An army of muscular Spartans with biceps the size of grapefruit and perfect abs?

Yah. Those guys.

Yah, those guys. Walk into most gyms and you might see one or two people like that. I mean it’s motivational, but look aroundā€¦ those guys are one in a hundred at best, right? Motivational, but maybe not super ATTAINABLE for somebody with a day job, three kids, and a mortgage.

Well, at this CrossFit gym, practically EVERYBODY looks like King Leonidas or his queen. Men, women, young, oldā€¦ I spent the last week working out next to a 55-year-old woman who can do more dead-hang pull-ups in three minutes than I can do in a day. She’s not even the oldest person in the room, and by NO means the strongest!

You get a score after every workout, which they post in plain view. I walked into this gym feeling pretty confidentā€¦ and my scores are so low it would be charity to call me the anchor man. I am TOTALLY a newbie again. Holy cow. It’s brilliant!

A couple of points here.

Firstā€¦ humility, man. It doesn’t matter who you are, there’s always somebody stronger, or richer, or better looking than you are. If you haven’t met that person, you gotta get out more. If you can find a whole building full of them, that’s probably where you should hang out!

Second point. Want to get strong, fast? This CrossFit program is amazing. If physical strength has never been your thing, you will be ASTONISHED at just how strong you can get, and how fast you can get there, working out just an hour a day. Half the people I worked out with this week have been there less than three months, and I have NEVER seen results this consistently good.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or where you are physically. It’s good to be strong. You have a different experience of the world. And the CrossFit program makes real strength accessible to literally anyone, in about an hour a day.

Click here to find a CrossFit gym near you!

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  1. I picked up Crossfit 9 years ago at the age of 45. Like you, I enjoyed fast gains across all modes: strength, mobility, aerobic & aerobic fitness. But along with that, I was getting beat up, mostly joint soreness, but connective tissues as well. A year and a half ago I started doing programming done by a former Crossfit Games athlete, Marcus Filly. He take a lot of the Crossfit movements and applies a much more structured approach, using strict form, tempo, structural balance, and mobility. I’m still in the same kind of shape, with even more variety, and not beat up any more. Give him a look:

    Dave USNA 89

    1. Oh yah.

      I think a lot of this is up to the individual gym… the requirements for CrossFit affiliation are not that high, so you get a real mix of outcomes. The Wanderlust staff is actually really good on form… but you have to ASK. If you insist on being a moron, they will 100% allow you to hurt yourself.

      I go in phases, but I’ve been training reasonably hard for about half my life. At 51 I’ve learned the hard way that I just don’t recover from injuries as fast as I used to. Also at 51 I find I don’t really give a rip what some musclebound toddler thinks of me. So the upshot is: the CrossFit moves are new to me, so I can, will, and DO train with lady weights until my form is PERFECT. Then I move up. I won’t tempt fate by asserting I NEVER get injured, but it is thankfully rare.

      Anyway the pink kettlebells match my socks. šŸ¤£