Our very own Mariam Nowar set off to explore the CrossFit craze at CrossFit Stars so that you get to experience the workout from the comfort of your couches.
CrossFit has come along to show all the fad diets and the cardio-maniacs that, with spirit and enthusiasm, your getting-in-shape starts all the way up in your head. With the company of never-ending energetic teammates and top notch motivational coaches, the CrossFit lifestyle can easily become an addiction. I had the pleasure of going through the five stages of CrossFit grief before setting one foot on the green grassy fields at CrossFit Stars, where I met with the Incredible Hulk of a CrossFit founder, Ramy Saleh, along with four trainers, where I then realised that CrossFit held much more meaning than burnt calories.
The spirit of the CrossFit squad radiates through every inch of our bodies and triggers along inner energy sources we did not know existed. CrossFit may send shivers of fear amongst the unfit and the smokers, yet it has shattered that stereotype. Every time we thought that we couldn't do one more rep, our coach told us we could, and so we did. With our coaches' loud "You can do it," "Get up," and "Just one more," energy seeped right through. Chuckles welcomed those who gave up and fell to the ground, who then laughed it all off and started to break through that wall of surrender.
The hidden stamina poured over with each sit-up, and suddenly, the weights we held started to feel much lighter. It occurred to me that I hadn't known exactly how much I was lifting. I took a quick glance at the bell-shaped dark orb of heaviness and found the number "8" engraved on it. I could not believe that I had done five sets of 50 swings between my legs up to my chest with these little buggers. I also went through a grilling set of Sumo Squats that had my feet wider than my shoulders, the weights between my legs, and my knees bending like a mad flamingo. I felt like a giant Japanese wrestler who had very feminine thighs.
My months of chip-munching on the couch without that much movement led to me falling behind many times, while the long-term participants seemed to know their way around. Despite the muscles tightening, and my smoker-lungs' complaints, I found myself diving right into what seemed like an hour of planking, until I lost count of the sets and actually started to enjoy that spark of strain.
Even at the very end, when our bodies gave out and we could feel our muscles reaching an imaginary limit, we were able to discover a whole new altitude where a fellow teammate's growl of power helped us to push through. They actually gave us that extra propelling jolt that a box of Snickers or a river of energy drinks would never have.
I fed on the infectious energy and kept going to the point of me questioning our fellow coach, Ahmed Ezzat, multiple times when he exclaimed that the workout was over and it was time to stretch those heated muscles. "Are you guys sure it's over? I don't think I'm done yet," I repeated, until the lights started to go out.
I found everyone around me to be a lot more flexible and good at stretching than I'll ever be. I struggled to imitate our trainer with a twist lunge that had my head between my knees in what I found a very not-calming position for a person who isn't made out of clay. I figured it was due to the fact that my thigh gap has not arrived yet in the mail, and I'm still as stiff as the monstrous Thing from Fantastic Four.
With the lights off, it marked the official end of the day down at CrossFit Stars. The smell of fresh victory and accomplishment filled the air as everyone got in their cars and drove off to a long night's rest.
Despite the urging temptation to let the warm duvets devour me alive the next morning, it was evident that CrossFit had already left its marks on me as I got up to face yet another eventful day. Climbing Mount Everest would have been easier, but it didn't seem as hard as I would have considered it earlier, before actually giving it a shot. I found myself influenced both physically and emotionally into believing that I could always do one more push-up, or two, or ten. For some reason, CrossFit's insanity was immediately missed, and it became this healthy habit I felt I really needed to keep up. I honestly can't wait till the next time I get to unlock yet another level of human potential.
Shoot by MO4 Network's MO4 Productions. Photography by Mido Ayman.