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How being IN the box can get you to think OUTSIDE the box:

I am not sure what book I was reading or what I was doing which made me develop this idea.  I can tell you, though, that it is not totally original. I cannot, however, tell you what the source is, but I can tell you when coupled with the idea of CrossFit, it changed my view on life in general.  

From past posts, maybe you have come to the realization I was a “meat head” at one point in my life. I won’t deny this.  I was the guy in the gym doing curls in the mirror, headphones blasted, and not paying attention to a soul.  I was a person lifting among objects, which included other gym goers.  I lived my life this way, not selfishly; just oblivious to the needs of the many compared to my own needs.  I guess that sounds somewhat selfish, but take a deep look into yourself and decide if you do the same.  Here are some examples:

Do you take up more space than you need to avoid people sitting near you?

Do you leave your towel, water bottle, or other personal items on a piece of equipment while you do something else so that someone doesn’t jump in?  

Do you sit in the front seat of a bus, plane, or other form of public transportation instead of filling in from the back?  

The examples could go on but I do not want to make this post too long.  Here is the basic premise of this non-original idea: Are you a person living among objects or a person living among people?  

I remember walking into a CrossFit gym or “Box” for the first time.  At 6’3” 250lbs and lean, I was pretty large. I started questioning my decision.  Questions like: What if I can’t do it and what if I look stupid?  Were on repeat through my mind.  On the outside my shoulder were depressed and my scaps retracted. I was all that is man out the outside, but inside I felt like a child.  It was one of the scariest experiences I have had. I was putting aside my previously conceived notions of CrossFit.  I was disregarding all of my previous lifting experiences.  Little did I know I was about to have a life changing experience, an experience which changed my perspective, and an experience which made me a person among people…possibly for the first time.

CFO Christmas Wrapping Party
CFO Christmas Wrapping Party 2015

Before this moment, I had never done a group class. I had never lifted with more than two people, and even with those two people, talk was minimal.  The first thing I noticed in the class was no one wore headphones, people were talking, high fiving, laughing, and seemed genuinely happy.  There were no scowls, downward eyes, mirrors, or judgement.  I was introduced to everyone and was met with gazes of understanding and openness.  Empathy to a point I have never felt before.  I felt like every single person could see past my outward expression and knew exactly what was going through my mind.  This was the first step to being a person among people.  

The class did not go well for me.  Overhead squats would become my demise.  Years of lifting had left me with a lack of mobility, to the point that it was embarrassing.  Something happened mid WOD (the high intensity portion of the workout), an older woman told me I was doing great and to keep going.  I had already scaled to a PVC pipe for the overhead squat, and I was still two rounds behind everyone else. My lungs were on fire, and I started to smile.  Smile?  In a gym? What the hell was happening to me?  Right then all of my preconceived fears were washed away.  I was not an object to the other gym members. I was a person.  I was not an obstacle in their way, I was someone who needed support, and they saw this and provided it.  

This was my first step in a journey to my current outlook.  I am now someone who has changed his perspective on life because of stepping into a “Box.”  Everybody has needs, wants, fears, and regrets.  Everyone feels the pain of self-doubt when starting something new.  Everyone is a person plagued with the rocky road of life and it took me stepping into a “Box” to think outside of the box.  I will fill the bus from the back, I will leave a seat open next to me (your choice if you want to sit there), and I will donate my time, money, strength, shoulder, viewpoint, ear, or anything else to help a fellow person out.  I will even share a story about my jaded point of view in the past, my fears, and how much CrossFit has changed my life to anyone willing to read or listen.  No one is perfect and it is a constant struggle to be a person among people and is a goal that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Not a goal which should ever be given up on, and one worth every uncomfortable moment.  

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Sean Manion: “I did bicep curls and bench press for days”

2016-04-28-12.19.28Brief personal history and journey towards beginning your CrossFit journey:

It all started as a kid, just being active and playing outside all the time. I played basketball, football, and soccer in high school. I took a weight lifting class and was hooked. I did bicep curls and bench press for days. (I still like doing them when Ben’s not watching) During and after college I worked out religiously with a bodybuilder who showed me programming and bodybuilding splits. I loved it but I felt like something was missing and it was kind of boring. I met Katie in 2012 and all she kept talking about was CrossFit. She would say “I’m going to do 50 double unders, 20 toes to bar and 10 HSPU RX, wanna do it?” I wasn’t sure what language she was speaking, but it sounded interesting. I was very skeptical, and it wasn’t till I tried it at the gym she was working out at that I realized it was one hell of a workout.

What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?

I relocated back to where my family lived after being a Police Officer for two years. I started doing real estate and looking for a gym to attend since I knew fitness would still be an aspect of my life. I wanted to check out CrossFit Oshkosh first because I really wanted to try it. I emailed Austin and he said he could meet me the next day.

Your first impression of CrossFit Oshkosh?

My first time at CrossFit Oshkosh was July 2015, Austin was amid full beard fever. He showed me the Olympic Lifts and went through basic strength movements. Then I did my first workout, I thought I was at boot camp and loved it! It brought that competitive feeling that I had not felt since high school. I was hooked. It was intense, but I was not intimidated, due to everyone being so welcoming. I was used to the headphones going in and people barley making eye contact and only speaking to someone asking, “How many more sets you have?” Here I could be myself, work hard, cheer on others, and then feel dead but great and the same time.

What was your biggest hurdle since starting?

Well if you haven’t noticed or don’t know me, I’m the guy that cramps up a lot. A LOT. It’s really annoying, I’ve gone to numerous doctors and it doesn’t go away. I usually just laugh it off, but it can be frustrating. CrossFit takes a lot of mental toughness and I constantly have to tell myself to keep going and keep moving. It always helps to have the coaches pushing us. I struggle sometimes to keep pushing. I just have to stay focused.

What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?

It is by far the team aspect and comradery. We hold each other accountable and push each other that extra bit. I’ve gained so many new friends that I hang out with both in and out of the gym. All the coaches truly care about making you a better person both mentally and physically. It’s nice that CrossFit can do that. Working out alone sucks. Period.

What are your current goals in CrossFit?

I’d love to master all the movements. Currently on the radar are double-unders and muscle ups. I’ve recently learned to focus on one movement at a time. I want to lose fat and gain muscle. Just get bigger and stronger. I’d love to possibly get my L1 and open my own gym someday.

What is something we don’t know about you?

I’ve been to Australia, London, and Greece. I broke my back in 2007. I can play 5-6 different instruments.

 

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