The first time I drove by the sign for CrossFit Upheaval, I couldn’t help but smile. It was the first box I had spotted in my new neighborhood, and at the time, my life was certainly in upheaval. Self-inflicted upheaval, but upheaval all the same.
For several weeks I forced myself to look away when I drove by that sign. I had sworn off CrossFit indefinitely. With our recent relocation from Tennessee to Texas, I felt as if we were living on the edge of disaster. I had no job, no friends and very limited resources. There was no way in hell I was going to pay for a gym membership for a sport that often left my self-esteem more bruised than strengthened. No. Nope.
I tried different methods of exercise. I tried to find a (cheaper, less intense, un-life-consuming) new way to get my fix. And eventually found myself pulling into the parking lot of CrossFit Upheaval.
When I think back to my earlier days of CrossFit – when PRs were plentiful and I was just so happy with this new wondrous thing I’d found – I always think of a particular Saturday at CrossFit West Nashville. There was a group of us that started meeting at noon on Saturdays to tackle more advanced movements, heavier lifting and competition practice. We called it “High Noon.” High Noon planted the seed for what developed into an official competition class, but at the time it was just a group of us who wanted more – more weight, more WODs, more development.
On this particular Saturday in June, the WOD consisted of running, overhead squats and push ups. The back door was open, and the most perfect combination of sunlight and breeze flowed through the box. The music blasted, and the rushing of air in and out of my lungs seemed to be the perfect accompaniment. I was always chasing the other High Nooners. They were faster and stronger than me. I matched them only in spirit and determination. Eventually this would be my undoing, but not on that Saturday.
It didn’t matter I was the last to finish. I did each push up on my toes. I did beautiful overhead squats. I may have PR’d on my run times. All in the sunlight among people I adored.
When I first opened the door to CrossFit Upheaval, I felt that sun again. The spirit had followed me – from different boxes, a different state, through time.
And I knew I was not finished with CrossFit.
So, I’d like to tell you about this new wondrous thing I’ve found.
Introducing CrossFit Upheaval.
Ben and Shannon. The heart of CrossFit Upheaval is its owners, Ben and Shannon Lanz. While you are in their box, you are under their spell. Shannon will have you hanging from bars, swinging on rings, and doing push ups until you want to die – but somehow it all seems super casual because Shannon told you to do it. Ben has the most beautiful handwriting I’ve ever seen on the whiteboard, and this is important because I’m pretty sure that it camouflages how wicked his WODs truly are. I’ve experienced many workouts during my CrossFit life, and the programming at CrossFit Upheaval is hands-down my favorite. Since I’ve been at Upheaval, I’ve never been ashamed to scale. It’s a safe place, full of laughter, sweat and possibility – and it all radiates from Ben and Shannon.
2s Rule. I joined CrossFit in 2013 right before the Nano 3.o was released. I never owned a 2.0, but it was always my favorite of the Nano designs. Well, at Upheaval, 2s are the shoe. And, of course, I had to purchase a pair (or TWO).
Time Caps. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know how much I whine about being slow. And how I hate coming in last (all the freakin’ time). And having 15 people surround me, yelling and cheering, while I finish my damn burpees. It’s pretty much the reason I tried to quit CrossFit. So, I have to profess my newfound love for time caps. I know – I’ve read pros and cons about having a time cap. But I truly think that it’s been life-changing for me to start a WOD knowing that even if I am last, most likely I will only be WODing by myself for a few minutes. In fact, I will credit my notable improvement at beating time caps to the fact that I am not dreading the end of the WOD.
Playtime. At the end of class you will always find someone working on something. If you want your pull ups, Shannon’s moving you through accessory work. If you’re focused on technique, Ben will fine tune your movements. It’s always a whirlwind of activity. Let’s try this! Now try it this way! What about that? Nothing is out of the question, and you always have an opportunity to try something new.
Community. The community at CrossFit Upheaval is a bit unique because they talk about stuff besides CrossFit. I mean, CrossFit is the main topic – always – but there is usually someone talking about something else like books or movies or music or trivia. I find that I know more about my fellow Upheavals than their Fran time.
My Issue. Alright. No box is perfect. And CrossFit Upheaval is no exception. Here it is – my one itty bitty issue: You don’t know what the WOD is until you walk in the door. To be fair, I must add that I am the only person who considers this a bad thing. But not knowing drives me nuts. I am a planner. If I know burpees are going to be in the WOD, I will Google “how to do a burpee” before I go to the box. Even though I’ve done thousands of the damn things, I will still prepare. If it’s running, I will watch a YouTube video of the Pose Method. Toes to bar? Don’t get me started. The other part of this that kills me (again, I’ve discovered I am totally in the minority on this), if I know what the WOD is, I feel like I’m missing out if I don’t do it. With the exception of tire flips and rope climbs, I’m pretty much in love with all CrossFit movements. And if I know there are kettle-bell-swings-box-jumps-wall-balls-even-burpees happening somewhere, I want to be a part of it.
One of the coolest parts of being a CrossFitter is the relationships you make along the way. CrossFit Upheaval is the third box I’ve called home, but I have been incredibly lucky to have experienced such fantastic coaching and programming at each box where I’ve been a member. To this day I can’t swing a kettle bell without thinking of Coach John or do a squat without hearing Coach Dennis grunt “HEELS!” (I am using my heels, dammit.)
I can’t help thinking that with each box, I’ve found myself at the right place at the right time.
And CrossFit Upheaval is no exception.