My doctor says I need to get my heart moving more. (“Work on diet and exercise,” is how he put it in my medical file, emailed days after my last checkup.) So in addition to calling a cease-fire to my two-burger a week habit I’ve been on the hunt for a new exercise routine. And because I’ve been on a hunt for a new exercise routine I read with special interest an early draft of “You’ll Never Sweat Alone.”
It’s not that all the workouts documented by senior editor Allison Williams were news to me. Before November 2015, when we moved our headquarters from the waterfront to the city’s retail core, Seattle Met’s office sat next to a CrossFit gym.
Every day was a game of Dodge the Sweaty Human.
Through the window of the gym, or “box” in CrossFit nomenclature, we spied men and women inside torturing kettlebells, but out on the sidewalk that paralleled Western Ave they lugged weights—iron disks the size of truck tires—or turned actual truck tires end over end, up and down the path. You’d sally north for lunch and it was like Space Invaders—slow but menacing creatures coming at you, creeping down your field of vision and seemingly poised to release their payload any second. The sled was worse. The sled, either pushed or pulled by a CrossFit acolyte strapped to a harness like a beast of burden, screeched along the concrete, and it was step to the curb or become sled roadkill. And always there was the Voice. The Voice told the space invaders, “Don’t stop!” The Voice told the beasts of burden, “You can do it!” The Voice was a sinewy, pectorally endowed man, though not always the same sinewy, pectorally endowed man—a perfect specimen, a testament to never stopping, to believing that you can in fact do it.
Oh how we laughed at it all. The militant chanting. The superhero physiques. The, dare I say, cultish scenes playing out on the pavement.
But now I’m not so sure. Barre, spinning, Pilates, and, yes, CrossFit, as described by Williams in the feature seem like just the sorts of workouts this city needs—social enough to drag us from our oft-noted antisocial shells and intriguing enough to convince us to heed the doc’s advice. Then there’s Krav Maga, which in addition to sounding like a Star Wars villain name, is pretty badass. A workout that incorporates self-defense techniques developed by the Israeli Defense Forces?
Just the thing for the next time you walk past a CrossFit box.