When Tyler and I met last year for the first time we both had a little bit of a surprise. I was surprised by how much weight he had lost. He was surprised by how much weight I had lost and that I hadn’t cleaned all of the blood off the ceiling from my previous guest. I know there’s no excuse for a dirty dungeon when you’re expecting a new vict..guest. Yes, a vict guest.

Back to the weight loss though. It was a funny, mirrored moment the way we both did a double take because we obviously expected something a little different. In addition to sense of humor and love of webcomics it seems we shared a desire to get into better shape and a certain laziness about updating profile pictures on Facebook.

After losing a lot of weight, thanks in large part to the advice/eating plan of my friend Alec. I had kind of fallen off the wagon . I was able to keep the weight I had lost off but wasn’t really losing any more. While I was happy with the progress I had made, I really wanted to go even further. So, I joined a Windy City Crossfit and further is definitely the name of the game when it comes to crossfit.

For those of you who live under a rock and haven’t heard about it check This out. It’s a little bit intense the way Shatner’s acting is a little bit stilted. I had two big worries about doing this. First, was I even in good enough shape to start doing something like this? Second, what were the people going to be like?

My first concern proved not to be a problem. The trainers who teach the classes are more than happy to work with people and provide alternate exercises if you can’t quite do this. I’m usually the slowest kid in class lifting the lightest weight but I’m making progress. Which brings me to worry number two, the people.

I’ve joined other gyms in the past and had plenty of experience with meatheads/asshole jocks in the past. When I joined a gym that actually does fitness competitions, this is what I was expecting. There are definitely people there that look like they could squat one of those machines but they’re actually pretty friendly. It goes beyond that really. Most of them are very encouraging.

As I said before, I’m generally the lowest and the slowest in the class. There are times when we get paired up with someone else to share a bar for a certain exercise complex. When this happens I’m generally lifting significantly less than whoever I’m with. Despite this, I’ve never gotten any snide comments, rolled eyes, or exasperated sighs about changing the weights each time. They’ve definitely pushed me a little to help me progress but it’s been encouraging not derogatory.

Speaking of encouraging, most of the workouts revolve around how quickly you can finish the circuit. This is one of the reasons I like crossfit. It’s fast. You get there, do the warm up, do the workout of the day, and you’re done. Since you’re trying to finish as quickly as possible, the people that are in better shape finish sooner than those of us who aren’t yet paragons of fitness. As I said before, when you’re done with the workout that’s it. You’re done.

The thing that absolutely blew me away the first time it happened (and it happens regularly) is that most of these people didn’t just leave when they finished. They waited for the rest of us to finish. Some of them even clapped, cheered us on, or shouted encouragement. Then after the class was over a few actually came over, gave me a high five, and said, “good workout.”

I’m not sure I can accurately describe how much that meant. It was a far cry from the guy snickering as he asked if you were done with the bench or having a couple colossi looming over you like you’re just wasting their time. It’s amazing what a difference something like that can make. So, to everyone at Windy City who has helped, encouraged, and made me feel welcome I just want to say, “Thank You.” Instead of just joining a gym, I actually belong to one now.