Category Archives: Stories From the Gym

Who Am I Looking At?!

Who am I looking at?

Charlie Sims

My younger brother always makes fun of me for my memory. I can remember certain things as clear as day, but other memories slip away almost completely. He seems to be able to remember the smallest details of experiences we shared when we were little kids. It’s weird. He remembers the date. He remembers the clothes he was wearing. He remembers strange supplementary details like scores of football games happening on the same day. I feel pretty accomplished to remember the experiences and maybe who was President at the time…

That is until a memory comes back to me in a flash. At that point, it’s almost like I’m seeing it on a giant movie screen in my mind.

Last night, we gathered together as a gym for the release of CrossFit Games Open workout 16.4. This is a weekly ritual for us during the Open. Dave Castro, the Director of the CrossFit Games, announces the workout, and immediately afterward, a couple super star Athletes complete the workout. But after we watch that, select members of our gym have a chance of being the main event. It’s exciting, and fun, and it gives our members a chance to be the star at least for one night.

Hollis is a brand new mom to a handsome little boy. She’s strong and confident, yet it blends well with her quiet humility. She is the goal and inspiration to so many people in our gym.

Well, Hollis was one of our competitors throwing down last night at the Reveal Party, going up against 4 men. Each of which deserve to be written about in their own right. But this one is about Hollis.

I couldn’t help but compare the Hollis last night to the one who walked into our gym over 3 years ago. Thanks to my crappy memory, I can’t remember enough of the details from that day to paint a clear picture, but I do remember that one of her first workouts was “Helen”, and consisted of running, pullups and and kettlebell swings. Hollis mostly walked, used our smallest kettlebell, and we had to give her extra bands for her pullups. She walked out discouraged, and almost gave up on CrossFit all together. In fact, she did quit. She quit for at least a few months, but eventually came back to our Foundations class and hasn’t stopped since.

Hollis is different today than she was then. She not only looks completely transformed, but she acts different. We’ve already discussed her humble confidence. But, at least according to me, it seems like she is a much happier person.

16.4 is a 13:00 AMRAP of a long Chipper, and getting through it is a pretty huge accomplishment. It’s 55 Deadlifts at 155 pounds for the women, 55 Wall-Ball Shots, 55 Calories on the rower, and 55 Handstand Push-ups. And Hollis was asking me before if she should do the scaled since she still struggles with Handstand Push-ups. We eventually decided that since she is strong in the Deadlift, that she should give it a shot to see how well she can do.

We saw a competitor. We saw an athlete. We saw a mom. And we saw a friend fight through 55 Deadlifts, 55 Wall Ball shots, and almost 55 Calories on the Rower.

Hollis, You make me proud!

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Charlie Sims

We were in the middle of Friday Night Lights which is a weekly party we hold at the gym during the annual CrossFit Games Open competition. This year’s second workout, 16.2, had been announced and was proving to be an opportunity for us to come face to face with our own heart, and this Friday night, CrossFit Regeneration was filled with excitement, fire, and struggle.

The workout consists of a series of checkpoints, which if the athlete completes the required task, they unlock an opportunity to continue. If they don’t, their workout stops.

With each checkpoint, the athlete is required to do 25 toes to bar, and 50 jump rope double unders. Once this is completed there is a series of weights to be lifted using a squat clean. The weight increases with each round while the required reps decrease. More details can be found HERE.

I don’t brag on my sweet wife enough.

She’s my best friend, my partner, and my love. She impacts how I see the world around me more than any other person I know. I can’t imagine my life without her.

Friday night, she became my inspiration.

Kari had been dealing with a bit of shoulder pain for a couple days and wasn’t totally sure how it would hold up during all the toes to bar during the workout, so she spent a lot of extra attention on it during her warm-up, and I remember her saying, “I just wanna get into it and see how it goes. If it hurts, I’ll quit.”

So the clock started, and she had 4 minutes to get through 25 toes to bar, of which she handled easily, and when she grabbed her jump rope, she smiled at me. Game on!

Toes to Bar and Double Unders are among the things that Kari is especially gifted at. So, for her, the challenge would be all about the Squat Cleans. Her lifetime max is 140 pounds. The weights for the workout would be pretty heavy for her. But she methodically popped off the 15 reps at 85 pounds one at a time, and finished the first checkpoint with plenty of time to spare.

90 reps in.

She then quickly dispatched with the 25 toes to bar, and 50 double unders and came to her bar for 13 squat cleans at 115 pounds. Just a few reps here would be a pretty good performance for her, but she started knocking out one rep after another. Each one looked like it might crush her, and a couple did.

imageAnd with only 15 seconds left before the time cap, she had 2 reps to go. The whole gym was screaming at her to get going. She fought one up. 7 seconds left. She grabbed the bar, heaved it up, caught it in the squat, and fought. We celebrated.

178 reps in.

Kari’s reward for her victory?

Twenty-five more toes to bar. These were a bit tougher but she managed them fine.

Fifty more double unders. Unbroken as usual.

She had about 30 seconds to try and clean 145 pounds. My sweet, beautiful, wife staggered to the bar, and pulled with everything she had. It was a beautiful clean pull, but no squat clean.

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Afterward she was laughing. “You guys were yelling at me to pick up the bar, but I could barely pick up myself”.

My wife is my hero.

She didn’t win the workout. Across the world, many women finished that round and moved on to two more rounds and even heavier barbells. An impressive feat. But last Friday night Kari Sims stood over them all.

That Was Unexpected

That was Unexpected.

Charlie Sims

I walked into my office to find an actual newspaper sitting on my desk yesterday. I don’t know who left it there, but it was a section of the Wall Street Journal called “What Your Workout Says About You”, by Rachel Bachman. I found it online as well.  You can read it HERE.

I found myself reading through it expecting to see something about how the traditional “Globo Gyms” are struggling due to the growth of small community clubs and gyms like ours. I was wrong. It is true that these small gyms are growing in popularity, but my assumption wasn’t.

“Boutique fitness has made huge gains in recent years as people seek out more specialized, personalized workouts. Despite that popularity, though, many people keep joining traditional health clubs. Gym-goers represent 88% of new fitness-center members in the Cardlytics sample, up from 86% a year earlier.” – Rachel Bachman

Granted, her article was an observation on spending habits of people involved in differing fitness traditions, but I found it very noteworthy. Here’s my interpretation of her conclusions.

We’re winning.

More people are doing some kind of exercise. The arrow is pointing up. Health is on the rise.

I opened a CrossFit gym because I truly believe that CrossFit is the most effective, and most fun way to get fit and stay healthy. I wanted to help people. I still do. I’m not necessarily on any kind of vendetta against Globo Gym. I just want more people to be fit, healthy, and happy. If they choose to go to Spin class, that’s their call. I think it’s boring, but Spin class is substantially better than the couch.

CrossFitters are notorious for “Sneezing” to use Seth Godin’s term for people who spread the “idea-virus” to others. We can’t shut up about CrossFit. I don’t really see this with other fitness traditions. It may be that I don’t run in those circles anymore, so I don’t see it, or it may be that it’s really not there. Similar to how I don’t know more than a handful of people who see Donald Trump as a legitimate option for President. Apparently, they’re out there, I just don’t know them…

Here’s what I do know: CrossFit is expensive and Globo Gym isn’t.

If most people are like me, they think they can figure it out on their own, so they’ll piddle around in a less-than-ideal environment until they realize that they want the real thing.

More people are interested in getting in shape than last year. This is good news. Perhaps it is a shift in our culture. I like to think that I had something to do with this. Who knows for sure? I just hope that they don’t waste too much time piddling.