My name is Mathias and I scale workouts. I am not ashamed or sad to say that, but full of pride, because that is who I am. For now! What I am able to do now was unthinkable and frankly physically impossible 2 years ago. Let me tell you about my story.
I have always been a big guy. I never felt comfortable in my own body. Did I try to change that? Yes, I have tried. The list is long, and includes soccer, basketball, hockey, and American football. But I quit all of them soon after starting as I neither felt included nor supported at all. And what comes of a life of inactivity and obesity? Right, health issues. At the age of 28 I had a stroke. I caused my wife and family a lot of heartache and pain, and I am ashamed to admit I continue to smoke, though I am seriously considering quitting.
My struggles continued for another 9 years until one day, while standing in front of the mirror, unhappy with the way I looked, I decided that enough is enough. Somehow it finally clicked. I bought a treadmill and started walking as my joints didn’t tolerate the strain of running yet. The weight started to come off, and the speed increased. Because I find the physique of long distance runners undesirable, I purchased a weight bench and started lifting. Unfortunately, nobody taught the correct lifting techniques and videos are not particularly helpful. So my joints started to hurt with the wrong techniques. This couldn’t be it either, but I was determined to make something work.
As I had lost a lot of weight with running, my sister was inspired by my success and started Crossfit. After weeks of her never ending “you have to try Crossfit” and numerous Crossfit YouTube video messages, I decided to check it out. This is how I found Crossfit Kaiserslautern.
Initially I was worried about the language barrier, but to stop my sister from annoying me, and to make a change in my life, I signed up for the 101 course. My wife, who I love more than anything, signed me up as a present, and bought a membership for me right away as well. Unsure but full of excitement I showed up to the 101 course. My doubts lessened with each hour. The coaches and other participants were supportive, patient, and kind, even though I was the only German. After successful completion of the 101 course, I had my first official WOD the very next day. I have been hooked ever since. The other athletes in that first class greeted me wholeheartedly; I instantly felt included and welcomed. This feeling has not diminished at all during the more than 360 WODs I have completed thus far.
360 hours in about 20 months since the 101 course. It’s insane, and my enthusiasm has not waned. CFKL is what I needed in my life. It is not just the training that makes our box great. It is the community, the support, and cheering for each other, and the excitement for each other’s accomplishments. Every effort and achievement is celebrated and every little improvement is recognized.
I remember the class cheering for me as I successfully managed my very first 20” box jump. It is motivating to have this kind of support, and I wanted to repeat the success and show I really can do it.
Of course there are set backs as well. For example, as I was mentally struggling to complete a 20” box jump a week later, even though I knew I could, the coach encouraged and cheered me on, reminding me that I had already done it and that I can do it. And I did it!
The coaches at CFKL are a league of their own. You can tell they are passionate about coaching, and that it’s not just a job for them. During all my WODs they never tire of correcting my technique. I don’t know how often I make the same mistake over and over again, and how often I have thought my squats are low enough, just to be told to squat lower. It doesn’t matter how (un)athletic one is, the coaches are always there to assist and help. They are available outside of class as well, giving tips and advice. It is obvious they care about their members and their fitness journeys.
However, it is more than just the training that makes CFKL special: it is the community aspect. It shows in everything from BBQs, Christmas parties, and spontaneous meet ups at the park or pool. There is a true sense of community that is fun, and you can also find help if you need it, for example for moving, tools, translations, or help getting to know the area. It is so much fun to be part of this community!
360 WODs and numerous hours outside of classes and I am as motivated and excited as I was in the beginning. Even with set backs and when feeling down the class and coaches pick you up. It makes this a very special place. I look forward to many many more WODs here at CFKL, and am excited where my fitness journey will lead. But one thing is for sure: I will always give my best. I want to reassure the coaches that I don’t intentionally mess up my technique so that you have to correct me. I am old and forgetful; well, my body anyways. Thank you for everything. Stay as you are and I will stay with you. Let’s continue with the training so that one day I can say “Hello: My name is Mathias and I RX workouts”. See you all in the box and outside of class!