Updated 26 August 2014

Fat like me? Brandon fights the pain

Health24 user Brandon Faber, who weighs 120kg, has completed his first week of CrossFit and shares his experience.

35-year-old Brandon who has recently joined CrossFit 360 Vida to fight his flab has made it through one week of squats, lunges and more. 

Read Brandon's full story: 120kg and CrossFitting!

After the first week, Brandon writes:

Fat Like Me? Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

This may be my last communique with the living, breathing, world.

My CrossFit “introductory sessions” have not exactly gone as planned or, rather, as I imagined. The (misguided) picture I had painted in my mind was one of subtle, gentle, stepped acclimatisation to the world of fitness. . .Error!

It was a chilly Joburg evening just short of 7pm when my wife, Leila, and I walked into the CrossFit 360 Vida studio in Fourways, Johannesburg.

Read: What happens at CrossFit?

Into the valley of shadow and doubt we crept, woefully under-prepared for what was to follow.

Mr. Miyagi?

I knew I was knee-deep in it about 2 minutes into our “welcome session”.

CrossFit is all about form, you see, and doing the exercises with the right form not only helps you avoid injury but also delivers the results you are looking for, faster.

Read: CrossFit the sport of fitness

We started by simply practicing the humble squat – and holding a “starting” position while instructors, Will and Diane, checked that everyone’s knees were bent at the right angle, that our hips were out and our feet positioned correctly.

While they examined our posture, my legs started trembling, shaking and burning like the fires of hell. “If only I was at Nkandla,” I thought, “I could douse these evil flames with a cooling dip in Number One’s fire pool.”

Alas, there I stood, trembling like a baby antelope, with “Mother Will” egging me on to walk on my own.

The rest of the session consisted mainly of practicing many different types of squats that assist with weight-training . . . albeit not at this early stage. “First we train form, then we lift weights, Brandon-san.”

“This is SPARTAAA!”

I was already gasping for air and sweating like Robert Mugabe at a gay pride parade when it was announced that our intro training would end with a series of exercises known as “baseline” – which sets a benchmark against which to measure progress.

Immediately (I could swear) I heard the ominous galloping of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as the clock counted down to an exercise combo that included a jog/hip-clutching walk twice around the building (roughly 500m), as well as 40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups and something else that I cannot remember because I’m pretty sure I blacked out before I got to it.

After we were done, W&D gave us a bit of a talk down – which was nice for the rest of the group who politely sat upright, listening to these pearls of wisdom, while I lay sprawled out on the ground like a Northern Fur Sea Lion Bull after completing a furious round of enthusiastic mating – barely breathing and turning 50 shades of purple.

Somewhere in the strong presence of bright light and angelical singing I heard my name being called and could make out the faint outline of my wife (and mate, Phill, who’s also a CrossFit trainer) looking down upon me with growing concern.

After a few minutes I managed to get up, a trembling mass, and an apology for the man I used to be.

Stumbling around like a dockworker looking for love I found a cold seat on the bonnet of our car before getting a little sick in the bushes.

Yes, really.

“I’ll Be Back”

As I said, CrossFit introductory sessions have not exactly gone as planned or, rather, as I imagined.

It’s infinitely harder and pushes you further than you could ever imagine. It’s geared to test your limits and (probably) question your sanity.

However, once you regain a semblance of normality and can breathe without sounding like the end is nigh, you have to admit – damn, there’s a strange touch of something fun about it all.

Am I mad?

I think you have to be, just a little bit.

Read more:

10 exercise motivators
Morning exercise is best
From 105kg to bikini model


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