No 2nd chance to make a 1st impression

22719964835_1e90ac4f9d_o[Adapted from Biznology] Conor Lynch of CrossFit South Arlington had me at hello.  If you want to reel in a new member of your CrossFit gym, it really does come down to harnessing your inner Conor Lynch.

I have been doing everything to get back into shape: started a health and fitness blog, became obsessed with kettlebells, applied for membership at the legendaryPotomac Boat Club, bought a treadmill desk, and even committed to rowing 200,000 meters between November 26 and midnight Christmas Eve as part of the Holiday Challenge.  I met my buddy Miles Fawcett and he told me that he’s committed to CrossFit when he’s not being an awesome dad, husband, and owner of Urban Alarm. He looks great and so does my business partner, Dan Krueger, who might just be the King of CrossFit. Both men are deep in their 40s and look like Greek Gods. So, I thought I would give it a try. So, I hit Google and discovered that CrossFit South Arlington is the closes Box to where I live in Pentagon City.  Of course, I looked for pricing, but the site’s coy. So, I popped a quick note to [email protected]:

Subject: CrossFit-Curious

Hi there,

17006281047_131a6fd3b7_oI have tried to get going on my own KBs and even my own Concept2 but I can’t make a dent.

I am up to 300lbs and am 45 — I would love to join and really commit.

My buddy Dan Krueger and all his friends look like Greek Gods — I am not there yet.

Is there a lot of flexibility if I am not there yet? So that I don’t hurt myself as I get started.

I do have an athletic background: rowing, wrestling, running, skulling, erging.

But right now, I am an old fat bastard.

Are you the box for me? I live really close: Lofts 590, right down the block.



17029399189_5b4af58078_oI emailed CFSA at 9:11 PM on Friday got a response at 4:20 PM on Sunday:


Fantastic introduction.

It was as if I were simultaneously reading an online dating profile and engaged in a battle of riddles with Gollum.

While we initially tried a gym policy of “Greek Gods only, no Fat Bastards allowed”, it turned out to a rather small and unfortunately incestuous group of athletes. Too small a population to run a viable business.

So now we happily teach fundamental technique with an obsessive emphasis on proper posture and position to athletes of all ages and sizes.

There are no benchmarks for speed, strength or skill. We’re open to anyone (no matter how thick their skull or midsection) who wants to learn and can be a friend to the person beside them for an hour.


Consider this a positive reply to your personal ad for physical activity.

How about a first date this Wednesday 9 December at 7:30pm? It’s our small group free class, where you’ll go through the CrossFit equivalent of junior prom with a handful of other folks who awkwardly have no clue what they’re doing?

I’m excited.

Have a great end to your weekend and looking forward to seeing you in here soon.

Conor Lynch

Conor did such a brilliant job responding that I forwarded his charming, funny, and perfectly mirrored response on to my girlfriend just because I feel like I’ve already met my match.  Funny thing: I was really only sniffing around doing my first foray into my CrossFit research. I generally start my research weeks and months before I jump. Well, the trap was set and here’s my response — I was sold. I’m as good as there on Wednesday evening:

18586117214_c7b053b568_oYou’re more charming and funny than I.

I thought only fat, ugly, and old people need to be charming. Bugger.

I accept Wednesday at half 7.

Do I need to wear my Hans and Frans muscle suit? Having a shower will never bother me so that’s not an issue. See you at 7:30PM on Wednesday? Cool.

Do I need to but a complete Rogue and Onnit CrossFit bro wardrobe before coming in?



And then Conor earned his closer coffee with his final response:

22353523612_e9fb85e9f4_oHans and Franz suit would be ideal, as the gym is a drafty, decaying warehouse.  You’ll want a layer to wear while warming up which you can then remove before sexy time the workout starts.

See you at 7:30pm this Wednesday.

Now that’s how it’s done. And I assume that if someone were to contact him all serious and earnest, he might very well respond in more of a businesslike manner with a different sort of encouragement.   His signature says that he’s a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and a CrossFit Kids, Mobility, Football Certified instructor — which makes sense. If you’re good with self-loathing, overweight, aging athletes then you’re probably brilliant with kids!

23452651162_926f73b106_oConer won me at hello because he won me with his personality. He was willing to risk being funny and familiar with someone he doesn’t yet know and it worked for him, at least with me.  In his humor and willingness to play, he made me feel a lot less self-conscious about my body, about my level of fitness, about even my worthiness to join the cult of CrossFit. In his response, he said to me in so many words, “come on in, the water’s fine.”

Concept2 Model C with Red Saucony Jazz Trainers

Slow, slow, slow I row gently on the erg

12/05/1521:27.63,958mIndoor Rower
12/05/1536:49.06,368mIndoor Rower
12/02/1549:37.98,987mIndoor Rower
12/01/1543:22.07,593mIndoor Rower
11/29/1558:53.310,042mIndoor Rower


It’s already December 5th, 2015, and I am only 36,948 meters in towards the 200 kilometers that I fully intend to collect between first thing 26 November.  

And I am about days in and, after today, only have 20-days left for the 2015 Concept2 Holiday Challenge.  

That means I have 163,052 meters to go, which is only ~8,152.6 meters/day for every day between now and midnight, Christmas Eve.

Wish me luck!  

I think it’s still technically doable. Phew.

Concept2 Model C PM3

Day 7 of my Holiday Challenge

Still working on ramping up but after a week, I have only amassed 26,622 meters so far.  I need to start doing 10,000+ days in order to make sure I’m well over 200,000 meters by midnight on Christmas Eve. Wish me luck!  

12/02/1549:37.98,987mIndoor Rower
12/01/1543:22.07,593mIndoor Rower
11/29/1558:53.310,042mIndoor Rower

2015 C2 Holiday ChallengeThere is still time to join me on the 2015 Concept2 Holiday Challenge. Any meters you do above 100,000 meters will result in Concept2 donating money to Kafue River & Rowing Centre Project,, The Nature Conservancy, orWatersheds United VT.

For every person who rows or skis at least 100k during the challenge (50k for adaptive athletes or athletes aged 16 or under), Concept2 will donate $.02 per kilometer (1000 meters) you row/ski to your choice of the following organizations: Kafue River & Rowing Centre Project,, The Nature Conservancy orWatersheds United VT. And once you get beyond 100k, we’ll donate $.04 per kilometer rowed/skied. Our goal through this group effort is to raise a total $30,000 to support these causes. Anybody who reaches 200k and has chosen to give money to charity will receive a free Holiday Challenge pin.

Walking: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:27:38

Concept2 Model C PM3

My Day 1 of the Holiday Challenge

2015-11-30 03.40.27While the 2015 Concept2 Holiday Challenge started at midnight the moment the calendar ticked over to November 26, I didn’t get on the seat until an hour ago, then I put in a slow 10k towards the 200k I need to log between now and midnight Christmas Eve: 23:59:59.  

Well, more accurately, 10,042 meters, tonight, in 58:53.3. Super slow and while I watched The Leftovers on HBO, the minutes I missed in Kingsman after the fire alarm went off at Regal Cinemas Potomac Yard 16, and then started watching the unrated version of Fifty Shades of Grey on HBO before I ran out of time in addition to petering out.  
Maybe another 20k tomorrow in order to do some catching up.  

2015-11-30 03.39.45I was very slow, clocking an appalling 2:55.9 pace, which is shameful if I cared about that right now — and only 510 calories.

Right now, I am more interested in meters and playing catch-up than straining myself and cutting my 200,000+ meters short through some sort of preventable lame injury.

So, I am going to wade in slowly and should again be a pretty strong rower by the time Christmas has come to pass.  

I will be sure to try to roll in some of my love affair with the kettlebell into the mix.

Wish me luck for the rest of the challenge.