Cross fit Charlie and the Tiger

images-4Today is my second day at Cross fit. Peacock struts by and Charlie asks him how old he is and he shouts with pride, “Fifty two”. But something tells me he’s lying. That’s okay. It’s probably hard for him to say fifty two, let alone sixty two.


I warm up beside Charlie’s apprentice. I didn’t catch his name but he’s Puerto Rican in military gym strip: could be a rapper, could be a soldier, could be a hip YWAM. Whatever he is, he’s a believer. He helps me with my form, nice guy, and I ask him how long he’s come here. Five years. He drives in from the burbs because he loves the community so much. If the rest of the club is full of people like Charlie and Camo boy, dude, I am so glad I signed up for a year.


Charlie returns with an exercise and diet log book and asks me what I ate today. I know off by heart, “Two cups of Brussels’ sprouts, 8oz of lamb, three cups of lettuce, ¼ of an avocado, a banana and an apple.” He raises his eyebrows. (I’m allergy testing. I can eat thirteen things. I just approved raspberries, I’m very excited.) He tells me I need to eat way more and I wince and say, “Well, I am kinda chubby…” He looks at me cockeyed with a sly grin and says, “What’s wrong with kinda chubby?” Like it’s sexy. This just makes me laugh. “It’s not great for my business,” I say. And he says something like “bullshit” and adds: it’s good for you to be able to climb shit, leap off of buildings, sword fight, maintain your balance on weird ass sets, so let’s get to work. And he adds, “You know how to work. I googled you.”

Yup. I do. And and I need to squat deeper to protect my knees. I do some dead weights with a big ol’ barbell. That’s fun. I kick it on the rowing machine: something I’ve always liked. Reminds me of row boating on Chestermere Lake. I run around the opera house some more. Hard! I fling a cowbell into the air with the thrust of my hips (I excel at this one, I’m not entirely sure why, it isn’t practice) and then…oh yes…it’s back to the dreaded chin ups.


At some point in the workout, Charlie starts asking me about my fitness history and my allergies and all of that. It gets down to him pin pointing that my body exploded about three years ago…he knows something is up. He asks me with concern on his face. “What happened?” I do not want to burden Charlie with too much information so I just wave it off. He says, “Okay, you don’t have to-“


“Well, Charlie, I was violently attacked and I just kind of packed on the weight for security and hid out.”


Charlie chokes up. Says something akin to: “thought so”. And that one little sideways glance he gives me means the world to me.


And that’s all, and that’s cool, and he gets me to do another five hundred meters on the rower. And I think “I’m going to row myself to the other shore, back to health, back to strength, back to beauty.”


And when it comes to the chin ups…with the band last time I could only do three. So, I begin, with a whole new determination. And…with a lot of grunting and effort and almost tears and the slight fear I might pee my pants. But I do eighteen.

Charlie says, impressed, “That was pretty fuckin’ good, Lucia. You got the eye of the tiger.”




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  1. michelle gooding

    I am humbled and inspired by your posts. Thank you Lucia.

    1. Lucia Frangione

      wonderful to have you along for the ride, dear Michelle! xo

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