A burpee is a burpee. No matter who you are, you flop on the ground, push yourself back up, get your feet under you, and jump.
It doesn’t matter if you are a professional service consultant who has worked at Ontario Systems for less than a year or an application developer who has been at the company for 19, when it’s noon on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and you are part of the company’s CrossFit class at The Arsenal, you sweat. And today, burpees are on the menu.
Every minute the class does 5 burpees followed by 10 kettlebell swings.
Stacey Delaney is almost always the first one done, and has 30 seconds of rest before the next round. Stacey’s rest involves cheering along her coworkers, her fellow athletes.
According to Stacey’s classmates, this isn’t a rare behavior.
“When someone is struggling to finish,” Brenda Mackey said, “Stacey, after finishing her own workout, will do it again alongside the person having a hard time.”
Stacey has always been athletic and played sports, but she’s noticed the benefits of CrossFit.
“I have more muscle definition, more overall strength, and a lot more energy throughout the day. I have noticed more self-confidence and drive that has been missing for a while in myself.”
Another minute, another 5 burpees and 10 kettlebell swings.
More energy, more benefits
Adrian Dunn an Interface Specialist, drops to the ground. This is his first full session of CrossFit. (Each session is 8 weeks long. To sign up contact either Melanie or Nicci from People Services.)
Arsenal Coach Jacob who led the group through a warmup and a strength session before beginning the workout of the day, remembers Adrian’s first class.
“He thought he was literally dying. Just the fact that he was so sore and so discouraged after the first workout, and he kept coming back, says a lot.”
CrossFit workouts involve varied functional movements done at high intensity. Most workouts of the day last less than 15 minutes (total class time is just under one hour), meaning it’s possible to get a great workout in over a lunch hour.
Adrian reports that his six pack is back, which might be expected because he’s putting in the work, but he also reports what might seem as unexpected benefits from the class.
“I can think clearer and have more energy,” Adrian said. “I’m excited about my work more and have more motivation to be persistent in finding solutions to my problems in my work. I’ve got immediate connections with my co-workers. We can relate about the benefits and challenges with CrossFit.”
Another minute passes and the bodies begin hitting the floor once again.
The athletes come from all fitness backgrounds, from self-professed couch potatoes to those who worked out regularly. They also come from various departments in Ontario.They are more toned and they are more together.
“Nobody I regularly interact with at work is in the class, so CrossFit has been great for getting to know people outside my department,” Brenda said. “Suffering together builds a team, right?”
There’s a classic phrase that may have originated from pirates, vikings, or Dilbert : “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”
Somehow burpees are self-inflicted beatings that bond coworkers in their suffering, increase engagement, and actually improve morale. At the recent employee day of service nearly the entire CrossFit class showed up for duty.
CrossFit has helped Makenzie Bontrager plug into her new work environment. She has worked at Ontario for less than a year. She credits the class with connecting her to her co-workers.
“I started CrossFit after I had worked at Ontario for two months or so,” Makenzie said. “It helped me meet a bunch of new people. I really enjoy working out with a group of coworkers and friends who encourage each other to push harder and keep going even if you feel like falling over. I’ve made a lot of work-friends through CrossFit. It provides us with an environment where we experience a unique work-life balance since we all work in the same building, but then at CrossFit, we are all just people looking to get in a good workout before going back to work. And we have fun while doing it!”
The final buzzer rings marking the end of the workout. People collapse onto the floor. After every workout there is a temporary moment of silence where everyone catches his or her breath.
The first athlete to speak is Tim Glidden. The first athlete to always speak is Tim. He’s a senior release specialist who has been with Ontario for 13 years and likes how CrossFit provides him with a midday stress reliever. He’s also the class clown.
“Is that it? Was that the warm-up?” Tim said.
As sure as work inboxes fill with email, and calendars with conference calls and meetings, Tim will say something like this, Stacey will encourage someone, and Makenzie will talk about her clothes fitting looser except for around her biceps. We fill our lives with routines, some, like the gallon of diet soda or morning donut, aren’t so healthy. Others are.
For Ontario’s CrossFit class, Monday’s workout is over and now it’s back to work.
To sign up for the next session, contact either Melanie or Nicci from People Services.