CrossFit is great for confidence, but not in the way you’d think. I’m still as socially awkward as I was before I started training, and my current fitness regime did nothing more than open up a wider world of new people to be awkward around, but weights don’t scare me.

On Saturday, after achieving a better-than-expected 92 reps of Reebok CrossFit Games Open Workout 13.2 (read my last blog for more on that) and juggling two kiddies parties with a tired, hungry toddler, I was insulted. My wife’s cousin’s husband dropped a “How can someone who looks like you do all that?” backhand compliment in reference to my Open result.

Look, I’m fine with being called fat. I’ve been morbidly obese for the last decade and still managed to marry a beautiful woman, sire an exceptional daughter and crack a job at the country’s leading men’s lifestyle magazine; I’m good with my portly physique (or any other euphemisms you can conjure for the lard condition). So it wasn’t the weight reference that struck me, but rather the idea that other people aren’t as confident in my abilities to lift weights as I am.

And that’s the CrossFit effect: it empowers you to slay the titans and assumptions.

The complicated relative in question, who questioned me according to his definition of weightlifting physics/physiques, belongs to a traditional gym and exercises daily. He has, however, never done an Olympic lift. He could probably lift more than me, but has paid all that money in gym contracts and never been given the chance to try, and that’s sad. It’s almost like missing a rite of passage.

I’m not saying that Oly lifts (as they’re called in the box) are the be-all of exercises and you all should go out and try lifting heavy weights immediately (DISCLAIMER: if you do, please start slowly and learn the technique from a good coach), but it’s great to have a personal reference when evaluating your mind’s blast radius when an athlete smashes a world record [seriously, click on this link and get your mind blown].

When I approached 13.2, not once was the lift the issue. And rightly so, when I did the workout on Saturday and my audience was telling me to use my legs on the last overhead press reps, I couldn’t because the box jumps had overcooked my quads. I muscled through 17 52kg barbell presses because I had been taught how – and because I can sometimes be stupid enough to do well at physical activity.

Now if only that confidence could spill over into the rest of my life.

Follow my weightloss journey on twitter, or if you’re in the Durbanville area, join me for a workout at CrossFit DurBell.