Back at Crossfit, gettin' in shape.

Wanna get in shape — in a hurry?

That's what I wanted — and it's working. I started Crossfit about three weeks ago, and blogged about my first, damn-near-killed-me routine that lasted all of eight minutes. Since then, I've done one more workout that was even harder than the first, but got waylaid from the program for various reasons.

But I'm back at it.

The full-on Crossfit program calls for something crazy like four days on and one day off. I'm not about to go there, not yet at least.

Yesterday at 6:30 p.m., a couple of other newbies and I convened at the Anytime Fitness (900 Central Ave., St. Pete) owned by Steve Ashton, a certified Crossfit trainer.

He was in a merciful mood, or maybe he didn't want to scare us off. He had designed a scaled-down workout that I'll get to in a minute.

Crossfit is all about multiple body-part exercises that, its website says, "deliver a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist."

Speaking of punishment, that's a fair description of Crossfit — but, y'know, the kind of punishment that's very good for you. Conversely, does doing three sets of arm curls or bench presses and then taking an ample break really punish you? Not so much.

Each Crossfit routine has a name. Last night's was called The Chief. Its main, and most challenging, exercise is the "clean." This one's tough to describe in words, but basically it's pulling — snapping, really — a weighted barbell from the floor to shoulder height. It's the first part of the Olympic lift called the "clean and jerk." Those words don't do the exercise justice, so check out this video.