What I have learned from CrossFit
CrossFit can teach you a lot. It’s not just about lifting heavy weights in the most efficient manner, or intricate techniques to finally get that pull-up, but so much more that can be applied to one’s everyday life. As a naturally muscular and heavier young girl than the traditional average, I never thought that of all sports, CrossFit would be the one where I felt like I finally fit in. Maybe that’s because CrossFit is so much more than “just a sport”. People are expected to leave their attitudes at the door when they step into the CrossFit Cave along with any “it’s all about me” mentality, creating this wonderful tribe of fitness and health nuts who have taught me important life lessons to take outside the box.
It is important to track progress and set goals.
Without that, how do you know how far you’ve come? In CrossFit, the moment you get stronger, or increase your mobility and balance, you tend to automatically add more weight or scale to a more difficult progression of the movement, which makes you continuously struggle and can be quite discouraging. To avoid feeling like nothing is improving, keep track of your progress, use the on-line Athletics Log (ask our coaches!) or snap a picture of the white board and add the scores to your own journal. Seeing how far you’ve come, black on white, will make you realize that all your efforts “have been good for something”. Keep at it!
You are good at something.
Nobody is good at everything. You are not the only big girl with thunder thighs in the class, and even if you are, good for you because girls like us tend to be stronger in squats, pistols and deadlifts. That skinny guy that can outrun us in every met-con, overtaking us twice per round? Don’t worry, you could probably powerclean his bodyweight. In CrossFit, as in real life, everyone has a natural aptitude for something. There is no such thing as pure losers and winners. Simply learn your strengths and enjoy them, and identify your weaknesses and work on them separately.
No problem is really too difficult.
So you can’t do the coveted ring muscle-up? Try the bar-muscle-up. Can’t do that yet either? Try a box-muscle-up, work on pull-ups, work on ring-rows. There is always a solution if something seems too daunting or difficult. Scaling difficult movements helps to prepare and train for the same movement, but at a lighter load, ultimately leading you to the same goal. Instead of not trying at all, try to scale a problem down instead and give it a shot.
Cheating really only hurts yourself.
Sure it’s easy to only do 18 of the required 20 push-ups if the coach happens to not look at you. Your time will be shorter, you will be less out of breath, less exhausted…you may even win the WOD. Good for you, got your name first on the board. But really, for what? For the momentary one-minute glory of being first, of having beaten others, possibly fitter people than yourself? If you cheat, or don’t put enough effort into the workout so you can simply pass the time quickly, you are only cheating on yourself. You will never truly improve in strength,mobility, balance or whatever else you were working for if you don’t introspectively look at yourself, rather than others. Really, the only reason you should even be concerned with your fellow CrossFitters is to learn from them and become better yourself. You are last? There are no losers in CrossFit. See point #2.
Same goes for your life outside the box. Don’t take short cuts just to impress somebody else. You will only hurt yourself in the long run. Do it properly, do it for yourself.
Ask for help.
Unlike any other sport, I have found that your fellow CrossFitters and your coaches are the best sources of knowledge for your own improvement. While your fellow CrossFitters may not be certified CrossFit Coaches, they might see a movement in a different light and be able to explain their technique to you, which may cause you to have that lightbulb moment or at least cause you to try an exercise differently. Don’t be shy, don’t be dismissing other people’s opinions, advice and views because they are “your direct competitors” or because “you know best”. They are all good in their own right. Ask people for help, hear them out, encourage discussion, try out new things. Learning about other people’s point of views and experiences can open up so many thought-provoking doors for you.
Personally, I have set myself the goal to achieve 5 straight chin-ups by the second week of November. And I am already so close!! I have asked Coach Dana for help, who spent several hours with me, creating the ideal training plan suiting my schedule and accommodating my personal physical strengths and weaknesses. I record everything on a spreadsheet that I am sharing with the coach every week, to monitor my own progress and see what needs tweaking.
The point is, don’t be afraid of CrossFit. If I can do it, so can anyone else! Come to one of our Saturday, 10am free CrossFit workouts, give it a try, enjoy the community, speak to the coaches, establish goals for yourself and start enjoying fitness again!
Thank You Jessica M for the pictures.