I started Crossfit back in 2009, almost exactly two months before I married Husband. This was thanks to my friend Cindy, one of my bridesmaids, whom I blame (in a positive way) for getting me started on this whole Crossfit journey. We were flying back to California from Arizona post my bachelorette weekend, and we were talking about how we had each heard of Crossfit from other people in our lives. She wanted to change up her fitness regimen, I wanted to feel strong mentally and physically heading into the wedding … and two days later, she called me to tell me that there were three possible Crossfit boxes in our area and which one would be my first choice location-wise. That was the beginning.
Now here we are, about two and a half years later, and we have since gone to a Crossfit Level 1 certification together; I have been coaching a Crossfit class up here in AK three mornings a week since October; and she and her fiancee (an amazing guy she met through Crossfit, of course) are heading to San Diego this weekend for a Crossfit Kids certification. Did I mention that they opened their own Crossfit box last October, too?
In my own Crossfit experience, I have — thankfully — experienced a whole myriad of highs, from setting personal records in different weightlifting movements to becoming more flexible and functional in life in general and learning, period. Like making my brain understand my body better, and then getting the two of them (brain and body, that is) to do things in a coordinated way. And thinking more about how to perform movements efficiently and safely, and then trying to get so good at said movements that it looks and feels easy. Any of my Crossfit friends and colleagues (including Husband) can explain that I actually like to watch Crossfit-related videos because I like to be armed with useful information and then try to apply it and share it.
These past few months of Crossfit have probably been the most challenging for me, for a variety of reasons. A changed environment, for one. The ridiculous winter here, for another. And while I am tremendously happy to be coaching and helping other folks move forward in their respective Crossfit journeys, it has been very difficult to still prioritize my own training, especially while working a “regular “job, too. But I would say the biggest obstacle has been my own ego. I have been guilty of being overly concerned with other people’s numbers. I have not wanted to not beat my own scores. I have been hesitant to try going heavier even though I know I need to. I have been… afraid? A little unmotivated? Both?
This morning I did the workout of the day after class was over and I was by myself in the box. That’s starting to become more usual for me, and while it can be hard to push myself, I have started to appreciate the solitude. The workout felt solid,and I felt good about my performance overall. And then I thought, I really should see if I can do those chest-to-bar pull-ups. Pull-ups are tough, one of those bodyweight gymnastics movements that may have seemed easy when you were a 40-pound child going wild at the playground monkey bars, but I can do them. Mind you, however, I haven’t attempted a chest-to-bar pull-up since a year ago, and then only because it was part of the Crossfit Games workouts. Back then I was hoping to accomplish 1 in the allotted time, and I think I managed 10 total, with a lot of crazy effort and encouragement from my coach.
All of that memory was playing out in my head, and I remember then feeling proud of myself for even being able to complete those single reps. After finishing the workout today, I figured I would test it. Just find out. Stop being afraid, tell myself yes, and try — because literally no one was watching anyway. So I tried a few practice reps standing on a tall box to get the feel of it, kicked the box out of the way after that mini warm-up, and tried. I did one on the first attempt easily… which turned into 5 in a row. Dropped off the bar, smiled to myself, and did three more. Dropped, smiled, three more. And then I kind of smiled to myself the whole drive home.
I needed that reminder today to show me that even when I was coming up with all these excuses for why my training hasn’t been where I thought it could be or should be, I was still growing and improving anyway. The chest-to-bar pull-ups litmus test proved that in a tangible way. Why had I waited so long to re-discover this truth?
And if that is true, then I am also reminded that even when life can present all of its challenges — from the mundane ones to the incredibly agonizing ones — I’m still growing and building up my mental strength & flexibility anyway. Move in a new career direction? Sure. Move to AK and start a new life with Husband? Sounds do-able. Live out of boxes and in temporary spaces for a year-plus? No problem. For me that has been the greatest gift of Crossfit, far beyond the physical benefits (which are awesome, most definitely) — I have had so much more clarity in my thinking and self-confidence in my abilities during these past two years than I ever have before, even while facing some of the harder transitions of my life and relationships.
And now I’m that much more excited to think about what my next accomplishment — be it in Crossfit or in life — may be.