I just recently celebrated my one year anniversary since joining CrossFit. When I think about my fitness goals at the beginning of 2017, I never imagined I would have received more than a fit body. Joining CrossFit reminded me that in every aspect of our lives we use the same tools in our arsenal to face life’s challenges.
So what did CrossFit teach me?
Before I get into this, I must tell you that I was extremely nervous about trying this type of exercise. The only thing I knew about CrossFit is that people unnecessarily climbed up ropes and flipped tires for fitness. I could have never imagined CrossFit to be much more than that.
Here it is, the 4 life lessons from one year of CrossFit:
Having a supportive community is the key to success
In my adult life I have always been a person who does solo workouts. One of the blessings of CrossFit is we workout as a group, usually 12+ people, suffering together. The awesome thing about this is through the midst of all the suffering, we manage to cheer each other on to get through it. Having this support made it easier to be consistent with my workouts. I even started to feel an obligation to go workout so that I could be there to support my buddies.
How does this apply to my everyday life? This experience reminds me that in my darkest most difficult times, relying on my community (friends and family) will help me achieve success quickly. I lean on my community to vent to, and in turn, they cheer me on and provide me advice to keep moving forward. Joining CrossFit was also an extra blessing to my life because I made a group of new friends which is something I needed as a new resident to New York City.
Take life as it comes
In CrossFit, upon arrival to the gym, the workout of the day (WOD) is written on a dry erase board, which I find to be super intimidating while I am waiting for class to start. My gym also posts the WOD the night before on the blog and I purposely avoid reading it because I know I will spend the entire night before convincing myself why I won’t make it through the workout. However, I’ve learnt in my time in CrossFit, I can get through any and every exercise thrown at me, no matter how long the duration or how heavy the weight is. Of course I am not a super CrossFitter who completes the exercise in 5 minutes while lifting the heaviest weight, but I still complete the WODs and that is what matters most. My method for completing them is to stay present and take each exercise and rep as they come and just focus on the current movement and completing the WOD.
I apply this to my daily life whenever I find myself frustrated, impatient, or annoyed by the events that are happening to me at work or otherwise. I recall my workouts from earlier in the day and how challenging it was while I was in it, and I revert to the mindset I adopted to get me through the pain of the exercise. That’s when I become present and ask myself what can I do now to course correct to achieve my desired outcome. The point of this is to become patient and know that I can get through difficult situations.
To get what you want you need to be disciplined
Before CrossFit I was a sporadic exerciser. I worked out 3 days one week, one day the following week, and not at all the week after that. When I first joined CrossFit I started with going 3 days a week. I found myself to be sore all the time which made it a challenge to be motivated to workout the next day. As the months went by I upped my frequency to 4 times a week, but I still wasn’t happy with the results in my body. That’s when I decide to go to CrossFit 6 days a week. I went for 3 weeks straight, 6 days in a row and saw a massive change in my body. Even my instructors started asking me if I had lost weight. I hadn’t lost weight, it was just the fat around my body started to turn into muscle.
After seeing success by increasing the number of days I worked out, I discovered I was my own worst enemy. The only reason I didn’t go 6 days when I first began is because I convinced myself that going 6 days was too much for me. That turned out to be untrue. I discovered that as long as I didn’t feel fatigue or was ill, I can workout 6 days a week. That’s when I told myself a new story. When I changed the narrative, I effortlessly jumped out of bed at 5 a.m. to get to my 6 a.m. class Monday through Friday. I also decided to stop turning up on Friday nights in order to make my Saturday morning workout.
No pain no gain
I know, ‘no pain no gain’ is so cliche. But there is a reason why people say that. For months I played it safe with the amount of weight I lifted even though I knew I was capable of more. It goes back to the stories I told myself. Well, as a result of playing it safe, and refusing to push myself when I knew I could, I didn’t even come close to achieving the bikini body I dreamt about by summer. Admittedly, I needed to improve in the area of nutrition however, I also now know that I would be more fit and my body would be closer to my dream body if I let go of my fears and not played it safe in the workouts by lifting heavier weight and pushing through when I started to feel tired.
This experience reminds me that in order for me to achieve what I really want in this life, I have to look for the obstacles and the challenges. Those are the situations that are going to help me grow. Also, I need to quit telling myself what I cannot do, face my fears and be brave enough to try and believe I will succeed. If I don’t succeed, at least I know I can try again.
In the end I achieved much more than a fit body. I gained a new community, overcame my fears, learned the value of being present, and achieved discipline. One year after joining CrossFit I’ve exceeded my expectations.