By Colm O’Reilly Breaking Muscle
I’m going to tell you right now why you started CrossFit, or whatever your fitness endeavor of choice is. A bold prediction, I know. And here it is:
- No one actually wants to get fit. And no one simply wants to lose weight and tone up.
Why Do We Work Out?
Losing weight and toning up are means to an end, just like CrossFit is for you. Ultimately, we do all this stuff to feel better about ourselves. Losing weight and gaining muscle are just avenues for that.
The truly great discovery about CrossFit is when we realize we can feel better about ourselves based on what our bodies can do, rather than how they look (or more accurately, how we think we look in the mirror).
We may have initially joined a gym because we didn’t feel happy with how we looked or felt. Somewhere, there’s a feeling of inadequacy there. “If only I lost a few pounds, then I’d feel better.”
But how quickly that disappears once we find we’re in an environment that accepts us for who we are, while at the same time encouraging us to better ourselves. The people around us believe we’re capable of things we don’t see just yet, and this leads to victories we never thought possible.
The Power of a Strong Community
On our first day we came into the gym and saw superhuman beings lifting monstrous weights, and controlling their bodies like they existed in zero gravity. Now we’re part of that same club.
“Remembering why we started and looking back on just how far we’ve come takes a bit of effort, as we tend to see the challenges and our shortcomings.”
Over time though, that feeling of doubt, or inadequacy, can come creeping back with our physical ability. We adapt, and we tend to forget that we once laughed when someone told us we could do a pull up. Now, we’re pissed we can’t get ten unbroken muscle ups. What’s that about?
How to Stay Positive About Your Progress
When you find yourself frustrated at your (alleged) lack of progress, here are five tips to help you enjoy the process and stay happy with what you’re doing:
#1: Remember – You’re With Friends
Remember, you’re among friends. Seriously, remember that. Name another environment where everyone around you only wants to see you succeed. Do they greet you with a big happy hello and fist bump in the office, or do they tell you about the latest fire that needs to be put out? Does your family look excited to see you, or do they tell you the washing machine is broken?
#2: Enjoy Having Time to Yourself
This is your headspace. For one to two hours every day nothing else matters. For those agonizing twenty minutes on that horrible burpee and rowing workout you’re not thinking of that guy who hasn’t texted you back. For those thirty seconds before a PB back squat you ain’t wondering how to tell your mother you won’t make dinner Sunday. Forget about everything. This. Is. Your. Space.
#3: Remember the Progress You’ve Already Made
There was a time when you dreamed of this. You never ever thought you’d be addicted to exercise. Gyms were for meatheads, and you were just an office worker. Now you’re a Certified Badass in Metcons, with brand new wrist wraps that are definitely going to help break that overhead squat barrier.
#4: Don’t Focus on Perfection
No one is perfect. You know this. That guy with a ripped six pack? He wishes he didn’t blow up on 400m runs. That super speedy guy? He wishes he didn’t have to foam roll so much because his calves hurt. That muscle up ninja? He really wants to get past his power clean PB. No one is perfect.
#5: Be Your Own Best Friend
If this was your best friend telling you this, what would you say to her? Yeah, yeah, I know it’s different for you because of this, because of that, and because of that other thing too. But really, what would you say to her? You’d tell her you’re proud of her, and she’s doing amazing, and she’s inspiring you? So take some of your own medicine and realize you’re doing great. And be happy about it, damn it!
Reflecting on Your Progress and Challenges
Remembering why we started and looking back on just how far we’ve come takes a bit of effort, as we tend to see the challenges and our shortcomings. When we lose our chest-to-bar pull ups it’s so easy to get frustrated. We can keep beating our head against the wall and try to force it. But we’re far more productive and successful if we’re happy and in a good mood.
So breathe, and take stock in all the awesome things you’ve accomplished since you first walked in the door of your gym. Get off the happiness treadmill. It’s probably not a TrueForm anyway.