Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CrossFit, 2 months in

I am not very good at CrossFit, but I am enthusiastic. I'm just home from a workout (we go to the 5:30 AM!!!! class), am buzzing on endorphins and thought I might take a few minutes to explore in writing why I actually like something I am so bad at.

I've always had a disconnect between my mental and physical confidence. I've been an "A" student my whole life, and am confident in most situations that require intellect, but I have always been keenly aware that pretty much anyone on the street, including most children, could kick my butt either in a fight or in a sport, and thus am totally timid when it comes to sharing my athletic abilities, or lack thereof.  Sure, I can Zumba or yoga or Pilates, but please don't ask me to do group sports.

I hate being bad at things, so it's been hard to willingly subject myself to being the worst crossfitter in the class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. I sometimes dread going, and there are days when I really feel like I don't have the athletic skills to get through some of the workouts (pullups, double unders and rope climbs, I'm looking at you).

But, I'm starting to feel a change. Not necessarily in my physical appearance yet (I imbibe too much, eat too many desserts) or in my arm strength (my upper body strength still resembles that of a sea slug), but I am getting better. My muscle memory is improving, I'm getting more reps in at each workout, I'm lifting slightly heavier weights, running is a little easier and am gradually getting faster and stronger. My awesome CrossFit (Elysium on 30th) provides journals where you can keep a daily log of how much weight you lifted, how many reps of something you did, etc. so you can track your progress. Looking back at April, I can see definite improvements today. And as my fellow crossfitters remind me, it never gets easier, you just get faster, better and stronger. When I have a good class, I feel amazing and that makes the classes that aren't so good worth it.

I'm also starting to see the mental aspects to CrossFit. First, it's a challenge to be so far out of my comfort zone and to learn to embrace that feeling. I felt self-conscious and ridiculous at first, but now I'm comfortable in knowing I'm just going to do my best and push harder every time. I'm not going to be limited by my comfort zone. Plus, everyone in my class is awesome and supportive, and I realize that even though we're all at different levels, we're all in it together.  Second, the weight lifting and WODs (workouts of the day) require a willing suspension of disbelief; I finally learned to stop being intimidated and to start telling myself "I can."  CrossFit is about learning new skills, new abilities, and I love learning. Seeing the mental aspect helps me realize physical ability often has more to do with the mind than the muscles.

If you're thinking about trying something new, like CrossFit, or anything outside your comfort zone, go for it.

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