I am competitive, I am an extremist, I am passionate, and I am motivated. These are things I have been for my entire life and character traits that my parents talk about me having as a baby. These are the things that drive me to do what I do. They make me stubborn and impatient, but they make me love life and they make me really really good at the things that I choose to do.
Crossfit has been a major part of my life for the past 3.5 years. I’ve played every sport I could (with the exception of those I wasn’t good at) and I’ve never come across a sport quite like it. I’ve also been through all the stages of Crossfit. I no longer try to stuff it down people’s throats…I could care less who does or doesn’t do it and I could care less when women say they don’t want to get bulky from it. (sort of)
I know what it does for people…not just physically. I’ve seen firsthand the confidence built through the completion of someones first pull up or the first time they dead lift over their body weight, over 200 lbs, or even over 300. I’ve seen the excitement in someones eyes the first time they get a muscle up, and the confidence built the first time they do something they never thought they could do before. And I’ve experienced it myself. Over and over and over again. The first time I got a muscle up, the first time I could clean my body weight, and the first time I was able to walk on my hands down the length of the gym. Things I never imagined I would do. With a gain in physical strength, came a tenfold gain in mental fortitude and confidence. The ability to get through your most difficult workout, while in pain or while you want to cry, either makes everything else in life seem easy, or gives you the determination to get through difficult times. I’ve never seen anything build confidence and mental strength the way that I have seen crossfit do it. So…for the past 3.5 years, I’ve been in love with crossfit.
That all changed when I moved to Denver.
It happened somewhat gradually but way faster than I remember it. I no longer had my gym, my support system, and my friends who pushed me to be the best that I could be…and I was thrown into a completely different environment in my personal and social life than I had experienced in a while. I started an unbelievably intensive graduate program that kept me in the studio standing or sitting at a table, often for 10+ hours a day. My body was hurting, my heart was hurting, and my head was hurting, literally. I created a basement gym so that I could do CrossFit whenever I had time. The first few weeks of school I ceased to workout at all. I had no motivation, no drive, and certainly no energy. I had never really experienced this before. My entire life, working out had been an outlet and had been something that made me feel better. The last thing I wanted to do was workout at night when I got out of school. I stopped caring. I stopped wanting to do crossfit even though I’d force myself. Like I said before, I’m an extremist. I have two speeds. go and stop. so instead of crossfitting full time, all the time, I stopped. I mean after the first few weeks of school I got my shit together and worked out. but my workouts consisted of 40 minutes on the treadmill or c2 with high reps at low weights of lifts every 5 minutes or set distance.
I’d do crossfit when I’d go back to colorado springs but it wasn’t a priority and it didn’t feel the same. I had stopped caring about my performance (to a certain extent) and I had honestly stopped caring a lot about myself. I told myself that I was putting school first, that it was okay because I needed to change my priorities and that I couldn’t always be a competitive crossfitter. I still don’t know if I was lying to myself or if these things are true. But I know that I stopped caring about something that has been unbelievably influential in my life for the past 3 years. (this is not abnormal for me…this happens a lot because I go through stages so I took it with a grain of salt.)
But I got more and more depressed. I liked school, but not the way that I had loved crossfit. I function with high levels of passion day to day…without which I don’t see the point of doing something. I wasn’t passionate about school the way that I was about crossfit. The idea of choosing something to do for the rest of my life is revolting. I can’t imagine it and it makes me want to either crawl into a hole and die or run for my life into the mountains.
I ignored a lot of these emotions and at the beginning of winter break I had begun to enjoy my life in Denver… going out with friends and working my ass off at school. I was good at it. I was nominated for an award.
I made the decision not to compete this year because I felt like I would be putting too much pressure on myself because I wasn’t able to train. I had stopped taking care of myself. I was skipping meals because the time flies by in the studio and I had dropped around 10 lbs…probably of muscle. In a vain sort of way, I liked it. My abs looked good but I wasn’t beating everyone at every workout and I sure as hell didn’t feel good. Shockingly, I didn’t care. This was the most upsetting thing to me. I stopped caring. I was becoming apathetic- An emotion that I despise more than anything else really.
I have been trying to pick apart why I made the decision not to compete in the first place and what exactly changed my mind. I’m petrified of failure. always have been. I’m afraid of losing, of stepping up to the bar and trying my hardest and that not being good enough. I’m afraid that I am not actually trying my best…that there’s always one more rep in me, always something I could have done better… Admitting this feels horrible. I am supposed to be inspirational and ‘coachy’ but I guess we all have our weaknesses. Those who know me well probably already know this. I’m lucky that there are a lot of things that come naturally, especially fitness related. If I’m not good, chances are I don’t do it. Simple. It’s made for some really great times and a lot of ‘wins’ but it’s also kept me from doing things because I’m afraid that I will fail.
I’m working on this. I’d like to get out of my comfort zone a little more and maybe that is why I love Crossfit so much…while I am naturally pretty adept at moving heavy loads…theres always something to improve upon, always something that I am not good at. By competing again, I’ll be forced to face that. While I’ve been unbelievably competitive my entire life, I’m no longer competing with anyone else, I’m competing with myself. When I step up to the bar, my heart pounding, and my body shaking, there is no one else in the world. It is me and the workout. And that workout is as honest as anything gets. It will divulge my weaknesses, it will showcase my strengths, and it won’t let me bullshit or lie or cheat. If I don’t respect it, I’ll end up flat on my back by the end. But if I do, and if I give it my all, well now… the possibilities are endless.
After a rough first semester emotionally and some loss of fitness, I signed up and couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’d like to qualify for regionals again and I’d like to help my gym qualify a team. But If I don’t, that’s life. It doesn’t make me any better of a person and it doesn’t mean that I’ve failed…something I’m slowly starting to realize.