This morning I woke up to a series of late night text messages from a friend. We met almost two years ago and since then I have coached her throughout what I like to call her “CrossFit journey.” It’s been quite a ride! She is very intense, trains often, loves feeling like an athlete again, is addicted to our way of eating, everything about the Games, and sold on learning our special language of thrusters, WODs, PRs, RXs, the whole shabang. She absorbs it all like a sponge.
She was texting me about a class where she felt like she really sped through the WOD and got a good time. Thinking she did well, until she realized that someone else got done 20 seconds before her and someone else… 4 seconds. We, as coaches, like to call it an “AaHhaaaa” moment. She knew the phrase, “every second counts,” but it was the first time she truly understood what it meant. Every time you chalk your hands, take a breath, put the barbell down, or grab a sip, those seconds are just ticking away and you can never get them back!
Reading that she learned a valuable lesson and she finally “got it,” reminded me that everyone’s version of intensity is so drastically different. Progressing from finishing the workout, to moving well, to lifting more, to RXing, all the way to being competitive. Pacing and ‘being smart’ and telling our brains to speed up and slow down, and strategizing, is such an acquired skill. Our maturity in CrossFit advances us to different levels not just physically, but mentally.
It’s a feeling of independence realizing that what we are doing is more than a workout. It’s not just… getting your sweat on. We prepare for it, we practice skills, we get stronger, all so that when we hear the 3..2..1.., we are at our best. It is almost like we are rehearsing so that the performance can go as planned. When things go wrong, or surprise us, or start too hard, or too easy, we improvise. We try to calmly react. This not only makes our WODs better, but it also helps us react to things outside of the gym. Guess what? Life’s not always going to go as planned! We can prepare and we can plan for the future, but control is something we’ll never have. CrossFit has helped me let go of that need to control.
We do CrossFit because we want to train, be fit, improve, be stronger than yesterday. But the level of intensity in competing against yourself is something so special. Instead of thinking, “what place in a classroom can I get in this workout?” Saying in your head, “Alright, I just checked my old time, I’m going to see how much I can beat it by! Let’s race, self!”
Classes are packed full of people that are in totally different chapters of their CrossFit journey. They are on this journey for different reasons including weight loss, exercise, getting strong, completing goals, just for fun, or even just spending time with friends doing what we love. Seeing CrossFitters, like my friend, transition from trying to be healthy to a fight for every rep and for every second… for no other reason than for the love of the game, is what makes being a coach so worthwhile.