Fear is a common feeling in CrossFit because CrossFit is about being prepared for the unknown. No matter how many things we train and prepare for, something will always come up in a workout and expose a weakness. Even worse is when a WOD confronts us with a new weakness that we never even knew we had.
We can’t be afraid of the unknown. The unknown is what keeps CrossFit fresh and alive! Think of the thought process we go through before a WOD, “that weight would be too light. That weight would be good, a little more would be way too much… a little more than that would be impossible….” But really, nothing’s impossible. There are decisions we make for ourselves, and they are usually based on our safety, experience in workouts, or our goal time domains for workouts, but nothing is impossible.
I had to remind myself that nothing is impossible while I watched the Outlaw Open this weekend. The workouts were awesomely heavy. I followed the live feed that was held in Palm Springs and wished the entire time I had gone just to experience the American Open with big time Olympic lifters and see the CrossFit competition with the totals, chippers, and heavy weights combined. One of the workouts really stuck in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I kept trying to convince myself I would have been able to complete the WOD if I needed to… like if I was in a super dramatic, desperate situation where I had to finish under a time cap or something dire would happen.
It was the weight of the workout that originally made me curious. It was heavier than I’d ever seen, but that shouldn’t have made me ‘afraid.’ I realized that I just needed answers. I needed to do it. I started to feel this overwhelming urge to do the workout because I can’t stand that unknown, it just makes my skin crawl. People always ask, how do you stay motivated… what makes you want to train all the time… why do you work out at 10:30 at night sometimes… Because of this feeling! This overwhelming passion for this sport that keeps me guessing about myself constantly until I can fully comprehend what I’m capable of.
There’s a group of girls I coach at night that are from different gyms in Los Angeles. They all travel to train together because they have one thing in common. They want to make it to regionals as individuals in 2013, a pretty elite goal in Southern California. We call the group “Making the Elite.” Tonight we were short some athletes, and I had already wanted them to do this workout, so I decided to jump in, just this one time.
We warmed up, making sure we were ready for this task of a mystery amount of squat cleans, or would they be power cleans, into a few front squats? No rep scheme, no plan, just guts. After working up to a weight that’s not far from my max of lifts… I was ready. Ready to get those answers. Looked up at the rings for that beep…beep…beep…and then it’s all a blur. That’s how it always is. Getting through the first round of muscle ups with plenty of energy, the second I walked up to the bar I knew this was the moment of truth. With the first rep going up fast, I remember thinking, ok… ok… ok.. it’s possible. And as soon as you know it’s possible, there’s your light! There’s your green light, your go sign, your permission to continue and struggle knowing there are no limits. The fear was suddenly gone, and that was all I needed; it had no control over me.
Of course, I did take tons of time during this workout and played it smart, and stayed consistant because of that original hesitation that still lingered. Let’s just say I took … enough… time. The time limit on this wod was 8 minutes and that’s fine. I kept going until I finished that last front squat. For me, making it through it and completing the workout was something I had conquered. I was fully satisfied even though it showed me that still I have a lot of work to do! Of course, I always have a lot of work to do. If the job was done, and everyone was “strong enough” or “fast enough” or “moved perfectly” there would be no sport of fitness right? Work is absolutely what I look forward to.
It doesn’t have to be at a competition and it doesn’t have to be about comparing yourself to anyone. Ever. It is enough to finish a training day, competition day, a work day, a …play day… knowing you gave it everything. It is enough for it to be pitch black outside, and for most of your friends to be winding down and sleeping. It is enough for you to be confident in your choices and proud of your accomplishments. We are going competing ourselves, in the most committed way. Being able to finish that wod from the Outlaw Open at such an impossible sounding weight was not only an accomplishment that I was proud of, but it also reminded me that fear has no power over me. Bring it on, CrossFit!