This morning I completed my very first week of CrossFit On-Ramp. On-Ramp is a two week introduction training course, designed to get you up to speed on CrossFit fundamentals, so you will be armed with the knowledge and confidence to participate in the regular classes. They focused a lot on proper form, exercise techniques, and avoiding injuries. Even as a seasoned athlete exerciser, I learned so much this first week. However, there were four important lessons that I learned pretty quickly on my own.
Actually, I already knew that. I should say, I was reminded of it. More importantly, I learned that you just have to do it . Yes it is hard. You have to learn to ignore all the negative self-talk and do it anyway. Yes, you are tired, but 90% of the time you feel better once you get there. Getting out of bed can be the hardest part . Suck it up. (Note to self: reread this paragraph every morning at 5 am).
Although Crossfit is very competitive in nature, you complete WOD's (Work Out of the Day) for time and your final time is written on your permanent record a dry erase board next to your name, the real competition is with yourself. Did you push yourself 110%? Did you keep proper form? Did you do better than last time? Did you do more than you thought you could? There will always be someone in the room more fit than you (and probably less fit than you too). You only need to compare yourself to you, and strive to get stronger every day. You should absolutely use the competition aspect to push yourself, but you can't allow yourself to feel bad or frustrated because others can lift more or complete the WOD's faster. Everyone is in a different place in their fitness journey. I have learned that even if you come in dead last, dead last in CrossFit is still heads and shoulders above all the people who won't even try.
In my short time at CrossFit, I learned that I am not all that fit. That is kind of hard to swallow because I have been running and strength training for years. Guess what? I am a complete newbie beginner here. I feel like I am starting all over. It is hard. My times are slower than I would like. Get over it. I can't even imagine how hard it would be if I hadn't been lifting weights all year, and had I not just completed Insanity . The thing to remember is that you are there to get stronger. It is a learning and development process. If I was already at peak fitness I wouldn't need CrossFit. As the saying goes, "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."
It might be tempting to look over your shoulder and see that others have already finished and start to worry that you are bottoming up the leader board. It would be too easy to do one or two less reps or cheat on form (when you think no one is watching) to try get through the WOD faster, but you would only be cheating yourself. A time on the board that isn't earned means nothing. No one else in the room cares about your time (except the coaches), I'm sure most people are much more concerned with their own. I'd rather take an honest last place than a dishonest first (or middle of the pack). In order to get stronger and grow, you have to do it with full commitment to give your own version of 100%, whatever that happens to be. You have to remember why you are there; not to prove to everyone what a bad-ass you already are, but to become a bad-ass in your own right.
These four little lessons are just the beginnings of the things I will learn in CrossFit. These are not just CrossFit lessons, but life lessons; Suck it up, don't compare yourself to others, check your ego at the door, and be honest with yourself. I believe if you follow these four little rules, you will have already mastered half the battle, the battle of the mind, and then you will be free to work on conquering the body!
Any advice out there for a CrossFit newbie like me?