Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thoughts on CrossFit

I've had more than a few people ask me over the last month to blog about CrossFit and how it's been for me so far. I don't really feel experienced enough (like, at all) in the CrossFit world to give you much advice but I'll share with you how my journey has been these last few weeks.

I joined CrossFit at the beginning of the year because I knew that I wanted 2014 to be different. I wanted it to be the year that I stopped yo-you "dieting" and actually accomplished something significant in my quest to get healthy. In order to do this I knew that I'd have to step out of my comfort zone and for me, CrossFit was the answer to that. Over the last several months I've watched Alex as she's turned into a CrossFit junkie and have seen what a positive difference it's made in her life. I wanted the same for me.

Along with the excitement of starting CrossFit came a lot of fear. Fear that I wouldn't be able to do the things everyone else did, fear that it would be just too friggin' hard. I knew I wanted to take that first step and get started, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't totally relieved when my first class was cancelled twice in the first week because of snow storms. And then one day it wasn't cancelled so I actually had to go. Frig. I was still excited but also really nervous, which is a pretty foreign feeling for me because I don't get nervous about too much in life. So I went, and I sat in my car for a good five minutes so scared to walk through that door. I always tell my kids that their dreams need to be bigger than their fears, that it's ok to be scared of things, they just can't let that fear keep them from doing the things they want... so I had to repeat that thought in my mind as I walked in. Now granted this isn't a big life-altering fear or decision, but it's still not an easy thing to walk into. But, nervousness and all, I got out of my car and walked towards the door... aaaand then I proceeded to slip on the ice and fall in the middle of the parking lot! Hashtag true story. Seriously, my life is nothing if not a comedy of errors!

My first three classes were "foundation classes"... basically beginner classes where the trainer teaches you the basics, different movements, correct form, etc. You better believe that two minutes into my warm-up I was thinking 'phew, that was a good work-out!'... that's how out of shape I felt. But my trainer saw something completely different than what I saw in myself... where I saw weakness, he saw strength. Where I saw insecurity, he saw confidence. And having someone truly believe in you much more than you believe in yourself is an incredible gift.

After my foundations my first big class that I went to was a body weight class, which they have every Saturday. During the class we rotated seven minutes of hard work with seven minutes of rest. I spent those seven minutes of rest trying not to die watching other people and that was so helpful. Not because I was watching their form but because I was watching them struggle. Girls who looked like they weighed 120 lbs., men who had jacked bodies, a 65 year old woman who was even shorter than me... everyone was struggling and I found comfort in that. Not because I wanted them to struggle, but because I realized that I wasn't the only one. No matter your age, body size, or activity level, CrossFit always pushes you and I was seeing that first hand.

So those first couple of weeks were great... hard, but great. And then the mental struggle kicked in for me. "I don't belong here" and "why am I wasting my time thinking that I can actually do this" ran through my mind constantly. It sucked, and it was a big realization for me that this whole weight loss game is soo much more mental than it is physical. As the days went by, the more those thoughts increased and it sucked. It stressed me out, it woke me up in the middle of the night, and that voice just wanted me to give up. After a few days of feeling this way and not going to class, I knew that the voice was winning so I e-mailed my trainer and said 'see you at noon.' I knew if I e-mailed him I wouldn't back out.

So I went to CrossFit that day and I was in a bad mood... I mean really bad. I was on the verge of tears the whole time because I was just stressed and frustrated with the whole thing... not with the physical part but with the mental part. That day our workout was CrossFit Total, finding our personal best at deadlifts, press, and back squats. (Don't know what those are? I didn't either. You'll learn, I promise.) I knew my personal best would be low and it would suck compared to everyone else's. But I was so mad and grumpy that I didn't really care, I just pushed through the hour snapping and swearing at my trainer because I was in such a bitchy mood. He totally fed off of my bad mood and used it to just push me further, and it worked. When my deadlift was up to 183 lbs. he was pumped because I had just lifted the equivalent to his body weight. When I got up to 193 he was happy but knew I'd be pissed because it was so close to, yet still under, 200 lbs. When I deadlifted 203 lbs. he was pumped... you try staying in a bad mood and try not to smile when someone is right next to you cheering you on and being genuinely happy for you. I tried... believe me, I tried... I did not want to break out of my bad mood... but when I walked out the door that day I had the biggest smile on my face. An hour of loud music, lifting heavy shit, and swearing at my trainer left me in the absolute best mood ever. Seriously, I felt like a bad ass for the first time in a long time and it was awesome.

And then the mental game struck again. It's been over a week since that day and I haven't been back to CrossFit since. And I've gone back and forth on why I shouldn't go back. I don't belong and I can't do this... that's what I keep telling myself. But those thoughts? They're keeping me up again at night... and not because I want to be done with CrossFit, it's because I don't want to be done with CrossFit. This mental game is a bitch, let me tell you. My mind wants me to give up but I'm not that girl anymore. I might have been that girl 6 months ago, but I'm not her now.
My trainer has told me a few times over the last month that walking in the door is the hardest part, that I need to just walk in the door and he'll get me from there. So that's exactly what I plan to do. It's not easy and it never will be... but I'm not there for "easy," I'm there to change my body and change my life, and that's exactly what I plan on doing.

Do you have a CrossFit story? Just started, been going for a year, or thinking about getting started but too afraid? I'd love to read your thoughts!

 

10 comments:

♥ Marcy ♥ said...

I AM JUST SO SO PROUD OF YOU... You could have quit... but you haven't and I can't wait to see where you are next month, six months from now, and this time next year! You are a fighter Erin whether you see it or not ;)

A Better Tina said...

Wow. This is exactly what I needed. I listened to that voice a few weeks ago and now I'm struggling :(. Great job pushing threw! You are inspiring!

Erin said...

Keep going, Erin!!! You don't want to look back in a few months and regret that you gave up, that's the worst feeling ever! I know you can do this, it sounds like an awesome way to work out! WTG on what you've accomplished so far!

JMc said...

Step back in that door, girl!! You are kicking ass with that 203! I'm so proud of you.

Samantha @ 24 to 30 said...

Keep at it girl! I am proud of you for sticking with it!

Angela V. said...

Keep going! You'll keep getting better every day. Everyone there was a beginner once.

Nicki said...

I don't do crossfit but you know I do run and honestly the hardest part is lacing up those sneakers or my DVD that says give me 5 min. If after 5 min you're not having it then go back to bed. I've never regretted any run, even my bad one last week.
I'm so proud of you for sticking with it Erin.
Nothing that's ever really great in life comes easy, but it's always worth the hard work. All those hours will add up and you'll look back and wonder why you ever doubted yourself. So proud of you!!

Jamie said...

You can do it. Just lace up your shoes and go! Do it! Do it!

Melanie @ 4Kottez said...

Erin I am so damn happy for you girl... You are DOING IT!!! The mind can be a tricky sucker - but I am so glad you determination won out!

Jake said...

I wish crossfit was somewhere close to me. I would go, and probably suck...stay with it! good luck!!

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