10 Things To Learn From CrossFit

CrossFit has gained popularity, especially within the past few years. Despite the growth of the CrossFit community, however, there are still many people who will never walk into a CrossFit box or attempt a WOD. I hear it all the time: “I’m not fit enough to do CrossFit yet” or “I’m scared!”

It’s natural for people to shy away from things we’re not good at and stick to the things we are. I get it. Nobody wants to start something and get their badunks handed to them right away. No one likes that feeling. Everybody has been there one way or another with something in life. But let’s face it: in learning anything new, you’re not going to be an expert at it right away. Before you run a marathon, you need to learn how to walk first. Before you write a novel, you need to know your alphabet first. (I like analogies…)

I believe people should give CrossFit a chance. Having CrossFit as a part of the “lifestyle” can teach one many things, but I have narrowed my list down to ten things one can learn or be reminded of from CrossFit:

10. Variety is the spice of life

CrossFit workouts vary on a day-to-day basis and that’s what keeps it exciting. Like life, it’s good to try new things. It’s fun! It’s good to change things up or else you’ll get bored out of your mind. You’ll get stuck in a rut and your body will plateau if you’re doing the same thing over and over. To get better results and to be able to stick with something long term, you’ll need to change things up and keep it exciting.

9. Competition is good for you

No matter how good you think you are at something, there is going to be someone better than you — especially at CrossFit. You may be better at some movements/workouts than the person next to you, but there are some movements/workouts that person is better at. The friendly competition is good for you; it keeps you on your toes. One way to get better is to be around those that are better. You shouldn’t get discouraged by being around those that are better but instead use it to your advantage by aiming to keep up and push even harder. Also, use it as an opportunity to learn something from them.

8. Welcome challenges

It’s no secret that CrossFit is very challenging. Whether it be your 1st CrossFit workout or your 1,000th CrossFit workout, it will always challenge you. It doesn’t get any easier but you will get stronger, better, faster. How? By constantly putting yourself through challenges and workouts and overcoming them. It’s similar to how “Gold is tested by fire” — by putting yourself through fire, you will come out a better and truer athlete than you were before.

7. Be more prepared in life

CrossFit will help you with your daily life. Whatever it is that you do now, you will do it better. Are you already an athlete in a different sport? CrossFit will help you become better in whatever sport you are involved. Not an athlete prior to CrossFit? Well, you are now an athlete of the sport called “Life,” which throws many things at you. With CrossFit you are more likely to be ready for anything that comes your way. Also, the tasks you do on a daily basis will become easier and more efficient, even little things such as housework or taking a trip to the grocery store. For example, if you’re a man, and a woman asks you to move or pick up something heavy, doing CrossFit will teach you how to properly pick things up or move things around and to do it with ease. If you’re a woman who does CrossFit, very likely you won’t need a guy’s help to lift/move something or help you with your bags of groceries or bottled water cases. You can do that yourself! (Girl power! Unless you want your guy to feel like a “man,” then by all means go ahead and let him carry it.)

6. Humility

In CrossFit, you’re constantly reminded to “leave your ego at the door.” No one has to tell you that aloud because the workouts will constantly remind you of this fact. No matter what level of fitness with which you begin your CrossFit journey, you’re going to feel like you suck sometimes and wonder,”What the heck have I been doing all my life?!” CrossFit will point out your weaknesses just like a critic. While some choose to think of constructive criticism negatively, there are those who embrace it with open arms; they choose to not take it so personally and use it to turn those weaknesses into strengths.

5. Confidence

On the opposite end of the spectrum from humility, CrossFit gives you confidence. You don’t know something is possible until you do it. You don’t think you could do a certain movement because it seems impossible… but once you do it, you surprise yourself and what was once impossible to you was made possible. It may have taken a few progression movements and a little bit of time but guess what? You finally did it! Now, what’s next for you to tackle/ improve upon? The list is endless. You can tackle/ improve upon anything!

4. Be encouraging/Help others in need

The last thing people need in this world are naysayers, debbie downers, haters, and the like. It is very unlikely you will find that in the CrossFit community, as most CrossFitters are really positive and encouraging. Why is that? Because they know what it feels like to go through he** during a workout. They have empathy for what you’re going through and they praise you for doing what you do. That could mean a lot when you feel like giving up. They say CrossFit is the only sport that has the most cheers for the last person finishing up a WOD as opposed to the first person. And because you know how much encouragement can push you harder, you use the “Golden Rule” to give encouragement back to others as well. Similarly, everyone in life is going through their own battles, big or small. Always be encouraging and help others to overcome them.

3. Perseverance

CrossFit teaches you to never give up. During a WOD, you’re racing against time and within that time you have to focus and give your 100% the entire time, even when you get tired. Your 100% effort towards the end of the WOD may not be the same 100% in the beginning of the WOD because of the pain your body is feeling, but if you allow that pain to cause you to give up, then you don’t succeed. The worst thing that you could do is give up. In the same way, you should never give up on goals, dreams, and whatever it is that you truly want in life. And when you’re going through a tough/painful time in life, don’t give up! Just like a WOD, that pain is short and temporary. That pain will make you STRONGER.

2. Mental toughness

CrossFit definitely makes you tough. In addition to physical toughness, CrossFit gives you the more important attribute of “Mental Toughness.” According to Wikipedia, “Mental Toughness generally describes a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances and emerge without losing confidence.” Before every CrossFit workout or a really difficult lift, you get that nervous feeling because you’re scared of the unknown. You don’t know whether or not you’re going to be able to lift that amount of weight you put on the bar or if you’re going to fail & bail. You also don’t know how you’re going to get through that workout you’re about to do once the clock starts. But during the lift or WOD, you hear all the voices in your head — your mind telling you one thing vs. your heart vs. your body. When you overcome that voice that is telling you to quit, you mentally become tougher and realize that you can overcome anything difficult.

1. Share happiness with others

CrossFit helps you to become a better version of yourself in a variety of ways, and I’ve narrowed it down to 10. It’s certainly obvious that doing CrossFit has many health benefits as well for your body. Just to name a few: it helps you minimize the risk of diseases, gain more energy, and have a better mood — all of these will lead to a better quality of life. When you’re making healthier and positive changes for yourself and you are surrounded by others that are doing the same, you will stick with it and likely be happier in general. The happier you are, the more happiness you’ll be able to share among others in your presence. Happiness is contagious and inspiring, so go out there and be stronger, be better, be happy and be inspiring!

* Today marks my 5th year since I first did a CrossFit WOD (1/24/2009).  I LOVE CrossFit!

**  This post is also on Tabata Times.

Dream List

20140108_075646 So I have this beat up notebook, with Wonder Woman on the cover.  (It’s just a cover – not implying anything :P) It includes my “Dream List” inside that I had started in 2005.  It all started when I listened to the audio book, “Universal Laws of Success and Achievement” by Brian Tracy in 2005.  It was a very motivating book.  These laws can be applied to every aspect of life.  One big takeaway for me in this book was the concept of creating a “Dream List”.  A “Dream List” is a list of your dreams, EVERYTHING you want, want to achieve, want to have, want to be — you get the point.  When creating your “Dream List”, you cannot have any doubts.  You need to have the mindset that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE and THERE ARE NO LIMITATIONS.  I usually don’t wait until the New Year to create “New Year’s Resolutions”, but I do refer to my “Dream List” which is a list of my “lifetime” goals/ dreams and prioritize them according to what I’d like to accomplish through the year.

unnamed I bring my notebook with my “Dream List” with me almost everywhere I go and I refer to it almost on a daily basis.  My list includes goals/ dreams that are spiritual goals, family goals, fitness/ health goals, career/ financial goals, travel/ adventure goals, and more.  To share a few, some goals in my “Dream List” are:

Spiritual –

  • Achieve the highest level of faith
  • Always perform my duties cheerfully
  • Bear a million fruits
  • Always be prayerful and trusting in the LORD
  • Always be thankful

Family/ Friends –

  • Make my parents proud
  • Free parents financially
  • Remember family/ friends’ birthdays without the help of social media
  • Be a better friend/ family member/ etc..

Health /Fitness – 

  • Compete in an NPC figure competition (check)
  • Do an obstacle race (check – done Spartan Races, Alpha Warrior, etc.)
  • Do a CrossFit competition (check – done a few)
  • Do the TriFitnessChallenge
  • Do A Spartan Ultra Beast
  • Go Ruck Challenge
  • Deadlift 300 lbs.  (currently at 245 lbs.)
  • Great Wall of China Marathon
  • 150 Double Unders (Current max is 70; 60 was goal last year)
  • Handstand walk 100m
  • World’s Steepest Race in Europe
  • Have a six-pack
  • Be healthy
20130811_060231_zps1e28b161 (1)

Achieved the Spartan Trifecta and more!

Travel/Adventure – 

  • Thailand
  • Croatia
  • Jerusalem
  • Hawaii (check)
  • Puerto Rico & Bioluminescent Bay
  • Colorado (check)
  • Chicago & deep dish pizza (check)
  • Australia & Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef
  • New Zealand & Sky Diving
  • Shark Cage Diving (check)
  • Skydive (check)
  • Catch a record-breaking fish!
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Puerto Rico / Bioluminescent Bay

Croatia - Plitvice Waterfalls

Croatia – Plitvice Waterfalls

Career/ Financial –

  • Own a Gym
  • Coach/ Train
  • Work in another country

Other Categories – Personal/ Skills/ etc…

  • Be a positive person
  • Be kind
  • Be helpful
  • Always smile
  • Look and stay youthful
  • Simplify my life
  • Live a peaceful and happy life
  • Do a volunteer activity at least once a month
  • Learn to sew
  • Build a house
  • Build a car
  • Learn to speak/ write in Japanese
  • Master wilderness/ survival skills
  • Learn photography skills
  • Learn how to make a website
  • Be a better writer!

And the list goes on and on and on………..This is just a glimpse of some goals I have in there.  Throughout the years, I have added more things to the list, I have checked things off that were accomplished and I have crossed things out that I no longer want or desire.  Out of all the pages and pages of goals in there, it may be surprising to most to know that I have nothing about getting married/ having kids in there which some would have deadlines for.  I’m a firm believer that one needs to FOCUS on his/her individual goals most especially spiritually and if God’s will, God will direct someone towards the same path – someone with similar goals and direction.  And when each individual’s paths cross, both will inspire and enhance each other’s visions to work towards each other’s dreams.  But that’s another blog entry : )

Once you create a list of goals and dreams, it does not stop there.  There must be action in order to have those goals come to life! The reason I carry the list with me everywhere and refer to it daily is to remind me of the actions I must take in order to work towards my goals.  I want to make sure that every thing I spend time on each day is helping me work towards my goals.

I believe everyone should have a “Dream List”.  It is a great tool to help you really think about what you really, really want and so you can work towards those goals and not aimlessly sometimes.  I have written a guide on how to create a “Dream List”.

How to Make a Dream List

1) Make a DREAM LIST – create a list of things that you want to be, things you want to achieve, things you want to have (there are NO LIMITATIONS/ anything is possible!!) e.g.  run a 4 minute mile, achieve the highest level of faith, save up a  million dollars, ANYTHING!  (This list should be long.  You can update this and add things to this list – this list is ongoing).

2) Rank each goal on your list either:

  • A = number one priority in your life (should be spiritual goals, family goals, health, etc.) and you desire it most intensely;
  • B = like to have or be or like to achieve but not as important as your A goals; 
  • = nice to accomplish or to have but don’t care about it too passionately (e.g. ride a motorcycle)

3) Transfer your A goals onto a sheet of paper, B goals into another sheet of paper and C goals into another sheet of paper.  Rank each goal in your A goal list (since these are top priority).  Number each goal in order of importance.

e.g.

A1 = Salvation

A2= To achieve the highest level of faith

A8 = Be healthy….

C20 = Go on an African Safari

**My top goals are spiritual followed by family then health, etc.

4)  Now separate each goal onto its own sheet of paper.  Write the goal on the top of the paper and list 20 or more actions that will HELP you achieve that goal.  Everything in this action list should be aligned with that certain goal and you should be able and willing to do these action items.  You will find there are actions you aren’t doing at the moment. This will help you evaluate where you are now and help you move forward towards achieving the goal.  I noticed that my goal of “Be Healthy” includes a lot of other goals I have so I want to focus on this so I can achieve other goals simultaneously.   Here is an example of one goal with some action items:

A8 = Be Healthy

Actions:

  1. Pray for good health
  2. Eat clean, balanced, unprocessed foods
  3. Walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day
  4. CrossFit at least 4 times a week
  5. Play – have at least one outdoor activity a week – hike/ run/ kayak/ bike/ etc.
  6. Floss twice a day
  7. Have annual physical exam
  8. Drink at least 10 glasses of water a day
  9. Sleep 7-9 hours
  10. Dental cleaning twice a year
  11. Drink Green Tea at least twice a day
  12. Yoga at least once a week
  13. Consume 3-5g fish oil daily
  14. and more!!!

As you can see, most of these actions are “daily” or “weekly” goals.  As long as I am following through the actions that I list down, I am working towards my main goal of  “Be Healthy”.  You will also find that some actions should be a “main goal” as well and then you’ll need to make action items for that specific goal.

Do this process for each goal or dream in life that you have.  NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.  THERE ARE NO LIMITATIONS especially when we pray for God’s guidance.  As long as you’re following through with the actions aligned with the goal, you get closer and closer to achieving your dreams! : )

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CrossFit and Life

Had my crossfit workout 5:30 this morning.  It was a workout I feel I did not do my best in.  The workout was wallballs at 20# hitting a 9ft target and also heavy kettlebell swings at 53#.  You start off at 3reps each then you go up by 3reps each time so start off at 3 reps ‘heavy’ wall balls, 3 reps ‘heavy’ kb swings then 6 each, 9 each and so forth until 8min is over.  It was an 8min AMRAP. After the first 3 reps of 20#, going into the next set of 6 reps each, I immediately switched to the 14# medicine ball because it was pretty heavy and I was barely hitting the target and knew it would just get harder as time passes.

After every workout, I usually take in a lesson… I ask myself if I put in my best within the given time I had, I ask myself if there were things I did wrong, and what improvements I could have made to be better.  CrossFit is much like life in many ways.  One similarity is that we are given a certain amount of time to accomplish certain things (movements).  The more effort we put in, the better and stronger person (athlete) we become.

Today I didn’t do my best because I probably could have done the Rx 20# medicine ball but knew it would slow me down tremendously because I felt like I wouldn’t hit my target at every rep.  I would have to take more chances to be able to hit it successfully.  It’s like life in that sometimes you fail and that you have to keep trying and work harder in order to hit your targets/ goals.  Sometimes it will take a little longer than usual but you need patience with yourself.  Sometimes you need to slow down in order to make it count and to make it perfect.  There is no need to rush.

Also, I know I usually do my best when in the end, I am left gasping for breath and that I feel I exerted all my effort and gave in 110% focus in the task at hand. But today I did not push myself pass that point.  Today, I took the easy way out and scaled down.  I felt fine at the end and didn’t even a break a sweat although going up to 21reps WB + 17KB swings.   It felt hard but did not have me at the floor gasping for air.  I know I didn’t push myself pass my limitations.

But in the end,  this is a reminder that not every day (workout), I am going to “PR”.  Some days are going to be better than others.  Sometimes I’ll succeed, sometimes I am going to suck and feel I could have done way better.  Sometimes I’ll have to take a step back or two and sometimes, I’ll take more steps forward towards the right direction.  But again, like life, I take in this lesson with me and will apply it the next time I am faced with a challenge (WOD).

Simplify.

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In a world that is growing and expanding of knowledge, technology, gadgets, clothing, fashion, and new/ more advanced things being invented all the time, it’s natural to want.   I find that things get old, things break, trends pass, something better comes out and you’ll want something new.  It’s just a cycle – a cycle that’ll make you broke or in debt and focusing on the wrong things. Sometimes people base their happiness on things and after those things are taken away, they are felt empty, unhappy, perhaps even lonely or bored.

It seems like almost everyday nowadays, most especially Sundays remind me of the essential meaning of life.  I spent the whole day today fulfilling my obligations at church practically from 7am – 6pm.  You can see it was a little longer than a regular workday, but it feels a lot more fulfilling.

Growing up with collecting things and with parents afraid to throw away things (even though they haven’t used it in YEARS!!!), I came to the point where I felt like I should focus on being happy with less.  Sometimes you see people with lots of things and have everything going for them (for example, some celebrities) and you wonder why they choose to take their own life away when it seems like they have everything. And then sometimes you see others that don’t have much in terms of material things; they live a very simple and humble life yet you could see how happy and peaceful they are.  I admire those people. So this is the kind of joy that I strive to have and keep for all my days.   A few of the ways that I have and am continuing to do to declutter/ simplify my life are:

1. Let go of things that I don’t need or haven’t used in years. I ask myself questions such as:

  • Is this something I will use in the future?
  • Does this have any value or would it be more valuable to someone else?
  • Does this have any sentimental value?
  • Do I have a similar item that serves the same purpose?
  • Will I miss this when it is gone?

If it doesn’t have any value to me, could be more valuable to another, or if it is something I will not miss, I will get rid of it by either sending it to the family in Philippines, donating or selling it.

2.  Let go of relationships that don’t lift me up or bring me closer to any of my goals.  I have many goals – all written in my “Dream List” in my notebook.  But most of them have a commonality of being a better or stronger person (physically, mentally or spiritually).  There will be people that try to steer you from your goals or what you are trying to accomplish.  They will even tell you what your goals and focus should be.  There are even those that try to bring you down for the positive things you do such as for your health and well-being. There are some people that are just naturally pessimistic people.  The difficult thing is some of those I mentioned may be people that are close to you.  You don’t have to cut them off entirely but minimize your time spent with them or try not to speak to them about your goals.  They will only try to shoot you down. Prove them wrong.

3.  Choose my time wisely.  We all have 24 hours in a day and every second counts.  I really don’t “hang out” much unless it is with those people that make me feel good, family, or friends that inspire me with any of my goals.  Other than that, I utilize most hours of the day in doing something that will bring me closer to any of my goals.  Hence, I no longer play Call of Duty : (

4.  No impulse buying.  If I do go to the store (except groceries), it’s because I know in advance what I need.  I rarely go window shopping. And let’s say I’m at the store and see something cheap -I really evaluate if I’m buying it only because it is cheap or if it is something I truly need.  I used to buy things because it is cheap (darn Daiso!) or because I liked it at the time, but I end up only using it once or not at all and it just ends up as clutter.   So I ask myself if it is just a trend or if it’s something I can wear/ use in the long run or if it is something that I will miss a week later.  More than likely, I’ll forget about that item and not regret buying it.

5.  Disconnect.  I choose to not have an Instagram or Twitter account and I’ve deactivated the FB temporarily (not sure when I’ll put it back) but it feels nice to be more focused on things that are aligned with the goals.  I like FB in that I “like” pages that provide me information such as “CrossFit” but now, don’t get me wrong – I haven’t fully adapted the primal lifestyle and become like the Mayans relying on the sundials to tell time.  I still use technology (not the TV).  I’m still on the internet but usually for working on things or for accomplishing tasks.  I’m also on MyFitnessPal to track my nutrition or BeyondtheWhiteboard for my workouts.  For leisure I am on YouTube watching Tutorials, MobilityWOD videos to help with my mobility/ recovery, Barbell Shrugged, Audible for audio books, INCMedia.org, and other sites to help me more with my goals.  Also, I have thousands of e-mails and I’ve been trying to “unsubscribe” to those e-mails that have nothing to do with the goals and I utilize “filters” so I can prioritize e-mails and get to the non-urgent things if time permits.  I like to be in control of the things I’d like to see and have information for if I have the ability to control it. There’s a lot of unnecessary information out there I personally don’t need to know.  I also like to personally connect with those that I choose to through various other methods plus it feels better and warmer that way.

6. Focus on the things that last.  As mentioned earlier, things get old, things break and when problems arise, those don’t last either.  So no need to worry and clutter our minds.  I like to work on overall health and fitness because it provides me energy and strength to focus on the things that last. Focus on faith, hope, and love – these are the simple joys of life. Most especially, focus on the things that will last eternally (2 Corinthians 4:18).