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.

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Healthy and Fit Families

Yesterday, I went to support my friends (a married couple) from my CrossFit gym (Diablo CrossFit) at the Sac Throwdown which is a yearly CrossFit competition.  This was held at the Sleep Train Arena (home of the Sacramento Kings).  They both participated in a team of 4.  They were in the Masters Division (38 years old and up).  They are a pretty  AWESOME couple.  I always see them at the gym, as well as, their two daughters (10 and 8) whom you can hear cheering them on in the video.  They are about mid-40’s I believe and you could never tell.  I always thought they were in their 20’s because they are SUPER FIT (fitter than most at the gym) and are very youthful in personalities and appearance.  Their children are also active and involved in various sports and they all follow the Paleo lifestyle.

I love seeing couples and families following a healthy and active lifestyle.  I love seeing them at the gym or even seeing them while hiking on a trail or doing other outdoor activities.  It just confirms how much I believe that you don’t have to quit doing active things or start making excuses once you get to a certain age or get married and/or have kids.   Some make excuses such as “I have no time”, “I’m too old”, “I’m too busy”, etc. and all they want to do is just stay home, eat, and watch TV living vicariously through characters on TV.  You also hear excuses from even young couples that just enter into a boyfriend/ girlfriend relationship. That’s when all the excuses begin but that shouldn’t be the case.  Especially when you love someone, you should all the more take care of your health and well-being.  The more you love and take care of your health and well-being, the more you can love and take care of your significant other and/or family’s health and well-being.  Also, all the more  you should  want to improve and become better all around.  It is true that when you enter in a relationship that the significant other should “accept you for who you are” but that doesn’t mean let yourself go! Being in a relationship requires work. Work hard to keep the relationship going and improving.  In order to improve as a couple, both individuals would have to grow and improve as well (physically, mentally, and spiritually). Couples should be able to support each other in these goals in order to improve and keep the relationship happy and exciting.  And if kids are in the picture, the healthy/ happy lifestyle will carry on to them  as well.  Kudos to healthy and fit families!

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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).

New Week, New Goals..

So the weekend is over and Monday is a day some usually dread because it’s the start of the “work week”… but there’s good things about Mondays.  Although I’m pretty spontaneous sometimes and like to wing things, in a way, I also like structure and routine. What I like about it is planning around “work” and other responsibilities.  I like to have weekly goals so Monday is a great start for new goals.  I have to implement discipline and balance my life through the week to achieve those goals.   It’s like a challenge of fitting in pieces of a puzzle together.  Each piece would represent an area of life – church, work, family, fitness, health, friends, etc. And as each piece comes together, it creates the bigger picture and a sense of completeness/ self-fulfillment.  A few of my goals I set for this week are:

  • Run 5 miles total this week (haven’t ran in a while due to shin splints!)
  • Practice sprints and drills on the track (also has been a while)
  • CrossFit 5 times this week
  • Attend at least 1 bible study
  • Complete my annual performance review for work
  • Complete all my responsibilities at work
  • Do a volunteer activity – help build a home w/ Habitat for Humanity
  • Sleep by 9:30-10 (I already broke this today 😀 )  <–definitely something I need to work on!
  • Study at least 5 hours
  • 10,000 steps/ day minimum- just regular walking (this is in addition to workouts)

At lunch, I took a walk while listening to my audiobook.  I always stuff my backpack w/ gym clothes for lunch but some days like today, I like to take advantage of working in the city and just take a walk.  Simple, no change of clothes needed …  just some flats or my wedge boots.  It’s so refreshing just being outdoors, especially in San Francisco.  Especially if super busy at work, it’s just a good way to reset my mind so once I get back to work, I feel more energized and my brain has more clarity to tackle the tasks I need to accomplish.  This is one of my views during the walk.

I <3 SF

By the end of the day, I made at least 10,371 steps (yay! I met my goal for today).  This app that was already installed on my phone is pretty accurate.  It really does count the steps you take when your phone is on you.  I figured, I should keep track out of curiosity of how much I walk.  I do have a desk job so I need to be as active as possible and make every little thing count!

Number of Steps for Jan 06 2014

Number of Steps for Jan 06 2014

My workout was just CrossFit today, the WOD was a surprise and I could see why.  The WOD ended up being a 1 mile run.  This was after the 6×2 Push Press Strength Lift which is the current strength cycle.  I haven’t ran in a while (probably just once in the past month) because I was still recovering from Shin Splints.  Based on researching,  the only way to fully recover from Shin Splints are mobility exercises/ stretches, icing and unfortunately, just refraining from running and fully resting the shins.  I was not in the mood to run.  It was cold out and it made me nervous not having ran in a while but I knew I had to so when coach said 3-2-1-Go, I just went. It’s all mental for me though.  Sometimes I psyche myself out prior, but while I run, I talk to myself a lot and pray a lot when I run too.  I don’t listen to music because it gets in the way of my thoughts.  Ultimately, it’s about not giving up or slowing down no matter what – I relate running a lot to life (yeah I’m pretty corny :P). Right now, my lungs still hurt because of all the cold air I breathed in my lungs but surprisingly I finished the mile at 6:58-a new PR for me!  Once again, glad I ended up doing it!  It reminds me …”Don’t give up before you try!” because you just never know! Happy Monday!! 😀

Myster Monday WOD

Myster Monday WOD