I wrote this with CrossFit in mind, but can certainly be applied to any workout, or life situation you have. Now, if someone will tattoo this on my hand, I’d appreciate it.
We all have that story. You know, the one of your first day of CrossFit. How you walked in feeling relatively in shape, and learned by the end of the warm up you were doomed. Yep, my story is just the same as yours. It’s full of tears and pain and desperation. I’m sure our endings are the same as well, that by the time you peeled yourself off the floor, gathered up your jacket and water bottle, and found your ability to drive home, you were hooked. Resolved that you could do better. Certain that you could beat that time.
I had committed myself to two workouts a week. I was sure that would be plenty to get in the shape that I had desired. You know, I just wanted to look good in a bathing suit. After three months of twice a week workouts, I stepped up to three times a week. A few months later, I was going every chance I got. While I have family, work, and life commitments, just like the rest of us, I still maintain that schedule. Every chance I get, I’m there. That was two years ago. So, my times should be rocking… right? I should be posting some crazy fast Fran, Diane, and Elizabeth times… right? Nope. My times are average. My body is average. That’s me; I’m just your average CrossFitter.
Life for an average CrossFit girl can be quite frustrating. I have my “rabbit” girls. You know, those that I am continually chasing and am certain I will never catch. I have those I can beat, those that I can hang with, and those that I will never measure up to, for now. My times have improved tremendously. My body has changed drastically. The amount I can lift, swing, and kip has grown leaps and bounds from that first fateful workout. I’m proud of my accomplishments and what my body can do, but I’m average, and that’s ok. Or is it?
I find myself looking at the workout, seeing other’s times, and deciding what a “good time for me” would be, and then I try to hit that goal. I mean, I certainly don’t want to set myself up for failure… but what if I am? By deciding where I should be I am not allowing myself to see where I can be. We average CrossFit girls can fall into a trap. We know we aren’t always going to finish last, but we seriously doubt we can finish first. We stand in our own way. I would be so frustrated if I listened to someone else try to figure out what was “good enough,” so why should I do it to myself? The reason I find myself in the gym as much as possible is because CrossFit awakened this desire in me. This intense craving to be strong, not just toned; to have an excellent body fat percentage, not just a size 4; to explode past limits I had unwittingly put on myself, not just be good enough. So, why is it that I now find myself setting mediocre standards? It’s just not ok anymore.
So, how do I do it? How do I stop this vicious cycle of weakness? I will walk into the gym, look at the workout, and not set a goal time, but just see what happens. A lot of times, when I am setting my “good enough” time I find myself slowing down, or allowing myself more rest times, because I was a little ahead of where I should be. How ridiculous is that? What if we average girls walked into a workout without any preconceived notions. Instead of finding where we should fit, we should walk into our favorite box, garage gym, or your favorite place to WOD, and simply kill it. We should push ourselves three more reps when we feel like we are going to stop. We break for only 5 seconds instead of looking at the clock during our breaks to make sure we are “on track.” The only way to break the “average” cycle is to push yourself further than you thought possible.
One of my favorite ways to push through the average stereotype I place on myself is to up the ante. Not only should we push ourselves during the workout, blasting through the breaks and the rests, but grab a heavier weight than our comfort zone and see what happens. When we are comfortable with a weight, and it begins to feel “easy” or becomes one of our favorite things to do, we should push it further. If the prescribed weight for a kettlebell swing is 35lbs, I will pick up a 45lbs kettlebell and deal with being last (if that is the outcome) because I know it is forcing me to be stronger. I will add ten pounds to my lifts, and see what happens. I will spend time before and after the WOD working on my weaknesses, and stay on the pull up bar three more reps than I normally do. I will push myself harder and farther. I mean, how do you think those “rabbit” girls got there?
It’s time for we average CrossFitters to stop should-ing all over ourselves. When we put ourselves where we thing we should be, we are not allowing ourselves to see where we could be. It’s time for us to face our weaknesses, push through the pain, and explore the world of the above average. Don’t be happy with good enough. Stop using the phrase “that’s good for me.” Throw yourself out of the comfort zone and into the bad-a** zone.