I hobbled into the restaurant to meet my friend for dinner.
"What happened to you?" She asked. "Are you hurt?"
"I've been doing CrossFit" I replied. "I'm fine. Just really sore".
"CrossFit?" she looks horrified. “Why?"
I am trying out CrossFit because people around me look at an impossible workout (say, 5 kettlebell swings, 10 handstand push ups and a 400 meter run repeated five times) and say "Yes. Yes, I can do that". They say yes even if they can't, and then look at the trainer to determine how they can get there from here.
There is no such thing as "you can't get there from here". You can get anywhere from anywhere. I want to be reminded of this as often as possible.
I believe that people who nod and begin right away to work towards something slightly deranged have an attitude that is (thankfully) contagious, and believe too that said attitude will splash onto every part of my life if I let it. I want more "yes, I can do that" in a world that often seems so difficult. “Slightly deranged” seems to me like the only way to survive.
I am trying out CrossFit because it's good to hang onto being a beginner. I feel incredibly awkward that I don't know what a kettleball is or how to use one. (well, I do now.) I didn't know what double-unders were (and now I can do one. One!)
Being a beginner is uncomfortable and humbling, and makes me feel like I need to more frequently not know, and have to ask, and decide to try. I need to feel lost and figure out how to feel found so that I get better at feeling found. I can't learn how to find myself if I am always avoiding getting lost.
I can't guarantee I will never again feel small but I can learn the steps to get from small to adequate as quickly as possible and do them over and over again to make things easier for future me who’s guaranteed to feel lost and small quite often. (Bonus: if I stick with this, she’ll be stronger too.)
Being a beginner builds up other important things, such as empathy and compassion. It will grant me the patience and presence of mind to extend a hand the next time I encounter someone trying really hard to figure out things that seem obvious and easy to me.
I'm trying out CrossFit because a lot of what’s up on the whiteboard under “WOD” (workout of the day) is stuff I don’t particularly like. I recently learned that I derive pleasure from doing things I like, but even more pleasure from doing something I didn't think I'd enjoy and just letting myself be bad at it. As a recovering overachiever it’s so liberating to disassociate my actions from any form of even remote proficiency.
Besides, if stuck to what I do well my activities would be pretty limited, and I'd never discover anything new. I'd rather be sore.
I believe in the power of practice. I learned this in yoga but CrossFit has been a good reminder of it applying to everything. I'm not good at something or bad at something (and neither are you). There are things I've done a lot of and things I've never tried.
I want to try a wider range of things because I bet you I can get at least moderately good at extremely unlikely things. My single double-under will one day be two and one day maybe before 2016 I will post in some public forum a supremely annoying humble brag of me doing a handstand pushup.
Finally, CrossFit reminds me I have limits. I have never (and will never) throw up after a workout. If I did, it would be a result of my own ego being a fool. I'll try super hard to do 20 reps of that in under a minute but if I feel like my heart might beat out of my chest I will stop so I can lean against something and pant. Because contrary to what I’ve heard, CrossFit is not going to push me beyond what’s healthy. Only I can do that.