Why Do You Come Here?

Why do you come here? Seriously, ask yourself…”Why the hell do I walk into CTF “X” amount of days per week?” Most people say they want to be “in shape” AND “look good”, but what does that mean? In my opinion those two things don’t always line up exactly how we think they should, and there are as many definitions of “in shape” and what “good” looks like as there are people, but that topic is for a different article.

So, what is it? As our gym name asks, what’s your conviction? What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning or gets you to the gym after work or on your lunch break? Let’s see, is it strict pull-ups? Do you want to run a mile in under ten minutes, or better yet without stopping? What about your Olympic lifts, do you wish you were moving thirty to forty pounds more than you are? Maybe you’re looking for a few inches off that waist? What I’m getting at is an image. Do you have an image in your mind of who you wish you were and what you looked like?

Just over four years ago, I walked into CTF (then known as CrossFit Hilton Head) with only one thing in mind. I wanted to look good and I wanted to feel good. Simple things to ask, right? I quickly got seduced by the drive to compete, this doesn’t happen for everyone and that is fine, maybe for you it is the community, the challenge, the variety, the achievement of doing something you didn’t think possible. Whatever it is, there is something about CrossFit that won me over in a way I have never experienced before with fitness. It was the opportunity to compete. I saw these badass girls on TV and I wanted to be them and I wanted it immediately.

I was willing to put in the work, and I did. A few months (months, not years, months) into CrossFit I began finding myself frustrated every time I left the box. I wasn’t frustrated because I wasn’t seeing improvement, but I was frustrated because I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I always wanted to be the fastest, strongest, best at gymnastics, and I wanted it right away. On one hand, it is important to always want more out of your life, but being patient is just as important. I know if I ever lose the feeling of “wanting more,” I will not continue to grow as a person, wife, daughter, athlete or coach. What was difficult in this situation was that I did not fully understand the road I had to take to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. The journey became frustrating and discouraging for me as it would for anyone not understanding why they come here.

I see this frustration and discouragement happen frequently. People start CrossFit all the time with the goal to get “in shape” and do it fast. It is uncomfortable, painful, and inconvenient. A few weeks go by, maybe even a few months, and unfortunately the rock hard abs they were looking for just aren’t there yet. It also happens inside the gym. We want those rings dips, handstand pushups, or the famous muscle up! We get a skill session and either a) don’t get the movement by the end of the session OR b) it doesn’t happen after we’ve completed (assuming we’ve completed) the three weeks worth of homework given, and we give up.

I am sure at this point you think, damn, Jenna is being a Debbie Downer. Before you pass judgement please let me explain myself. I am writing about this because I understand your frustration. I understand wanting to be better, working your ass off, and not being where you want to be or where you think you should be at a certain point in time. Some of you are fine with where you are, and that is awesome, but I am not writing this article for you. I am writing it for those of you that I know have either given up on working towards a goal or those of you who find themselves wanting to give up because you work your ass off and are not seeing what you THINK should be the results.

Eight months ago I sustained an injury that took me away from CrossFit. Not only did it take me away from CrossFit, it left me unable to do ANYTHING with a barbell (other than a strict press) for about 3 months. After that, it was minimum barbell work for about three more months. If you know me then you know the barbell is what I love about CrossFit. Its my specialty. However, what I thought was the worst thing in the world (not being able to touch a barbell) has actually turned out to be the best thing for me (at least as far as my attitude towards training is concerned). It took me four years and a pretty serious injury to make me realize a few things and maybe what I have learned can help you. I think if you whole-heartedly listen to this post it won’t take you four years of frustration to learn the same things I have about myself.

So, what did I learn? I learned that this is my journey, and mine alone. I will never be Julie Foucher or Camille Leblanc. I will never have the strength, skill, or same body as someone else. But, what I do have is mine. I cannot be somebody else. It is genetically impossible. I can though, be the best I can be at this moment. I have learned that endurance workouts will never be my thing. I’ve learned to be okay with it. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. My focus must lie in working towards mastering my strengths while improving my weaknesses. I also learned that as humans we are not responsible for the results our body produces. We are however responsible for the work and effort we put in. Given my setback and experience, I’ve learned to enjoy my body. Enjoy what it is capable of. Put the work in and amaze yourself. If you don’t happen to reach your goals in 6 months time don’t quit. If you understand what I’m saying, it won’t matter if it takes you years. Go in without expectations on the actual outcome and understand why you’re here. You’ll be surprised just how close you can get, and maybe, just maybe you will go further than you ever imagined.

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