Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Part of my Crossfit Journey

Crossfit is a funny thing. It makes me feel like I’d rather jump into shark infested waters then finish this workout. And then in a matter of seconds, I’m contemplating punching those sharks in the face cause I’m off to conquer the world. The life lessons I’ve learned in the middle of a snatch far surpass any I’ve learned outside the gym. People say it takes someone’s whole life to figure out what kind of person they really are. I say, introduce them to Fran…. come pull up #15, they’ll know what they’re made of.

I think its safe to say that I’ve been a member of every single Crossfit club out there.
I’ve been a member of :
The Firebreathers Club
The I’m Just Doing This So I Can Eat Ice Cream And Not Get Fat Club
The I Define Myself As A Person By My Crossfit Numbers Club
And the I’m Tired Of Being A Little Sissy Girl, So I Crossfit Club

Recently, I’ve been the president of the I Define Myself By My Crossfit Numbers Club and I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about it. That is the reason I’m writing this ridiculous blog post. I want to know the password to, and be a member of, ANY Crossfit club I want... all without ever being disappointed in myself. And I’d love if all of you could do the same.

Let me break it down for you…

I’ve recently started attending Al -anon meetings. Al -anon is a program for families of alcoholics who come and share and learn how to look within themselves to solve all of life’s problems. I could go into all the ways it has exposed how jacked up I am, but then you’d know I’m not perfect… and I just can’t have that. Instead, I want to share with you what I’ve learned from Al-anon that has transferred directly over into my Crossfit world (because it really is a whole nother world).

There are three slogans from Al- anon that I say to myself pre, mid, and post wod.

#1. Keep it simple

I don’t know about you, but I will lose 8 kilograms before I ever even start my workout. I literally perspire… 8 kilograms of sweat…as I nervously break down and psychoanalyze every exercise in my head. However, my new and improved Al-anon self knows that I need not turn something small into the greatest feat of all time. Does that mean that I don’t take my workout seriously? No. It means that I keep things simple. I look at it as my workout… and nothing more. It is my workout that I am doing because I want to be healthy and happy all while looking good in Lululemon shorts. I do not look at it as a compilation of movements that individually tap into my self-conscious exposing all of my deepest darkest secrets and character flaws. Keep it simple.

#2. One day at a time

I want to be the best Olympic weightlifter and Crossfitter that ever walked the planet. I want to have a big butt and an 18 pack. And, in the midst of all that, I want to have a life. Can all of that happen in one day? If you say yes, contact me immediately. If you say no, perhaps you understand the concept of “one day at a time”.

I often get sick to my stomach when I realize how much work I have to do with my training. My legs need to be able to squat more than a toothpick with teddy bears tied to the ends, I need to be able string more pull ups together without it feeling like someone threw lava rocks at my forearms, and I need to lose the mindset that I would rather be stabbed in the eye with a hepatitis infected needle than run for more than 20 meters.

So, what can I do? I can focus on one day at a time. I can think about what it is that I need to do TODAY to make me better. I’m not going to worry about what I couldn’t do yesterday, and I’m not going to predict what I should be able to do tomorrow, because all of those thoughts will deter me from accomplishing what I can at this very moment. Lisbeth Darsh once said something that I will FOREVER remember.. “I will promise to do my best. My best will vary from day to day, from hour to hour, from minute to minute. But in that minute, I will do the very best I can”.

This means, that I can be apart of whatever Crossfit club I want, depending on what I’m feeling on that particular day. Whether it’s the I Have Period Cramps So I’m Going To Just Get Through This Workout Club, or the Get The Eff Out Of My Way Before I Snatch Your Face Off Club, it’s my choice… and I’m going to OWN that choice because I am working on focusing on one day at a time.

When you get caught up in the worry of what you didn’t do, what you couldn’t do and what you should be doing, remember to live your training life one day at a time.

#3. The serenity prayer

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”

Reread that about 5 times and try to understand what it is REALLY trying to say. Religious or not, this prayer can do wonders for those of us with a wandering and doubtful mind. This prayer reminds me that I am in control of one thing and one thing only: myself. I am in control of my performance, yes, but more importantly, I am in control of my thinking.

Recently, my non Al-anon self has been gazing the room mid workout to see how far behind I am. I train with the top level Invictus athletes, so it’s safe to say that I’m usually behind by a good amount. This is where I practice saying the serenity prayer. I practice acceptance that I cannot control how fast my teammates are throwing around ridiculous amounts of weight. More importantly, I practice acceptance that I cannot control someone else’s interpretation of why I am performing slower than those around me. What I can control is MY speed on the workout and MY interpretation of my performance. If I take away the pressure of trying to do well for others, and solely focus on myself, I begin to realize that in that moment, I’m doing pretty dang well. (Oh, the wonders that can do for a workout’s level of enjoyment!)

So, next time you are beating yourself up mid workout because you are 3 thrusters behind someone else, try to figure out what it is that you can control in that moment. Is it someone else? Or is it you?

Right now, in this very moment, I am feeling good about the next time I walk into the gym because I’ve found the slogans what work for me. The slogans that allow me to workout and be fit, all without turning into a crazy person who pulls her eyelashes out because she couldn’t dead lift 300lbs.

I have my slogans.. do you have yours?