When I began implementing CrossFit workouts into my training back in 2009, my goal was never to compete in the sport of fitness. I was on a weight loss journey, with goals to complete large scale endurance events, all while building an aesthetically pleasing physique.
The first workout I saw on Mainsite (CrossFit.com) was “Cindy,” a 20 minute AMRAP of 5 Pull ups, 10 Push Ups and 15 “Air” Squats. Unlike some, I did not jump in head first and begin trying to bust down every WOD that popped up online – actually, I wasn’t sure what the CrossFit thing was, but knew it had something to do with Pull Ups, Push Ups and Squats – movements that I usually stayed away from. I began doing 5 rounds of this “Cindy” workout as my warm up; then slowly started adding it to my resistance training circuits. I was not doing the workouts as Prescribed, not was I using CrossFit training as my workout – I was simply using it as a tool to get to where I believed I needed to go.
One year later, I was able to achieve the weight loss goals I had set for myself, but still had my eye on conquering a 25K, Marathon and 50 Mile endurance race all within an 8 month stint. I ran a lot, did yoga 2-3 times per week, attended boot camps and even rode my bike, but I had fallen in love with the strength work that I came to be introduced to through working out at a CrossFit Affiliate (CrossFit Strong in Dallas, TX) and made sure to stay on track with 2-3 workouts as the affiliate each week, as well as CrossFit workouts in my garage.
In 2010, there was a paradigm shift occurring with the CrossFit community. There was a larger group of athletes doing CrossFit to stay healthy, built overall strength and look good, while a growing number of people were focusing on getting “good” at CrossFit in order to compete at the newly evolving sport. The natural progression for those people went like this:
1. Start doing CrossFit
2. Start RXing workouts on the daily.
3. Get your first muscle up
4. Start Competing.
I remember how big of a deal it was to simply get a muscle up back then, and those that could do them felt they were ready to tackle to competition floor in Aromas. Sadly for some, their goal of competing overshadowed the original reasons they first joined a CrossFit Affiliate – “To surround yourself with likeminded people that were willing to work hard to build stronger, healthier bodies.”
Luckily for me, I never lost sight of having goals outside of what the CrossFit community was headed towards. While people were trying to get their Fran times to competitive levels, I was focused on doing tabata push ups during my rest intervals on the track. Then while people were trying to simply finish regional or games level workouts, I was using Fran, Cindy and Dianne as ways to build my overall speed to get my 5K time under 20 minutes. For me, CrossFit was not and never has the end all goal. Being good at CrossFit in order to be good at CrossFit is like learning how to drive and then saying you want to be a race car driver. The opportunity is there, and some will achieve it, but for the majority of us, driving, and consequently, CrossFit, should always be a means to a goal; not the overall goal.
At CrossFit Eastern Shore, we share this virtue with all of our clients. Participating in weekend throw-downs and the yearly “CrossFit Games Open,” is a remarkable way to test and display your overall fitness. However, when your performance in the avenues is purely the goal, you will lose sight of what CrossFit was initially intended to do – get people strong and healthy and give them freedom to do the things they love, outside of the gym.
For the countless people that feel they will someday be “race car drivers,” my advice would not be to find another goal, but to expand upon the one which you have set for yourself. Don’t lose sight in the reason that you fell in love with driving in the first place. If you lose sight of why you began to do CrossFit, you will find yourself surrounded by disappointment.
Regain your love for fitness, never stop celebrating your victories and sit back and truly enjoy the ride; it really is the best part of CrossFit.