One morning, four and a half years ago, I went to my first Crossfit class, and I hated it and it made me cry and feel like a failure. I swore I’d never do it again. But that evening I signed up for a monthly membership, and I started going. And I cried in other classes, and I dropped a barbell on my leg.
It took me 13 months to be able to do a full, un-assisted pull-up. Now I can do 7 in a row. I went to Strongman Nationals last year.
But by the time I started Crossfit, I’d already started doing some work to learn that failure is okay; in fact, it’s the only way you get to success. I’d been learning that in my writing, and Crossfit reinforced it.
The other amazing thing about Crossfit is that it takes everyone seriously as an athlete. If you have barely risen from your couch in five years, and you go to a Crossfit class, you will be taken seriously as an athlete. The coaches will find a way for you to participate in the workout, and the next time you do it, you’ll be a little better, and a little better the time after that.
Crossfit takes everyone seriously and meets them where they are.
I think those are good lessons for anything you really want to do. Start where you are, and take yourself seriously. Taking yourself seriously doesn’t mean not having a sense of humor, it means believing that it is worth your time and energy to do the thing you’ve committed to. Whether that’s learning to cook, or exercise, or write a novel. I think we often don’t take ourselves seriously because then if we fail, or worse, if we give up, we haven’t really put ourselves on the line.
But if you don’t take yourself seriously, and put yourself on the line, how can you succeed?
I’d never found anything fitness related before that began with the idea that each person is an athlete, capable and willing to improve–and every fitness endeavor should.
I don’t do Crossfit much anymore because I’ve found some other fitness things to take seriously, and which I find more fun. I like Strongman more. I like getting stronger infinitely more than I like doing burpees. But that focused seriousness of purpose will go with me for the rest of my life.