When you started CrossFit, did you have a transformative experience? I know I did. All of a sudden, it felt like I had pressed a giant reset button on my life. I look back at myself pre-CrossFit and remember it as a time when I was continually going through the motions, without direction or purpose. When I started doing CrossFit, it was like a lightbulb turned on. This is common, and a good reason people become so obsessed with it when they start. Personally, I became so obsessed, I decided to quit my job, become owner of a CrossFit gym, and devote my life to figuring out how and why this fitness regimen is transforming so many peoples’ minds and bodies. (Disclaimer: This entire article can be applied to weightlifting, so Oly Guacamole kids, this one’s for you too!)
While I think there are many reasons CrossFit is so appealing to so many people, I think the most intriguing ones are the psychological benefits.
1. Being present
What other time of day are you cell-phone free for an hour? For many of us, this rarely happens, and having a set time to disconnect from your electronic life can be extremely therapeutic. Crossfit forces us to think about the task at hand- the bar in your hands, how many wallballs you have left, how much more you can push in the WOD. How many of you come to CrossFit so you have a way to NOT worry about that test coming up, or terrible fight you had, or that rough project you have at work? When you’re at CrossFit, the only thing you can think about is CROSSFIT, and this forced present-ness is not only a welcome relief from your life, but it can actually help you think clearer about your problems once you come back to them.
2. Today MATTERS
Because our training is PROGRESSIVE, it has to LEAD somewhere. We work in cycles and create goals for weeks, months, even years from now- whether it’s a weight you want to lift, a skill you want to acquire, or a time you want to hit in a workout, every day you come to train is leading to that goal. It creates purpose in TODAY. Today matters, because something you do today is going to help you tomorrow, and the next day, and six months from now, and 5 years from now. That’s an incredible realization to have in your life- that there is value in today.
My favorite part of CrossFit is watching newbies discover that there is a process to improvement. At first, we think that one tip, or one cue, is going to make our lifts perfect, and then we’ll just “have” that skill or lift forever. As it turns out, we’re going to be seeking that perfection for YEARS. Even more frustrating, there is no perfect tip or cue. There are only things to work on for many reps, and many sets, and many days, and many cycles. This is why our weightlifting class is run somewhat differently. Movement patterns have to be perfected, then strengthened, then added into the full lifts. This can be very frustrating if you’re looking for a 1-hr class on how to snatch. You’re not going to get that. You’re going to have to put in work over a period of days, weeks, months, and possibly years. This is a wonderful skill to take with you outside of CrossFit and weightlifting. Learning how to work hard at something without seeing immediate and immaculate results is incredibly valuable in your life. Learning to have patience, diligence, consistency, and discipline in any process, CrossFit or otherwise, is going to result in long lasting, satisfying results.
You came to this gym for a reason. For some reason you decided that a regular globo gym isn’t for you. If you are not actively seeking out these lessons, WHY ARE YOU HERE? What are you getting out of your workout? Stay off your phone for an hour. Read the programming blog. Appreciate and attack the process with passion, awareness, and discipline. And recognize that everything you do today is impacting your tomorrow- why not make that impact a positive one?