By: Helen-Jean Stubbs, LiveIt Fitness Instructor
I started Crossfit about 10 months ago, and man has it been something exciting. To say it’s changed my life would be cliche, but cliche smiche, it honestly has. Crossfit fanned my passion for fitness into a raging fire- one that burnt down fields of self-doubt and fragile self-confidence; and left room for determination, drive, self-confidence, healthy body image and constant personal challenge to blossom. I wrote this exactly 10 months ago after my first week of experimental Crossfit WODS. I was sitting in a local coffee shop waiting for an interview with my now boss and fellow Level One Trainer. Its so crazy for me to look back and read this, seeing how I had anticipated my journey to be- and that I still feel the exact same way. So here goes:
If you've never heard of Crossfit- welcome to the journey. I say journey because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a journey where you will strive to better yourself with each and every passing minute. It’s a journey where you will meet people who will motivate, encourage and inspire you to want to be better, do better. It’s a journey where you will meet people that you, yourself, will inspire to want to better themselves. You see, Crossfit surpasses a workout. It surpasses gaining muscular strength and power. Crossfit reveals beauty. It reveals beauty in pain. It reveals beauty in achievement and failure. It reveals beauty in discovering that you are capable of so much more than you ever imagined.
That’s why I say it’s a journey. It’s not something that changes you overnight- it’s so dynamic and so versatile; it has you learning each day. Do you know what it feels like to lift close to your body weight over your head? It feels like achievement. Do you know what it feels like to fail at the bottom of a squat clean? It feels like achievement. No, not failure- achievement. The achievement of knowing that you have challenged yourself. And that you will continue to challenge yourself until you complete five reps of that squat clean, not just one.
That’s a journey. You don't just jump on a bus; take a short, smooth ride and end up at your destination. You hit potholes, the bus breaks down, the guy next to you keeps stealing your arm rest. Bus rides aren't always fun, but every now and then, you catch a glimpse of something beautiful through the window; the cute guy in seat 3B smiles at you; or you get your arm rest back. That’s the journey. The journey that has you enjoying both the good and the bad. The journey that actually never quite stops off at a destination, because you begin to learn that you love travelling. That’s Crossfit. It’s falling in love with a process. A process that never really ends. Yes, you may reach your goal weight or lift that weight you've always wanted to- but what about those muscle ups? What about that 400m run? What about adding one more? One more kilogram, one more rep? Shaving off just one more second? At age 85, Michelangelo famously said, “I'm still learning”. At age 85, Crossfit will have you saying, “I'm still improving”.
So a year down the line, I'm still riding the bus, still enjoying the journey. It has been one of the most challenging and exciting years, but I have improved immensely- and cannot wait to improve even more. What started as a test-run week in an open space, turned into a full-time, fully equipped Crossfit gym. What started as a, “let's see how it goes”, turned into Level One Training and developing new strengths. What started as a “Yeah, I'll give it a shot”, turned into handstand walks, personal best Olympic lifts, new records and faster times. What started as “It’s kinda just exercise really”, turned into lifelong community friendships, laughter, tears, celebrations, injuries, disappointments and most of all, moments where I catch myself thinking, “I can still improve on that”.
So whatever form of fitness journey you're on- keep at it. Keep pushing yourself to reach new goals. In fact, continuously set goals that challenge you on as many levels as possible. Celebrate when you reach those goals, and celebrate when you don't; because that merely means you have another opportunity to improve and attack it next time. Pursue self-improvement like your life depends on it. Life is too short and fitness is too exciting to not want to be and do even better than the day before. One of my favourite sayings of all time simply says, “be FEARLESS in the pursuit of that which sets your soul on fire”. Even if it isn't Crossfit, or fitness or sport of any kind, what sets your soul on fire? And how fearlessly are you pursuing it?