Moving on with CrossFit
There are approximately 650 muscles in the human body. How do I know? I’m pretty sure I’ve felt nearly all of them over the past two weeks. I’ve been sore from my head to my toes. But that’s alright. No pain no progress, right? Right?!
I have never exercised this hard in my life. I don’t really do sweat. I’m the queen of dance aerobics, leisurely walks and comfortable jogs. I’m the kind that leaves the gym looking fairly cute and can carry on a conversation with you while cruising on the treadmill. I’m also the kind that has zero muscle tone, high body fat and questionable fitness levels. (The only race I’ve ever run completely is the Run Barbados Fun Mile and I was passed spectacularly by several walkers in that one.)
Enter CrossFit and all of that has gone through the window. These guys are all about maximum effort. You have to give it your all. And you know what? Turns out I have more “all” than I thought I did. Typically, of the hour or so you spend in the box, 15-20 minutes is spent going as hard as you can, as fast as you can. The result, besides rivers of sweat, is an intense workout; the kind where your heart pounds in your ears and your breathing starts to sound like an obscene phone call. There’s no time for chit-chat. No time to take a slow twirl to the water cooler while flirting with your gym mates. They’re not looking at you anyway. They are too busy trying to conquer their own stuff.
This week was the first time I can ever say that exercise made me feel something besides the physical. It was an emotional week for me filled with highs and lows. It’s one thing to say you are unfit but it’s another thing to come face to face with it when you want your body to do something, to keep up with the others, and it just can’t comply.
I’ve opted to go running with the running crew at 4:30 a.m. every Tuesday morning. This week’s run was tough, not a paced long distance run but a series of sprint intervals. As my running mates powered through their paces, I struggled with mine. I felt weak and frustrated, even more so when I was given a shortcut just so I could keep up. I know that I had just started and I know that I will eventually progress to the point where I can keep up, but my bruised ego reduced me to tears. It did something else too. It made me want to try harder. It made me hungry for progress. It made me open my ears and really listen to my running mates when they got behind me and told me not to give up. They told me to just keep showing up and I think that morning something inside me shifted.
I want to keep doing this for all the right reasons this time. This time it’s for me; not to impress anyone for Crop Over, or to fit into an outfit for a special occasion but to feel like I’ve accomplished something for myself. I missed a WOD (Workout of the Day) this week and one of the coaches challenged me to do 100 squats (CrossFit style right down to the floor) at home to make up for it. I had never done 20 consecutive squats before let alone 100. I did it and texted him with my time. Eager to know how my time compared with others I typed, “What’s the fastest time you’ve ever done it in?” He replied, “UVU.” Huh? “What does that mean?!” I shot back. He explained, “You versus you. Don’t worry about this old man. Tracy needs to better Tracy.”
I think I get it now. I’m in a competition with myself to make sure that every time I push harder and improve. I’ve made myself a priority. I’m scheduling workouts like I schedule meetings and clients. My health is a priority. Without health everything else falls apart. Why couldn’t I commit to that before? Why is it so hard for us, especially women, to commit to self? I’m challenging everyone this week to commit to doing something that will better your health – just one thing. What have you got to lose?
Tracy Highland is a freelance writer and communications consultant determined to finally take control of her personal fitness. Follow her blog on Instagram @i_survived_crossfit for day-to-day updates on her CrossFit journey.