People often ask me how long I have been CrossFitting. I sometimes have to do the math, but I started in the summer of 2010 doing CrossFit.com workouts in a globo gym in Newport News, VA. Back then, many people did the daily workout posted to the original CrossFit.com website at their local globo gym or in their garage. My first workout was a 10 min AMRAP deadlift and pull-up couplet. I had never been taught how to do deadlifts, so who knows how that went, and I “thought” I was great at pull-ups. Needless to say, the 135 lb barbell with steel plates crushed me, and my strict pull-ups didn’t last very long.
My first actual workout in a CrossFit gym was in the fall of 2010 with John at CrossFit Newport. I think I was up from VA visiting for Thanksgiving. As I remember it, the workout was five rounds of 10 sandbag thrusters, then a 400m run around the building with the sandbag. There might have been more involved, but it’s a bit of a blur. I didn’t finish the workout, but I did get acquainted with the bathroom while John finished, if you know what I mean.
So, what am I trying to say? First, things have changed in 12+ years regarding introducing people to CrossFit; secondly, those workouts were hard, but fun and challenging. I was excited to keep challenging myself and see what I could do. I would continue trying more workouts in the globo gym from the CrossFit main-site, which we called it back then. I can remember how uncomfortable it was doing the workouts and how great I felt after accomplishing something so hard. I remember doing a version of “Half Cindy,” which was 10 minutes of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 air squats, and wanting to quit. And when it was over, I wanted to know when it would get easier. When it was going to feel better?
But here is the unfortunate part, the capital T ugly truth – it never gets easier. You never get less tired. It never sucks less. Instead, you get better. You do more in that same amount of time. You do more with the same amount of uncomfortable feeling. You do more with that same amount of discomfort. Why? Because that is where the change happens; that is where we grow. Smack in the middle of a tough part of life that has us wanting to quit, but you keep going, “one more rep!” In doing so, we create a better version of ourselves. I wanted it to feel easier. But it doesn’t get easier – we just get better.
We have to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I know that sounds counter-intuitive. And it certainly isn’t an easy thing to do, especially in the moment. We need to settle our brains a bit and realize, really comprehend, that even in the middle of a grueling task, when our brain is telling us that our bodies can’t do this anymore, we must remember we are in fact, OK. We can keep moving.
Take a deep breath. Know that you can still breathe, it might be fast and labored, but you are taking in enough oxygen to keep going. Notice your muscles. They are tired, and they have been taxed, but they are still working, you can still will them to move.
Know that your brain will give up long before your body needs to. The brain goes into survival mode – this is uncomfortable, so it needs to stop whatever it is that is making it uncomfortable. It is this feeling that we need to fight.
This is where all of your mental and physical growth will occur. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. Also, know that things aren’t going to change overnight, growth can take a long time, and you’ll undoubtedly feel like you’re going backward at times. But when you continue working at it and striving for those uncomfortable moments to persevere and succeed, this is where you’ll make the biggest strides.
For me, it’s been almost 13 years – it’s still hard, and it’s still uncomfortable, but I’m a bit better and absolutely still growing.
Founder and CEO
Prowess Fitness + Nutrition