~You will feel younger.
Not at first…at first you might be thinking “what the hell was I thinking”, but eventually as your body adapts you are going to find the fountain of youth. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but for me it’s been exactly that. I started CrossFit to get in better shape and to overcome some muscle imbalances I got from marathon training. I thought I felt pretty good when I started. Now, almost 2 years later, I get up most morning feeling like I could whip the world. Do you know what that is worth? It will take a little time and it will also require that you listen to your body. Rest when you feel like you need it. Work around injuries, but don’t try to plow through them. Feed your body good food so it has what it needs for fuel. If you are eating the typical America diet, do yourself a favor and do some research on protein needed for your body weight and carb timing/cycling. If you do these things and show up to the gym and put in the work consistently, you are going to feel younger. Your body will begin to function as it was made to function, more like it did when you were a younger person.
~It’s important to learn to lose your ego and the drive to RX everything.
Most of us learn early on that you have to lose the ego. Don’t compare yourself to ANYONE else. If you see someone who is just a little better/faster/stronger than you, sure you can try to keep up during a WOD for motivation, but the bottom line is this…are YOU getting better? In order to know if you are improving, log your times/weights in Wodhopper (our workout tracking system) before you leave the gym. This is crucial. The more you see improvement, the more motivated you will be. You don’t want to get a PR and not even know it.
About the RX….Most WOD’s are written for people strong than “most” of us. Take a look at the WOD and try to determine what the WOD is trying to do. Is this a fast paced WOD written to really get your heart rate up and keep it there? If so, you want to select weights that you can keep moving at a good pace with, without losing form and taking a chance on hurting yourself. Is this a WOD that is commanding a heavy deadlift or complex that should be slower/steadier? When in doubt, ask your coach. This is another reason to be sure you log everything in Wodhopper. Your coach may tell you to use a percentage of a one rep max, or your previous 8 rep max or something of the like. There is no shame in using less weight or even doing fewer reps than prescribed to scale for your ability on a given day.
~The people and the gym will become very important to you.
When I started CrossFit, I started in the 5:30 am class. I did this because from previous experience over my lifetime, I knew that if I did not work out first thing in the morning, it was not going to happen. In every form of exercise I have done before I did not enjoy the program or activity enough to be able to force myself to do it very often if I didn’t do it upon waking. Lucky for me, I was disciplined enough to get up at the crack of dawn and kept myself relatively fit over my lifetime. After a short time at CrossFit 217 I realized I no longer had that problem. I no longer had to work out first thing in order to get it done. I look forward to going every day. I really look forward to it. The gym is one of my happy places. When my hands are on the bar and I’m working hard I don’t have time to worry about the stresses of the day. What a great way to reduce stress and escape from the world for a while!
The coaches and fellow athletes at the gym are a huge part of my success, and they will be an integral part of your success, too. We are all like-minded. We are all there getting stronger together and let’s face it, CrossFit hands you your butt on a regular basis. We are all in there struggling and celebrating and getting better together. The loudest cheers are for the last to finish. That happens in no other sport, but ours!
I will close with this. CrossFit is an important part of my life. Data supports the theory that fitness improves our quality of life as we age. I see people in their 50’s on oxygen, people in their 60’s with crippling osteoporosis and the problems only get worse as the age group goes up. It is possible to sustain a higher quality of life through fitness. We don’t know what health issues we will face in our lives, but I know one thing. Fit people are harder to kill! I am going to do everything in my power to be active and enjoy my life well into my “golden” years and be harder to kill. How about you?
I have learned so much more, and will share in some later blog posts.
Keep kickin’ butt my friends.