CrossFit: In the Name of Pride

Everyone who has done CrossFit has heard this joke probably a dozen times:

 

“How can you tell if someone does CrossFit?”

“Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.”

 

Damn straight we will. If you back squatted twice your body weight or did 10 strict pull ups WITHOUT ASSISTANCE, wouldn’t you talk about it? #respect

 

Yogis talk about yoga. Cyclists talk about their killer rides. Runners talk about the half marathons they just crushed. And CrossFitters talk about CrossFit. When it comes to us CrossFitters though, there is a perception that we talk about it so much because we like to brag. Which truth be told, I cannot deny there is some validity to that. Really though, no matter what our sport is, we all talk about it so much because we have immense pride for our accomplishments.

 

I would say most people who join CrossFit are average people, meaning we aren’t former elite athletes and we may have not even been in the best shape of our lives the first time we walked into a box. In fact, a lot of us who start CrossFitting are there because we have big goals and dreams. And often we also come from a place of insecurity.

 

As I have been networking a lot with CrossFitters around the country, I am hearing more and more of the most inspiring stories. Women and men are starting their CrossFit journey knowing they have 50, 60, 100 pounds even that they need to lose to be healthy. Many are coming off tragedy like losing a loved one or even a divorce. Many are starting after recovering from devastating injuries and years of rehab. My point is that people are coming in when they are not their best (and that is putting it mildly), yet they dig deep to find the courage and motivation to go. They not only show up, they work their asses off. They do things they did not dream they would ever do. They start doing push-ups. They start being able to run. They start squatting to full depth. They start losing weight. They start seeing muscle. They start feeling good about themselves. They find happiness.

 

So yes, CrossFitters are going to talk a lot about CrossFit because they are turning their insecurities and their challenges into their redemption. CrossFitters are finding inspiration again. They get so much respect from others and are setting great examples. I posted a few videos on Facebook of myself doing some different lifts, and I had a woman reach out to tell me that I inspired her to go back to CrossFit. I know I got far more gratitude knowing I influenced someone to make a big change more than the 100 likes I got. CrossFitters help each other. It’s just in our nature.

 

I truly believe that CrossFit athletes are contributing to changing outdated ideals. We are showing and telling the world it is ok to admire and respect different body types. It is ok treat our bodies like the temples that they are. It is ok to sacrifice and compromise to make fitness and health a priority. It is ok to be part of a “cult” when said cult is providing a community like no other.

 

Personally, I absolutely 100% love talking about CrossFit so much because it connects me to other people. It supports the idea of women boosting women (instead of women tearing women down). It shows strong is sexy. And, as someone who is obviously short, and who easily feels intimidated in most situations by other people’s heights and proportions, it helps me build my self-esteem. I find great power in pushing my body to lift things that are beyond expectations for someone of my own size. And so yes, I want to talk about this. A lot. Because other people need to hear it.

 

Maybe it’s not tragedy or severe weight loss that is drawing people into CrossFit. No matter how they came to be there, they likely are defying what they believed their own bodies can do. I love hearing about people’s triumphs no matter if they are 20 or 40 or 60. No matter if they are trying to lose some extra baby weight or train for a tough mudder. I love hearing about it, and I do not want CrossFitters to ever stop talking about it. Our accomplishments are all relative and every one of them is deserving to be screamed from the rooftops.

 

So please understand that not every CrossFitter who is posting on Facebook about their workouts or talking about it at the water cooler are just meatheads. Many of us, like myself, are just damn proud. It is that simple.

 

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If You Want It, Manifest It and Make It Happen

I have so many thoughts, ideas, and inspiration percolating in my little Beetltejuice sized head, IT IS INSANE!

I almost did not blog this week (and well I didn’t blog last) because I do not even know how to put on paper (figuratively speaking that is) what my thoughts have been. So I am going to do my very best to share with you where I am at because well, it has taken over my brain. And you should know.

The truth of the matter is I know in my heart that I am meant to be sharing more of myself and my soul with the world. I have so much to give to people that I am only now just really tapping into. (And for the records, ketones has had a big part in that. I finally am doing something where I am getting sincere thanks and gratitude relating to wellness).

I have spent A LOT of time networking over the last few months. Which sidebar, I must acknowledge and THANK all the amazing, supportive people out there. Facebook and social media can be a very powerful tool to connect you with people you would never otherwise have access to. And for that I am so grateful. I am finding validation and guidance from so many of you that I am fortunate to now be in the acquaintance of.

I saw the sign.

It’s no secret I am spiritual. I ask my angels all the time for messages before I go to sleep at night, and I always just expect they will be given in my dreams. That is not always the case. Often we get messages from unexpected people, strangers even. I was looking for guidance on well, what is my purpose in this world? I asked for a clear sign and I got it.  It took me a few days to realize it, but it was there, clear as day. It was in a chat with someone I recently added on Facebook. Signs show up in unexpected places and forms, but never discount them. (And it goes to show that even our angels and guides are keeping up with the technological times!) This sign has lit something in me to really change gears and follow my passion.

All signs point to…

My eyes light up when I talk about CrossFit, fitness and health. There’s such an adrenaline rush when physically working out and then there is also like this crazy mental stimulation when I get to relive and relate to other people.  I have always just thought it was a hobby for me. I am realizing though there is no reason I cannot do more with it than classify it as an interest.

I want to be the one that you go to when you are in a health rut and need someone to motivate you to reach your goals and dreams. I want to be the one who works with you to come up with a plan to get there. I want to be the one that you see as inspiring. I love hearing of your wins and successes and I also love being able to help you overcome challenges.

All signs point to I want to coach. I feel like I have actually known this on some level for years, but I have pushed it down. Far far down.

What I do not know…

What I do not yet know is what I need to do to get there. I have been researching taking different certification programs for coaching. I also should add that I have not yet defined what kind of coach I want to be. I am hesitant to call it a Health Coach because that could mean different things. Health coaches can vary from focusing on nutrition and weight loss to focusing on someone’s overall well- being to a slew of other awesomeness.  I also have been contemplating getting some kind of Personal Training certification to help me be more rounded and possibly able to advise or coach clients. P.S. I am open to suggestions on certifications and courses as while I have been searching, I have not yet found “the one”.

What I also do not know yet is what would my services be? I have gone to career coaches, for examples, whose sessions have varied. Sometimes they are discussions and advice to give me a plan as to how to handle a specific issue. Some have been with tangibles like giving me cards and exercises on developing Performance Plans for my team. So when I think about coaching, what is a session with a client going to look like? Is it to help people come up with a sustainable fitness plan? Is it therapy-ish style? Do I even need to know that right now? I suspect I will figure all that out the further deep  I go.

I suspect that my services may evolve as I learn more about coaching. I am grateful for all the leadership and communication trainings I have taken over the years because I am confident in my abilities to listen and coach. I have learned so much about the importance in choosing my words carefully and about guiding people instead of just immediately problem solving for them. I want to take these skills and apply it to more wellness coaching.

I may be in the early stages of piecing it all together or who knows? Maybe it is closer to coming to fruition than I realize. I am excited to start really jumping into this world to find my niche. I am ecstatic to share this with you as I always welcome the positive vibes I get from you.. So while I research and manifest, stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Mineral Baths Got Me Like…

Spending time in mineral pools and baths this past weekend did something to stimulate a deeper interest and understanding in what keeps people coming back and making sacrifices to get what they want. I will also cut to the chase as it really is quite simple: how badly do you want it?

My friends and I were comparing our stories of our first times… we each stepped into a CrossFit box. None of us walked in and thought, “Wow, yes this is home! We have found the motherland!” We all felt confused, overwhelmed and intimidated. Warm ups were difficult to follow. Understanding the movements had us like what is happening?  A clean is what? You want me to bring my knees to what? Many people try CrossFit and find it is not for them. So they quietly retreat back into the night. I did not know that CrossFit was for me for probably 6 months. I loved it yes, but I also felt like a fish out of water. So what kept me, and my friends, and other athletes from giving up on CrossFit? What kept us coming back?

What makes me different than someone else? What gives me the motivation to go back that someone else does not have? And while I am predominantly referring to CrossFit in this post, feel free to insert your sport of choice (albeit running, kickboxing, Pilates, etc).

There are so many other components or factors that go into the perfect formula for getting on track:

  • Having stellar coaches who pay attention to you and put you at ease.
  • A supportive community that keeps you accountable and builds camaraderie that draws you in.
  • A box that is logistically feasible to get to.
  • Programming that you can get on board with.
  • Having gorgeous workout clothes (oh wait, that’s just me)

 

But if you do not have the will and the confidence to go back, none of these other factors will be enough to keep you going. Where this is a will there is a way.

As I mentioned earlier, I cannot quite say in all honesty that I really loved CrossFit the first few months. I mean, I did not hate it, but I also do not think I really “got it”. I kept going though. Why? Why did I stay with CrossFit over trying something else or giving up completely?  I had an overpowering desire to get my muscle tone and strength back. I lost so much of it from having a broken foot that I was pretty depressed about having years of hard work reversed in just a few months. I missed being able to run (well I did not actually miss the act of running but I wanted the choice to run to be mental and not a physical limitation). I had that will. I had a taste for what it felt like to be fit and happy in my own skin. I wanted that again. Very badly. And I knew that CrossFit would keep me accountable.

For anyone to keep going, they need to find their own motivation and use it to fuel them. I believe it is different from person to person. It could be that you got a reality check at the doctor’s office. It could be that you found you got winded just playing with your kids. Maybe you have 10 pounds left of baby fat to shed. Whatever your motivation is, you need to have the mental will to implement it. You need to want it badly enough that no excuse is going to interfere. Not even those summer bbq’s or chili dogs at baseball games are going to take you off your course. You have to want to hit your goals, to get healthy far more than you want anything else.

I remember coming out of 2 weeks of Fundies and going to my first “real” CrossFit class. I was completely over stimulated and did not enjoy it one bit. I easily could have declared that CrossFit is terrible and never go back. But I didn’t. I had that passion to keep going and see it through. It is far too easy to have one bad experience and rule the whole damn thing out. Maybe you try one yoga class where you did not like the instructor or the vibe of the class, but you generalize that all yoga sucks. And so you never go back. Well maybe it was just the wrong studio or just the wrong day for you. You should not give up. Go find another one. Same with CrossFit. People often feel like they did not connect with the energy of the class or found one athlete to be arrogant and territorial. Or they thought the programming that day was too difficult or too scary. So they do not return.

hat I suspect is really happening in some cases in my unprofessional, pure speculative opinion is that we often WANT a reason to quit. Because it is so damn hard to be healthy. We know there is no short cut for losing weight or getting healthy. It does not happen overnight.  This is not ground breaking news. Yet, so many people give up and give in without really fighting or what they want.

(Please note, I am by no means insinuating this is 100% of the time. I recognize people may have addictions or illness, for example, that may limit them. This post is not about that population).

It is like when your mom told you as a kid to try asparagus or fish. You stick your tongue out, lick it and say “I don’t like the texture. I can’t eat this.’ It’s the same deal with working out sometimes. We tell ourselves we should try it and do it, but we LOOK for that reason to validate that we should not ever do it again.

That is what distinguishes those who go back, every day, from those who do not. We want it. We want it badly. We may not love it when we are in it but we sure as hell love what CrossFit does for us.

5 Ridiculously Irrational CrossFit Fears

So many of our fears can be irrational or debilitating.

I know all too well what an irrational fear (well in my mind it’s rational) can do to a person. Just look at how traumatized I get by finding a water bug in my condo. To me, it’s totally rational. They are scary ugly crunchy little turds that have no business being in my home. What if I step on one in the dark? What if one crawls over me as I am rolling out on my floor? What if I choke on the fumes of the Black Flag I spray to kill one? (I probably use half a can per bug. No bueno). What if one craws unbeknownst to me into my gym bag and I transport it into my car and it crawls over me driving and I crash? I know, this sounds dramatic. But these thoughts are honest to god what goes through my head every time I see one or I think I see one. The fear is REAL!

But I get it, to most of you, it’s an irrational fear. (And no, this blog is not going to be about my fear of water bugs although BELIEVE ME, I could easily write 1000 words on that topic!) Much like my own water bug phobia, I have been around CrossFit long enough to have heard, seen and experience what I consider to be irrational fears.  I write this partially because I find them shamelessly amusing as well as to be a hindrance to progress.

 

Disclaimer: There are legitimate fears in CrossFit, like tripping on a box jump or hurting your back on squats. But that is a different topic for a different day. The spirit of this post is to call out some common irrational fears so that we can stare them down and move past them.

 

  1. Fear of looking awkward or not “fitting in” at CrossFit.  I have been there. I would say this is common for a lot of newcomers to CrossFit. Often, we worry of trying something and either failing or just looking sloppy doing it. So we don’t do it. Which is just silly. Mastering a skill or a lift does not just happen by osmosis. It takes failing to reach success. I think we all probably know this consciously but when it comes to the moment of “should I or shouldn’t I?” the fear of looking silly or awkward can take over and prevent us from even trying.

    My two cents on this (besides the standard “Get over it”) is to remember this. EVERYONE in my opinion who steps foot into ANY CrossFit box is bad ass. It takes guts just to get there so the fact that you show up is half the battle. A good citizen of CrossFit will support and encourage you to push yourself. And if you find that your fellow boxmates are actually mocking or being anything other than supportive, you may want to think about going to a different box.

    The fear of looking awkward will keep us in our comfort zone. And we all know where the magic happens and it ain’t in there!

  2. Fear of the snatch. This is 100% a legit fear. Why is it so scary? Is it the concept of having to lift a barbell from the ground to overhead in one quick movement? Is it being insecure in strength and skill? For me, it is a combination of those, or maybe it is a fear of commitment. I have a really hard time committing to the barbell when it is to be snatched. I find myself setting and resetting half a dozen times before I even lift. Who else does this? All I can say is, they frighten me.
  3. Fear of not knowing what the WOD is before getting into the box. The panic that ensues when the next day’s workout is NOT posted before bedtime. You all know what I mean! The texts, the facebook posts… It is like we cannot function in the unknown. Let’s admit it, CrossFitters can be control freaks! It’s ok to be a little fearful of the unknown. It keeps us on our toes.
  4. Fear of agony and pain. Raise your hand if you ever left a CrossFit class and said, “That was easy.” You may say “that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be” or “I actually kind of liked it.” But if you are walking away thinking it’s easy, then most likely you are not allowing yourself to get into that “hurt so good” beast mode. Possibly because you fear what it feels like to experience that suck so much. But hey guess what. It is part of CrossFit. Do not fear it. Embrace it.
  5. Fear of bands. Using a band for pull-ups, ring dips or other gymnastic moves can be super awkward. We all have struggled getting the right footing on those suckers. I would say some of us even have trepidation in using them. Perhaps we fear somehow slipping or getting catapulted by the band clear across the box. I am fairly certain that will not happen so get used to them. (But not too used to them because you are a bad ass who will not need a band forever. Mic drop please. Boom.)

Fears. We all have them. They can be silly and they can be overwhelming. I get into my own head A LOT, but I also in all sincerity believe CrossFit is my safe place. Above and beyond any silly fear I have, it is the place I have seen so much growth and progress. I focus on that these days far more than the “what ifs” that fear can lead to.

I also found this article which is in the same vain as my post. Check it out!  http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/945851/crossfit-dont-fear-the-fitness

 

Fear 2.0

Disclaimer: Hi friends! I admittedly have writer’s block. Well, that’s not entirely true. I actually have A LOT of topics whirling through my brain faster than I can really process them. So, since they are not quite hatched and ready to be written, I looked back at posts from last summer. I came across this one and thought that it is very fitting. The blog in its entirety I still stand by. I do believe fear is one of the biggest obstacles people face in CrossFit when it comes to progressing and reaching goals (and any other sport really). It had me thinking though how it ties to so many other things in life. I know I am in a period of transition and change in many ways so what if I took the same post and added a little extra commentary? It sounds grand doesn’t it? Well then please, read on. 

Note: I have deliberately made a distinction as to what was in the original post compared to today’s, with the latter being in italics.

 

It’s been a week box of retesting 1 rep maxes.  Snatches. Squats. Cleans. Jerks. You name it. What do they have in common? Fear. 1 RM brings out fear in the best of us. There is the fear of failing. The fear of letting the mental override the physical. The fear of committing to a movement. The fear of experiencing what suck really feels like.

Fear keeps us from reaching goals. Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to get to where you want to be. Sometimes you have to let go of a friendship or relationship to allow space for new ones. Sometimes you have to experience the suck of a diet or giving up your favorite vice to reach your health goal. It is a give and take in life in general in my opinion. We all know you don’t get things for nothin’.  If you want something badly enough, how uncomfortable are you willing to get to achieve that?

 

The thing is though, we use fear as a reason to not push ourselves. It feels safer that way. Or maybe it feels easier. It’s better to successfully press 100 lbs and not even try 105 (that’s just crazytown) than it is to attempt 105 and fail.  Psych! Read that and tell me it makes any logical sense. If you do CrossFit, it’s a safe assumption that you are there for the challenge. We don’t walk away from a metcon typically saying “that was fun”. We are there for the suck. The suck is what makes all of it gratifying and challenging and therefore fun.

Think about what you procrastinate on. Is it laziness? Is it being overwhelmed? Or is it perhaps the fear of pushing ourselves? Do we not push ourselves because to push ourselves means it might hurt in some way albeit short lived or not? The thing is though, sometimes pushing ourselves leads to new great things, but we fear the unknown. I know I have been guilty even of pushing myself with the topics I should to write about out of fear of being judged or too vulnerable. Yet I know the times I do push myself to go a little deeper or a little more into unchartered waters, I often get great results and inspire others.

 

Fear means getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  In CrossFit, the whole idea is to push ourselves beyond our limits. We can never do that if we stay comfortable and never get on the other side of fear.

 

 

 

To take this one step further, let’s get into the difference between feeling challenged and feeling like you are doing the near impossible. There is a fine line between the two yet the distinction is so powerful. Take back squats for example. If you have ever done a squat cycle, this should sound familiar. The volume and load methodically increases and decreases throughout the cycle. You slowly build strength. When you are in one of the last weeks of it, you’ll likely be doing reps at a high percentage of what your starting 1 RM max is. Or you may be doing higher reps at somewhat lower percentage. It’s not likely you will fail (even if you fear you will) as squat cycles are brilliantly programmed to avoid this. So you go through the reps, and no, they are not easy, but you do not fail.

Even if you do fail, it is not the worst thing in the world. If anything, it fuels you to want it even more. Failing also just means when you do succeed, you will appreciate that glory and gratification exponentially more.

 

Then comes the retest day. You start working your way up to your 1 RM and then you test the waters and increase the weight to get a new PR. When you get to that say 110% of your 1 RM, the difficult y of that squat should feel subtly yet distinctively harder than when you squatted during the cycle. There’s that defining moment right after you complete the descend and start to stand back up. It’s that really sticky make or break moment where you dig deep inside and push like hell through it. And you do it! Yet, when you are on the ascend there’s a split moment where you make the choice to give in or keep going.  If you give into it without trying, you have gained nothing. If you power through it, you may actually experience a really wickedly awesome moment. Even if you fail trying, it will benefit you far more than not trying at all. Giving into fear just kills the drive and motivation to ever push harder. Fear despite the connotation, is actually a good thing, if you let it power you as opposed to inhibit. If we wanted to stay comfortable all the time, we would not be in CrossFit.

If we wanted to stay comfortable, we definitely can. Many of us do and are content. But is content enough for you? Are you ok with having the same 1 RM in any lift for life? Are you ok staying in a job that leaves you content but perhaps not inspired? Is comfortable more important to you than happiness?

 

Those sticky moments are uncomfortable. The first time you experience it, it may even be intimidating and feel icky. I encourage everyone to find that sticky moment. It’s difficult to even explain that feeling. All I can say is once you do, you will fear those moments less. The element of the unknown is gone and you will feel far more confident to keep testing yourself. Find that and then watch and see all that you will accomplish.

Well said if I do say so myself. I encourage you to proactively find those sticky moments. Choose to work through them. Choose to not let fear deter you. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. The reward will be infinitely invigorating and satisfying.

 

Original post here: https://prthislife.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/fear/

 

 

Bathroom Selfies: Trouble or Truth?

A few Saturday mornings ago, I was getting ready to workout. I had on pajama bottoms that are probably 5 sleeps away from completely disintegrating, paired with a sports bra. I was not exactly a vision. Anyways, I was walking around my condo doing who knows what (I get easily distracted) when I sauntered past a mirror. Mind you, I do not typically stroll around in just a bra because well, it’s just not my thing. ANYWAYS, I caught a glimpse of my stomach. Well really I caught a glimpse of what I thought might actually be abs.  I had to rub my eyes a few times to make sure I was not dreaming. I obviously had to strike a few different poses and angles to confirm it was not just a figment of my imagination.  I also went into my bathroom to check in that mirror. I turned on and off every combination of lights from my bathroom to the hallway to my bedroom. Ok so at this point of reading, you are thinking, “Missy, you are psycho”. Yes, yes I am. And that is the point of this story.

The psychosis continued. I messaged two of my friends that I knew would tell me if there were really indeed traces of abdominal muscles showing or if it was a figment of my imagination. I expected them to confirm the latter, but much to my dismay, they did not. They told me something like “Missy, you look amazing! And you need to get your head checked. You have total body dysmorphia.”

I share this little story because I know I am not the only one with thoughts like this. I know I am not the only one even at my age who still struggles with body image insecurities. I also know that like many of you, for every moment of confidence I have, I have exponentially more moments of self-doubt.

At this point, I could go in a few directions with this (much like the book series I grew up with, Choose Your Own Adventure). I could write about how we are our own worst critics and give a few tips for how we perhaps can start to change our thinking, but that is not really the main point that is percolating in my brain.(Nor do  I truly know how to do that because surely if I did, I would not even be writing this post today). If you are like me, our insecurities are years in the making.  I am not arrogant enough to think my post will make any of us, including myself, think otherwise.  Or perhaps I could write about how we as a society have unrealistic expectations, but that’s been done time and time again.  I would not do it justice.

Truth be told, I have edited this post about 5 times because I keep vacillating on what is I really want to articulate. I have pinpointed what I essentially want to tell myself and anyone else reading this who also finds themselves obsessing about what they think is imperfect about themselves:  Let’s cut ourselves some slack. We will always have goals or some formed idea of what we think perfect is that we continuously work towards, possibly never to actually be achieved (not because of pessimism, but because we must admit we often set unrealistic goals). Because the thing is, there is no perfect. We can spend our whole lives feeling like we do not measure up, and it becomes like any other negative thought we have. We start thinking it and putting it out there. We keep seeing flaws and ignore everything else. Instead, we need to focus on the positive and freakin compliment ourselves for when we notice something that makes us go, “Well damn, that is impressive.”

Yes, absolutely, I want a 6 pack or even just to have a flat tummy. I also workout like a boss and I do stuff that blows my own mind. Maybe my abs are not where I want them to be, but what about those traps?  Or biceps? Or whatever it is.  My body does reflect the work I put into it if I would just take a minute to acknowledge it and appreciate it.

I know that despite a few bad ass bathroom selfies I am not going to poof, become totally in love with my body. Nor do I expect you to overcome whatever your insecurities are from one little ole blog post. But I do think though that what I learned from those pics is that I spend a lot of time zooming into pictures and honing in on everything and anything I do not like (and I know a lot of you do the same…  It’s ok to admit it, I just did!)  We are not going to change overnight what could be years, decades even, of negative thoughts, but I sure do not want to feel like they are ruling my life. I do not want to be consumed by the negative. I should not need anyone else either to validate how I look (as I did in sending my abs photo to friends). If I see it, I should own it. So should you. End of story.

 

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I Bet You Have Done CrossFit to Justin Bieber and Didn’t Even Know It

I recently had a conversation with one of the coaches where I do CrossFit about music. He wanted to do an experiment where he did not play any music during class. I want to say I encouraged this idea, but well, I did not.  I have been in class once or twice without music and bitched the entire time. I suggested perhaps he phase it out once the workout starts to see if anyone even notices. Much to my chagrin, the Great Music Experiment never happened (which, if it had, this blog may have been written very differently. Not to point any fingers, Ricky!)

Anyways, working out often is synonymous with music. We cannot workout without music, or more specifically without the right music. I agree with this… to a degree. There are tons of articles out there in regards to the benefits of listening to music: how the beat of music can match the cadence of your heartbeat. Or how the right tempo or song can boost your effort: the faster the beat the faster you move.

In my own experience, music does matter to me when I am working out solo. With running, I need music that gets me hyped up the same way it does when I am home procrastinating on putting laundry away. I blast Spotify to get me moving because for some reason, the idea of moving around my room putting items in the closet and drawers without music sounds like pure torture. There is something with music that gets me motivated.  When I think about kickboxing, I would not want to be punching a bag with a sappy Celine Dion song playing. Hearing “My heart will go on” are not the most inspiring words to give a swift left hook to the bag. When I take cycling classes, I strongly believe in the concept of “shared energy” which music is a big attributing factor. It gets people excited, nostalgic even when an old favorite comes on, and gets people to pump those legs harder.

Yet, when it comes to my steady favorite, CrossFit, I want to ask, how important is music to the workout? I may notice what is playing during the strength portion because there tends to be sets with rest in between. However, when it comes to the workout portion, I notice what is playing for maybe the first ten seconds, but after that, I could not tell you if it was Justin Bieber playing or Metallica. (And for the record, if you are rolling your eyes at the Bieber reference, I defy you to deny that he actually has talent). At any rate, I am curious, who else experiences this in CrossFit or am I on my own lonely planet? What other workouts do you feel music is more of a supporting role than a lead?

The more I think about this topic of how important is music to working out, particularly CrossFit, I come up with question after question. I could attempt to answer them, which I have contemplated the reasons within the confines of my own brain, but it brings me deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. So in the spirit of interaction, I am deliberately leaving much of this open ended. I would LOVE to get feedback from all of you as to your thoughts and perspectives.

Let’s start with the obvious: why? Why do I not notice what is playing? I mean, I am aware something is playing, and I am fairly certain if the music stopped, I would notice (mainly because I would hear my breathing coming through in full force). So what is it about CrossFit that is different than other workouts? Like cycling, it’s shared energy, yet it does not seem that music is the driving force. So if it is not what creates energy, what does? As I ask that, I suppose the answer is fairly obvious. With cycling for example again, it is instructor lead. They drive the pace and the intensity. For the most part, you are pushing yourself just as hard as the person next to you. Sure, you may require less resistance on the bike than the next, but generally speaking, people are moving at similar speeds. (It is not like driving 50 on a highway with someone coming up next to you going 80).

Perhaps with CrossFit, it generates a different kind of energy.  It generates a sense of competition WHICH IS A GOOD THING. It could be competition with the clock, competition with fellow athletes or competition with ourselves.  In all instances, I believe, as is the case with me, perhaps I am more focused on other variables. I am focusing on keeping good form. I am focusing on mentally pushing through some difficult reps. I am focusing on not burning out too fast and losing my lead on the person next to me. Are these valid reasons why music really does become background noise?

Is it that with CrossFit, it is not about just getting a workout or burning calories?  Is it that it is so varied, you do not get into a rhythm like other sports? If I compare it running, I tend to want to get to a steady running pace and stick with it. I also recognize though there are all sorts of training to do with running, from intervals to sprints. For all you avid runners, I am curious, does music, particularly what music is playing, factor into how well you train?

The funny thing is, I know a lot of coaches who put a lot of time into playlists for classes. I am wondering though, is it necessary? Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to yell out “what the hell are we listening to?” I’ve worked out to music that sounded more suited for the bedroom (and I voiced that complaint). But again, in looking back, I really only think part of the class I am even aware of what is playing. There comes a point, as I said usually within seconds of when the clock starts, that what is on that playlist does not even matter, at least not consciously.  On the flip side though, does it somehow impact us even if we are not cognizant of what we are hearing?

I can go on more about this, but I suppose I should ask a telling question that will either validate or disclaim this blog post. For those who CrossFit, can you name a song you heard while you were last getting your sweat on?

 

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