Dear Crossfitter: Be Kinder To Yourself
“I suck,” my husband puffs out, red-faced and soaking wet, as he walks in from one his first few sessions Crossfit.
“You do not suck. You did it. I’m proud of you.”
“But I got smoked by a guy at least fifteen years older than me. And one without a tricep muscle!”
“Babe, it’s hard. It’s REALLY hard. But you did it. That’s what matters.”
“But I just feel like I always suck.”
“I pushed as hard as I could and I only got 5 rounds in!” one of my Crossfitter friends tells me, dejectedly.
“Yeah, that’s what I got too and I know I really tried my best.” I really did that day. I remember aiming for six rounds of the workout and only getting five plus some. But I knew I had really, really tried.
“But I feel like Jessica* and I are the same fitness level and she got a full round more than me. ”
“We’re all better at different things; maybe she was faster at sit-ups. I know mine could use some more fire in my ass.”
“I’m just so disgusted with myself.”
“Are you okay?” I ask a good friend I work out with almost every morning, seeing the pain register on her face. She’s barely ever missed a day of working out in the last year and a half – and some days goes twice – transforming her life and health from seriously overweight to fit and strong. She inspires me daily.
“Yeah, I’m just sore and my neck still hurts a bit from last week. I need to see the chiro again today.”
“Maybe you should take a break for a day or so and heal and rest.”
“Well, I can’t come twice today.” As if that inferred rest.
Crossfitters, on the whole, are pretty badass. They do pull-ups with torn callouses. They push for that elusive muscle up with bleeding wrists. They box jump and double-under until they lay breathless and sweaty on the ground, trying not to dry heave. They stand around each other, rooting for that next PR, that extra five pounds on the white board, yelling and hooting when they get it as if that victory were their own. Because in a sense it is.
We are only as good as those we surround ourselves with. If I can’t stay the extra five minutes and cheer for the last runner up a steep hill, if I can’t count out the last remaining reps of wallballs for the new guy struggling, if I can’t speed up a little to catch the tired girl running in front of me and say, “C’mon, PUSH! Don’t let me catch you!” to help her finish that last 100 meters, then what good am I to myself?
If we can be so supportive – so good – to each other, then why can we also be so hard on ourselves? We are letting each other down by treating ourselves like we are not as good as the whole.
If you finish last, you do not suck. You finished.
If you pushed your hardest and you still didn’t get what you wanted, it’s okay. You pushed your hardest.
If you’re sore and broken and tired, it’s okay to rest. You need to repair your strong body.
So next time you want to say to yourself how much you suck, or how bad your time was, or how you wished you did better, think about this: Would you say those things to a fellow Crossfitter?
No, I didn’t think so.
So don’t say it to yourself.
You are better that that.
We are better than that.