Archives for posts with tag: Motivation

A group of people I’ve known for more than a year make up a majority of my crossfit classes. Like me their dedication waxes and wanes. We agree that crossfit delivers us what we need most out of a fitness routine – variety, intensity, camaraderie, and someone telling us what to do – but we also occasional chose a nice cold beer over a good workout. They’re a good group:

crossfit gym

In these classes an interloper or two invariably shows up for a short stretch. One such gentleman has taken up residence in my regular classes recently, let’s call him Georgie.

At the only class I attended this week, Georgie showed up too. Georgie is an oddly shaped man in his late thirties. A little round about the waist with skinny legs and a small, child-sized butt. To make matters worse, the man exclusively wears skintight clothing – running tights and an under-armor top this week. Why hasn’t someone told him running tights go UNDER running shorts? WHY?!? Even when we started the WOD I couldn’t stop judging him. You should see how this man abuses a rowing machine. Don’t even get me started on his power snatch….

Then I had a realization; I am only this critical when I feel unsure of myself.

During those warm days of summer when I could run a few miles with ease and found myself improving on every lift, I thought the whole class was wonderful. A bunch of inspirational all-stars, even the interlopers. But now, when I don’t feel particularly strong or fit or worthy, my mind jumps to distraction. What is he doing? Why isn’t he using better form? Oh shut up, brain.

Perhaps this should have been obvious but it wasn’t. Hopefully I can take this minor epiphany and learn to have some compassion for Georgie and myself. At least we made it to the gym. Good on us for trying. Hell, good for him for having the confidence to rock that body shoved in a hotdog casing look. Okay, no.

I could still do without the running tights.


Last night I dragged myself through the misery of this Minnesotan winter to my Crossfit gym. My brain protested like a little kid being taken to the doctor, digging in its heels and pouting. My brain is regressing as my body softens.

Arriving in the darkness of 530, I realized I had forgotten my shoes. I sat in my car for a full minute contemplating turning around. Just getting back to that warm couch. No, I thought, I’ve made it this far. I’ll go in and row a bit – maybe lift something in my sock feet – but surely I’ll have to leave before the workout.

Inside, half the people warming up I’ve known for more than year. Where you been? How the hell are you? Isn’t this winter a bitch? They are clad in stocking caps and running shorts, faded t-shirts and leggings.

As I settle into the rowing machine, sock-footed and self-conscious, a trainer stops to chat and suggests I borrow a pair from the left behind pile. I hesitate but the girl on the rower beside me and the boy doing pull-ups across the room urge me to say yes – these people I’ve known for a year, these people I’ve never seen outside the gym. Stay and play, they say. I give in. I stay.

The shoe pile demands it:


This community, the generosity of their encouragement, can quietly shock me sometimes. They didn’t turn away, they didn’t put their heads down, turn up their iPods and lift the heavy things. No, they looked at me. They recognized my face and smiled. I need this kind of encouragement and accountability. I need those goddamn smiles from my crossfit friends.

I can’t be trusted alone. This winter and my couch have proven that.

My fitness motivation has a tendency to wax and wane. Christmas and winter and warm brownies and a cuddly hibernating poodle and the Polar Vortex sent me into a serious waning phase. When I come home from work all I want to do is sit on the couch. My body collapses before I even have a chance to argue. It’s bad folks. My pants don’t fit like they did a few months ago. I’ve become less flexible. It takes me six days to recover from my one weekly workout.

What I should have learned from this: NOT working out causes me to suffer.

What I HAVE learned: Working out is the worst and sitting on my couch is the best. I mean look at that awfulness:

Ok. It wasn't so bad.

Ok. It wasn’t so bad.

But I’m not quitting. Not yet.

Crossfit has been one fitness plan I’ve been able to stick to since leaving the military. Since ever. I’m much more likely to succeed if someone just tells me what to do. When I don’t show up for a week, or two, I’ll hear about it. My gym-friends will tease me, the coach will laugh at my excuses, and we’ll all bitch about the way winter can suck out your soul. Then we’ll lift some heavy thing and raise our heart rates and all feel a little better about ourselves. I need that. I need to remember how easy that can be.

Just lift that weight up. Just get your ass to the gym. Easy. Wish me luck tonight… I make no promises.

Back at crossfit today after a solid week away. I’ve been less than motivated lately. Let’s blame the beautiful Minnesota summer and with my impressive ability to procrastinate. Surely it’s better to walk the poodle or spend time with my wife than worry about something as frivolous as personal fitness, right?

I’m working on that motivation.

Today we worked on the power snatch. (If you don’t do crossfit please feel free to go crazy with the snatch jokes) This is not my specialty. I can’t figure out the angles. When do pull? How do I move my hips? Why won’t physics agree with me?

Maybe if I just watch this beautiful video of Chad Vaughn 25 more times I’ll figure it out.

Since we moved, I haven’t been as faithful to the gym as I’d like to be. On a good week I’ll get there twice. That’s ok, I tell myself, we’re still getting settled. Giving your body a rest is good and natural. While that may be true I’m just being lazy (and perhaps feeling a little of the winter blues).

But I do get there once in a while and last night I showed up to see this workout posted:

20 Minutes on the Minute
Evens: 40 seconds max Double-Unders
Odds: 30 seconds max Hang Squat Cleans (53lbs for me)

Great I thought, ten rounds of jumping rope. For the life of me I haven’t been able to do a double under. I can’t get my mind around it. When should I jump? When do I move the rope faster? Should I jump higher? What am I supposed to be doing with my hands? So I mostly stopped trying when double-unders are part of a WOD. For some reason, last night, I decided to try and get my head out of it. Guess what? It worked. Fuck yeah it did. I did 14 double-unders in two minutes.

It’s those little unexpected accomplishments that make crossfit awesome.

Back at crossfit today. Turns out taking two out of three weeks off is a bad idea. Oh summer, what have you done to me? Beer and fried food and lazy days. Oh my.

In my defense, I did watch a lot of Olympics. Not just the big events. I watched fencing and handball and men’s volleyball and canoeing, too. Did you know those crazy bastards kneel while they canoe? They look like gladiators. Maybe I left my running shoes in my bag because subconsciously I took on all of that effort. Maybe.

At least I had enough motivation to get my lazy-summer-ass to a workout today.

My front squat is getting stronger (though, yes, I’m still being schooled the 50 year olds) and my form looks better. It can be so damn hard to keep those elbows up. Of course that wasn’t the WOD though. The WOD was four rounds of 500m row and 400m run – a birthday concoction for someone. Let’s just say I’m not a great rower. Each round I felt like the poor Iranian girl who arrived at the finish line a full minute after everyone else. Someone has to come in last.

Regardless, I feel good. For now. Tomorrow might be different.

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