Things I love about life #50: CrossFit

I promised myself that the first time I won a CrossFit competition that I’d blog about why I have such a love affair with the sport.  That has come to fruition.

There are a large group of people that dislike crossFit; many, with a passion.  That’s understandable…  if everyone loves you, you’re living a lie – a false existence.  You’re living a life in which the aim is to please others instead of expanding the truth of who you are at your core.  I think that is why there are CrossFit haters. CrossFit is a mirror into the Self.  It’s all or nothing.  It’s can or can’t.  There’s no grey area, there’s no maybe, there’s no better luck next time.  There’s only do or do not.  This in and of itself is very indicative of life.  In life, you have to put up or shut up. In life, you have to build on each small step to attain greatness.  You have to be able to have flexibility, strength, dedication – and above all, the willpower to persist to a higher level greatness.  There are many people that would rather coast through life.  There are many people that would rather focus on one area of life, or their body, at one time.  There are many people that would rather not look at their weaknesses or hold themselves accountable for personal fragilities or inabilities.  They’d rather gloss over those areas of life by over-compensating in other areas or finding different outlets.  And you know? That’s okay.  It’s okay to fear your own greatness.  It’s okay to not be ready to embark on the journey in to the Self… just like its okay not to like CrossFit. But there are those of us that love the challenge.  There are those of us that wake up each morning that obsess about the class, the weight, the movement, and the direct reflection we are about to have into how hard we’ve worked.

Granted, not every CrossFit gym is created equally.  It takes the right mixture of remarkable people to make a box feel like home.  I, and everyone else at Space Coast CrossFit, have been spoiled.  When you walk in to this place, it’s not just the aesthetics that drop your jaw, but the people.  CrossFitters are often heard talking about the “CrossFit Community” … but we have more than that, here.  We have an extended family.  The coaching staff is unparalleled in both instruction and positive encouragement, the family opens its arms and cradles you in, and the owner is nothing short of a phenom in all things business, crossFit, personal development and leadership.  I said all of that to say this:  if you’ve tried CrossFit and you didn’t care for it, chances are, you weren’t in the right box.

This sport is very personal to me.  It has had a profound impact on the person I have become.  I showed up to my first class overweight, out of shape and self-pitying.  I showed up self-conscious and devoid of pride.  And then I wrapped my hands around the cool steel of a barbell.  That alone was enough to hook me.  I heard the murmurs of happiness and the collective willing power of others helping others.  There is something exceptionally powerful about the poetic sounds of a class in session;  the indisputable clank of metal on metal – the strength of steel clashing with steel.  That sound mirrors the intention of the mind willing the body to lift something heavier than itself.  The steel bar with its rubber weights is a blatant reminder of what we are made of.  The bar replicates our bones, our grit, and our unbreakable spirit.  Rubber reminds us to remain adaptable, to rebound, to add in all the glorious substances that make our lives rich and full. There are weights being lifted to what seem like unattainable positions; and weights being dropped in glorious triumph.  There are grunts of effort and cheers of encouragement.  There is sweat, toil, blood, tears – and every so often, the shriek of glory that comes with a new Personal Record.

Walking in to a CrossFit gym is a constant reminder that no matter what life throws at you, you have the capability to shoulder the burden.  Wrapping your fingers around a barbell echoes your intention in the realization that all heavy burdens can be lifted… and not just lifted, but swung artistically in a multitude of manners.  Weight, just like all of life’s encumbrances, can be “deadlifted,” like the wretched torment of recalling lost dreams and carrying them with you.  They can be “cleaned,” as if pulling in a loved one when they are struggling to find their footing.  They can be “snatched,” the way anyone can look their own fear dead in its eyes and punch it in the throat.  It can be “pressed,” like the daily routine of holding stress on your shoulders and then forcefully pushing it away in the realization that all that weight bearing down on your shoulders is not what makes up a life.

And, after each successful lift, you let the bar fall to the ground, the reverberation of such heavy weight making the earth beneath you shake like a lover in mid-orgasm.  And you know in that moment what you’ve accomplished.  You’ve convinced your apt mind and your extraordinary body to create art in movement, which is all life really is — art and movement.  You’ve succeeded in doing something truly magical.  You’ve pushed yourself to the limit.  You’ve taken stock of your abilities in absolute form.  You’re winded, exhausted, and glowing with the knowledge that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought possible.  That accomplishment has no choice but to follow you out of the gym and in to your daily life.  It sets your intention to overcome, fight through the struggle, and come out kicking life’s ass on the other side.  That’s something I love to see in the mirror image of myself – the person that refuses to quit, the person that gives her all, the person that refuses to let life live her – but lives life as she sees fit.  I no longer see a doormat or an apologizer.  I am no longer out of shape or devoid of pride.  I am a woman with Spartan blood and guttural fire, an intention setter with a spine made out of barbell steel.  I owe that to myself – and I have CrossFit to thank for it.

You owe that to yourself.  Go find a barbell and your inner warrior.

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