Life lessons that Crossfit has taught me

As anyone reading this probably already knows, but I’ve been drinking the Crossfit koolaid pretty heavy. As a coach and an athlete for the last almost 4 years, CF has changed my life in ways I’ll be stuck with forever. I can’t say enough good things about what it’s done for me, mentally and physically. Here’s why. 🙂

1. Support system is everything

What keeps most of us coming back to Crossfit, is the community. There’s nothing like the bond that you build with people at your gym. Whether it’s before work, during a lunch break, or after work, that hour at the gym you get with your buddies is most likely the highlight of your day. We get to let off some steam, chat it up, laugh, get some competition going, and do some fitness. There’s a sacred sort of bond formed between all the athletes doing a workout together. In the middle of it, when your heart rate is jacked, your lungs are burning and you feel like you can’t keep going, it’s all of your buddies around you that motivate you to keep going. To pick up the bar. To not stop. Everyone’s rooting for eachother to keep going, there’s nothing like it!

2. There will always be an excuse

There will always, always, always, be a reason why you can’t. I’m tired- I have homework to do- My favorite show is on tonight- I have such a long day today- My head hurts.

The list can go on and on. Same goes for performance during a Crossfit workout: My legs are sore- My nose is running- I didn’t sleep much last night- I didn’t get a big enough breakfast.

The point is, to hell with the excuses. You either show up and do the work, to the best of your ability…or you don’t. It’s pretty simple. There doesn’t need to be an excuse for everything. The people who excel in the Crossfit world (and in life) are those who realize that excuses mean absolutely nothing and will get you nowhere, fast.

3. Success isn’t linear

There seems to be this misconception that success is a linear process- that someone keeps excelling over and over again until they reach their definition of “success.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The road to success is always UNDER CONSTRUCTION- it’s bumpy, frustrating, exhausting, and paved with failures.

It’s how you deal with the obstacles that hit you on your road to success that will determine when/if you get there! CF couldn’t be more of a testament to this. Even the top athletes’s lives have not been lacking of setbacks, obstacles, failures, injuries. Struggles are inevitable. Bad things will happen to you. Sometimes you’ll find a skill or task that seems so daunting, it’s almost impossible. Sometimes life and emotions will get in the way. And that’s OKAY. It’s part of the process. It’s part of the magic. It’s part of your path to success.

4. Ego won’t get you far

Ego… it is the NUMBER ONE reason why Crossfit gets a bad reputation in the fitness community. Crossfit, when prescribed correctly, is an amazing tool to create functional fitness accessible to everyone. And yes, I mean everyone. It is scalable and modifiable. When it is modified correctly based on the person, ALL levels should get the same stimulus from any given workout. Loads and volumes are chosen based on the person, so ALL can get the same intensity from the workout.

The problem arises when people don’t scale correctly. Everyone wants to do the workout Rx (as prescribed), even if they may not be ready to do so. This is how people either 1. get hurt or 2. are not progressing in the way that they should be. While the ultimate goal for most people is to be able to do workouts as prescribed, they often forget how important all the stuff in between is. Learning new skills, doing them the right way, becoming efficient at them, being able to do them under fatigue- these are things for the Crossfitter to be worried about… not doing the workout as prescribed.

If you want to be a successful Crossfitter, your ego needs to be left at the door when you walk into the gym. If you come in eager to learn, to listen to the coaches, to do things correctly, to scale appropriately… that’s when the magic happens. That’s when you begin to grow as an athlete, and as a person. In life, you will get so much farther if you can admit when you don’t know something and are OK with asking for help. Ego is really the biggest enemy here. As Albert Einstein said, “More the knowledge, lesser the ego. Lesser the knowledge, more the ego.”


5. Stay in your lane

Going right along with the ego- another big issue in Crossfit gyms is people becoming obsessive with comparison. People get too worried about what others are doing and how they’re performing. To feel better about themselves, they need to beat this person. It’s just more of feeding the ego. Instead, athletes should be focused on themselves, and their weaknesses. Instead of worrying about who to beat, what can they do everyday to get ahead of the pack? What skill needs some extra attention? How can they move faster in a certain kind of workout? These are questions to be asking, not “Oh, well what did he get?”

In every day life, your own path is the only one that needs to be focused on. Everyone’s is different, and everyone’s timing is different. Be so honed in on what’s going on in your life that you don’t even have time to worry about another’s. Be so busy working on your own grass that you haven’t even noticed if theirs is greener.


6. What’s going on in between your ears is most important

Positive self-talk. Inner coaching. Mental toughness. These are CRUCIAL, day in and day out, in a Crossfit athlete’s life. There are so many things that can go wrong in a workout. How you overcome, adapt, keep moving, and keep talking to yourself, are key to getting through it. Getting mad at yourself for having to drop the bar, getting visibly upset or frustrating for breaking your jump ropes, or silently cursing and freaking out in your brain when you miss a weight, are all ways that a workout can go downhill for you.

Learning how to control your thoughts- changing them from negative to positive, can be a game changer. If you can learn to talk to yourself in a positive manner, you will adapt and overcome almost anything that happens to you. Keep in mind, this doesn’t happen overnight. It can take years to develop a mentality that will give you the edge over other athletes, and other people.

7. There is no substitute for hard work

Basically, you get what you give. If you half-ass anything, it will show. If you’ve been neglecting a skill all year, it will show. If you choose to skip things you suck at, it will eventually show.

Nothing in this world beats hard work, consistency, patience. They are necessary for a successful Crossfit career and for a fulfilling life. If you’re going to do something, whether it be for work, your family, your athletic career- why not do it fully? Why not seek to be the best you can possibly be? Why not take all the steps necessary to ensure success?

There’s never a quick fix, a magic pill, a #1 program that will get you all the results you’re looking for. How you’re going to achieve it (whatever it is), is solely up to you. If you want to work hard, that’s your choice. If you don’t want to work hard, that’s your choice as well.

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