Are You Willing to Get Uncomfortable?

These past few weeks have been a fun and exciting time for me.  However, along with the fun and excitement, I have had other not so “positive” feelings.  I’ll get into those feelings in a bit.

It made me think about all the factors that can get in the way of starting something new.  We normally blame our schedule, motivation, lack of money, or some other b.s. excuse.  But what factors can come into play when those are not a problem.  In other words, we can not use them as our excuse.

So let me back up the past few weeks.

I was running a session with a client, when he told me he watched a segment on the television show, 60 Minutes, about Crossfit.  He asked me what I thought about it.  In the fitness world, Crossfit has been a topic of hot debate.  People either join the “cult” and do Crossfit or people absolutely reject everything about it.  You reading this probably have your opinion on one of these two fronts.

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My opinion has been neutral and open-minded.  I have done Crossfit style workouts in the past and know how hard they are.  So knowing what these Crossfitters are putting themselves through, I could tip my hat to them.  By seeing these individual’s physiques and how they perform, it is hard to argue that it does not get you in shape.  And in my opinion if people are being consistent and enjoying what they are doing, while improving their health, how can it be terrible? And like every answer to almost any fitness question,…it depends on what your goal is.  I really never gave it that much attention especially towards my training.

With my “neutral” opinion, I still didn’t care to do Crossfit.  I was plugging away at my typical gym workouts.

But a seed was planted, without me even knowing it.

I have been wanting to learn Olympic lifts for some time now and I could really tell my conditioning was depressingly low.  I also was at a point when I knew I needed an extra push in the gym.  A coach, someone to push me harder than I was pushing myself and since I have never done Olympic lifts before, I wanted to learn the right way.   I started surfing the net, reading and listening to podcasts that kept bringing me back to Oly lifts and Crossfit.

Long story short, I joined my local Crossfit box, Crossfit 412 at Alpha Athletics.

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So in probably two weeks, I go from no interest in Crossfit to being a member.  Which brings me to the heart and soul of this blog post.

So as I mentioned earlier, I had the motivation and was committed and excited to start.  I paid my money upfront so I was set up for a month of unlimited classes.  I looked over the schedule and I could definitely make the workouts, since it is close to where I train, even if it means making the 6am session.

So what could stand in my way?

Myself, more specifically my pride, my ego, my expectations for myself… whatever you want to call it.

I was humbled after my first session.

Some things I did and handled well and some others needed some extra focus and work.

The first few sessions were one on one, just going over movement patterns and where I stood overall.

My coach, Tony, was able to pick out even the smallest issue and worked with me on those before just loading up a barbell and telling me to go at it.  This means staying light on the weight and focusing on technique rather than how much weight you can heave around.

Learning new movements patterns is not always easy.  Tony tells me to open my hips up before I shrug the bar up.  I know what he wants, can visualize it, understand it kinesiologically, but getting my hips to do it ….. FAIL!!!

This leaves me frustrated.

At the end of the WODs I attended this past week, everyone shouts out their weights, etc. and the ladies were shouting bigger numbers than me (no offense) It would of have been easy to want to hide behind the plates on my barbell and let it make me feel like the workout was a failure or I sucked and was a puny little weakling that the girls would start to bully around and steal my Kill Clifs.  As guys we need to be macho, it is in our DNA.  I believe we are competitive.  Even though I completed the WOD with a good time or with everyone else, knowing my weights were lower than everyone else’s made me feel like being at the bottom of the list was a faaaarrrr way down from the top.

How I felt my first class

                   How I felt my first class

You can probably see by now where I am going with this.

I left a comfortable environment.  I planned my workout, worked out by myself,  I didn’t have an extra set of eyes on my form, I pretty much new what to expect before I even started my workout.  Now I am walking into a gym with new people to meet every time.  When Tony calls out for us to do something I have to watch or follow the other’s lead.  My technique needs some polishing up compared to the person who has been coming for a year, because of this my weights and numbers are not very impressive compared to theirs.  The type of workout is not what I am used to.  My conditioning is not where the other’s conditioning is.

I am the new guy.  I am at the beginner level.

I have to practice patience. Working on my technique first and putting priority on that.

It is hard to be here because I want to compare myself to everyone else.

I want to be doing what everyone else is doing.

One thing Tony said in the very beginning was “whatever your goal, you come and do the workouts you will inevitablly reach that goal.” I agree with him 100%.

By humbling myself every time walk through the door I know I will get better.  My technique will improve with each rep of practice, my weights and performance will go up.  I will eventually not be the new guy or beginner.

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Sometimes going through this phase is hard.  You want to be there, you want to workout, you want to get results, but in a new environment you can feel like a fish out of water.  That feeling can out weigh the rest.  You feel like everyone is watching you.  You are comparing yourself to everyone else, disregarding the fact that they have been doing it longer and at one time standing in the same spot you are in right now.

Be true to yourself and do it right.  I am going to practice my snatch with light weight until I get my hips moving correctly each time and build from there.  I may not like it.  But honestly no one else cares what amount of weight I am snatching right now, my first week or fifty second week.  Either way I will make progress and eventually get to where I want to be.

It is all about taking baby steps.  If you want big biceps but can only curl 10lbs then you have to curl 10lbs before you can curl 12lbs.  You don’t like it? You can leave your ego at the door and work to get to 12lbs or quit because you do not want to earn it like everyone did…and live with your tiny weak arms.  You do not want to be in those uncomfortable places.

Everything I said can transfer to different situations.  I can definitely relate to my other training in jiu-jitsu.  Walking into a gym as the new beginning white belt can be very intimidating.  You will spend some weeks/months (oh heck, it never ends) getting your butt beat by someone with more skill than you.  Again the only difference between you and them is they have attended more classes. They never quit.  They over came the discomfort of walking into an uncomfortable situation time and time again.

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I still plan on keeping with a workout routine, working a body part a day. (I do work in a gym, giving me access and convenience to still focus on that too).  But Crossfit has given my training and focus a new direction towards some new and exciting stuff.  If you have the chance try something new.  It can open up new doors for you and overall make you a better person.

 

 

 

About The Author

Kevin Fulton

Kevin Fulton is personal trainer in Pittsburgh, PA. His goal is to help his clients look, feel, and move better. In his spare time you can find him under a barbell or practicing jiu jitsu.

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