I’ll be the first to admit it. I love being comfortable. Honestly, don’t we all? Something scary happens when we step outside of our familiar little bubble. As humans, I believe that we all really like to know what to expect, to be comfortable, and to do what we know.
When you get stuck in what is comfortable, how do you grow? How do you get better? New things are scary. The unknown isn’t a good feeling. But, the simple willingness to step out into the unknown makes you stronger and better. My favorite FOF shirt simply says, “Results begins where your comfort zone ends.” It’s so true.
Well, last weekend, three FOF members and myself stepped way outside our comfort zone. A few of us signed up for a local CrossFit competition, the Gaindeer Games, even though we don’t “do” CrossFit.
Scary? Absolutely. A challenge. Definitely. Here’s a recap of our first CrossFit competition.
Dealing with Doubt and Fear
Let me start with the fact that this competition was NOT my idea. Back in April, my friend (and FOF member) planted the seed. At first, I was all over it. Why not? Then, the more I thought about it, I heard those little doubts and fears creep in.
You don’t do CrossFit. You are 36 years old. You’ve never picked up a barbell. Those girls are strong. What if you suck? What are people going to say or think? What if you get last? What if you get hurt?
Those thoughts are real, and I would make a bet that if you have ever tried anything new, you likely have experienced those same thoughts. These thoughts will stop you in your tracks if you allow them to stick around. You must shut them down.
I’ll start with this. The four of us that decided to participate in the competition do Fixed on Fitness workouts four days a week. We weren’t new to working out, and we were already pretty familiar with high intensity workouts since that is what most of our FOF workouts are built around.
Five months ago, four of us picked up a barbell for the first time. We decided that we would meet on Saturday mornings in my garage, and we would just give this lifting thing a shot. We knew we had any kettlebell movements down since we lift fairly heavy in FOF workouts. Josh and I designed very basic workouts that incorporated moves we were used to with the barbell and took the intensity up a notch.
Slowly, we began to get better. We were lifting heavier. With no idea what to expect for the competition workouts, we just kept focusing on basic movements such as cleans, hang cleans, deadlifts, and push press. Then, the workouts were posted.
With each post (now about 4 weeks out from the competition), we were finding that every movement was new. Nothing was familiar. First, it was a 1 minute sprint on the assault bike and a 3 rep max thruster. We had never been on a bike (other than my triathlon bike). We bought one that I found for cheap on the Facebook Marketplace and started practicing. Our first practice was pretty pitiful. I think I made it 22 seconds. We started attempting a 3 rep max on thrusters.
The next workout included a sandbag…again, something we had never used. We ordered one from Amazon and started throwing it around. Thankfully, it came pretty natural for us, but the other movement (knee ups) was not so natural. We practiced, got the hang of it, and moved on. Thankfully, someone gave me some boxes a few weeks prior, so we were able to get some good practice for the weighted step ups.
Finally, 2 weeks before the competition, the last workout was released. It started with a freaking 1500 meter row…as the buy in. What? Never having sat on a rower, we thankfully found one to borrow and went to town. Can I just say…the rower is brutal.
It’s funny looking back at our preparation. We seriously could have come up with 100 excuses just to bail on the entire thing. Instead, we simply just took a few minutes each Saturday before we started working to practice the new movements. We laughed a few times at how bad our first try was, but we picked back up. We didn’t quit, and I am so proud of us for that.
So, here we go. We signed up for the scaled division, and we were ready to go. With absolutely no idea what to expect, we got our team shirts (thanks Patriot Grapix) and headed to check in. Looking around, there were people of pretty much all shapes and sizes. We clearly didn’t 100% fit in, and our tent set up was completely comical, but we were on time and ready to go.
The events went well. Our goal was simply to show up, have fun, and try not to get last. We gave everything we had with each event, and we were satisfied with our performance. Most everyone we met was extremely nice, and it was fun to watch some of the more experienced athletes tackle the workouts.
I’ve run 50Ks, done a half Ironman, and countless other races like Tough Mudders and Spartans. This event was different. It’s all day long. You work, then you break. You get pumped up, and then you have to quickly calm down. We warmed up and cooled down more than I ever have. Mentally, it was pretty exhausting.
It was pouring down rain and slightly chilly, so we were crammed under our tent or inside like sardines, but we laughed, we watched, we chased our kids around, we competed, and we ate…a lot.
Nutrition was tough to nail down, as we had about 2 hours in between events. We loaded up on simple carbs, fruit, a little protein, and plenty of electrolytes. In my opinion, that was perfect. No one felt loaded down, but we weren’t hungry either.
Overall, for four first timers, things went pretty smooth.
We blew ourselves away with how well we did. My partner and I actually placed first in the scaled division which exceeded our expectations.
I always knew that we had a solid workout program at FOF. What I didn’t realize was exactly how solid it actually is. Our endurance was great. We were tired but never exhausted. We were well prepared, but not injured.
CrossFit is a slightly different beast than we are used to. We have some skills to work on before we can hang with the Rx division. However, I had no business doubting our ability to go in there and actually be able to compete.
As we finished our last event, I thought back to those doubts and fears. What if I would have let them have control? I would have missed the incredible fellowship of our Saturday morning workouts. I would have missed the opportunity to try something new. I would have sold myself short.
We got uncomfortable, and I don’t think one of us would trade the work or the discomfort for the result. We have grown, we have changed, we have become stronger. We are moms with full time jobs and responsibilities that keep us busy, but we took the time to invest in ourselves, and I can promise we are better moms, wives, and friends for it.
Where are you staying comfortable? Where are you seeking the familiar instead of stepping into the unknown? Do something. What’s the worst thing that might happen if you get uncomfortable? I love this quote –
“The best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Take action. Invest in yourself. Step out. Get uncomfortable.