>>>Guest blog by Coach Monika Hartman
Many people immediately think of the word “competition” when they think of CrossFit.
Competition breeds intensity and intensity yields results. Those results are different for everyone, but everyone wants to be better. My results quickly spread from the gym to every aspect of my life. There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be who I am today without this sport.
CrossFit, if you let it, will show you who you are.
It was the Friday after Thanksgiving, 2014. I went into open gym with a friend/coach to mess around with rope climb foot work. I had been chasing the rope climb for a while. My friends and coaches assured me that it wasn’t a matter of strength. They said I had the strength to do it, it was just about skill, and more importantly, confidence. I got my first rope climb that day. That was less than a year after walking in for my first CrossFit experience.
Fast forward a couple of months – probably January of 2015. I was setting up for a Saturday workout, still feeling bloated and weak from holiday eating and travel. I was talking to a fellow athlete about how bad I wanted my strict pull-up. I had been working negatives, barbell pull-up scales, and jumping pull-ups, ya know, just to get through that sticky point at the bottom. My friend asked me to show him how close I was. I laughed, embarrassed about how sad this was about to look. I jumped up on the bar. Bam! First strict pull-up! After the workout, I did one more for a video to send to anyone that cared.
In practicing for the open in 2016, I eeked out my first ugly handstand push up. When I first started CrossFit in January of 2014, I couldn’t kick up on a wall. I did wall walks to a 45 degree angle, uncomfortable with inversion and terrified of breaking my neck. In 16.4, I failed more HSPU than I completed, and ran the workout a second time a couple of days later to squeeze out a couple more. In 17.4, I completed 13 HSPU. In a competition two weeks ago, I completed 20 under extreme fatigue.
In the three years and eight months that I have been letting this sport kick my butt 5 times a week, I have trained my body how to do things that I never even imagined. From being afraid to climb 15 feet in the air with nothing but my own skill and strength, to completing 15 rope climbs in a hero workout. From being terrified of breaking my neck to kicking up with ease and confidence to complete 20 HSPU. From shocking myself with one strict pull-up, to doing 30 on Monday last week. And there are still so many movements and benchmarks to chase.
These things come with time, effort, and consistency. And I haven’t put my life on hold to make progress in the gym. In January of 2014, I completed my first WOD. In March of that year, I smoked my last cigarette. In April, I found the courage to leave a toxic marriage. By March of the following year, I closed on my condo. That same day, my dad passed away from a brief and brutal fight with cancer. During the funeral week, I found comfort and relief by dropping into a local box. Two years later, getting too cozy in an easy life, I decided to challenge myself to make a new one on the other side of the country. Despite all of this, I have made improvements. I won’t be going to the games anytime soon, but I damn well expect to PR my deadlift in the next few weeks!
If you let it, this sport will take you to really cool places. It will show you that fear is your friend. The fear that you conquer on the bar, or the rope, or the box will make will everything in life less scary. CrossFit will teach you a valuable lesson about getting out what you put in. It will give you confidence you never even knew you didn’t have. If you try your hardest every day, knowing you will still get your ass handed to you, you WILL find yourself at the top of a rope, or under a body-weight clean, or cruising through double unders without a slash mark to show for it. I promise, if you give this sport everything you have when you’re inside the gym walls, you will surprise the hell out of yourself. And that’s pretty damn cool.