Old Mindsets Die Hard

I’ve got a lot of exciting CrossFit events coming up over the next month and a half.  First, the CrossFit Level 1 certification seminar is next weekend.  It’s unfortunate the seminar runs from 9:00-5:30 on Saturday and Sunday of 4th of July, but I can think of worse ways to spend the holiday weekend.  I’m looking forward to meeting cool people and learning more about CrossFit than I probably ever wanted to know.  Assuming I pass the exam at the end, it also means I have the minimum qualifications to actually coach CrossFit, but again, that’s not really where my mind is right now.  I think coaching would be an incredible experience, but I think I need to develop myself into a better CrossFitter before I would even contemplate coaching others.

The second exciting thing is that I’m doing CrossFit for Hope in Charlotte on July 19th.  Aside from getting to visit Charlotte, I’m super pumped to be able to actually participate this year because last year I was relegated to being a spectator thanks to a shoulder injury.  It’s not a competition, but a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.  Everyone does the same workout (in heats throughout the day), which is similar to “Fight Gone Bad” in that you spend 1 minute doing as many reps as possible of each exercise, then once you have completed one round of each exercise, you get 1 minute rest  for 3 total rounds.  The movements are:

Bburpeesurpees (One of my favorites – seriously.  I love burpees)

Pull-ups

Thrusters (55 lbs)

Box Jumps (20″)

Power Snatch (55 lbs)

And finally, maybe the most exciting thing – I’m doing a CrossFit competition in August in Chicago.  I am competing in the team scaled division of the Galt Games with my friend and 2 guys from her gym.  They haven’t released the events yet, but did provide movement standards for each division, so I have an idea of what to expect:

Team Standards are:
Wall Balls (14/10)
Push Ups
Sit Ups
Air Squats
Box jumps (20)

Team finalists should be able to do:
OH Walking Lunge (45/35)
Push-up
Snatch (115/75)
Hang Cleans (115/75)
Front Squat (115/75)

I would have loved to compete in the Rx divsion, but the weights are just too far above my threshold as an athlete.  Even in the scaled division, the snatch at 75 lbs is actually above my one rep max, but I’m hoping I can make some progress on that between now and competition day.

Women-Individuals-of-the-2013-Crossfit-Game___-badazzI know I’m always trumpeting the idea of performance over appearance, but I have a confession to make.  When I first committed to doing the team competition, my first thought was not, “I need to train hard so that I’m prepared and can perform well.”  My first thought was, “I need to lean out so that I look good in a sports bra and shorts on competition day.”  Old mindsets die hard.  And as much as the principles of CrossFit emphasize the idea of performance over appearance, you can’t escape the fact that booty shorts and six packs are also part of what gives CrossFit appeal, especially when you look at CrossFit Games-caliber athletes.

I still have to curb my tendencies toward aspiring to my idea of physical perfection and over-valuing the way my body looks.  It’s something I have to make a conscious effort to do on a daily basis.  CrossFit helped me develop a much more positive and constructive attitude toward my body and training, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something I still wrestle with.  For instance, I was at the beach a couple of weekends ago, and my friend and I took some silly pictures posing in our bikinis.  I’ll admit that before I posted them to Facebook, I had an urge to look at the photos, zoom in on how I looked, and then pick apart how my body looked in the pictures to decide whether to post them for public consumption or not.  But I caught myself and then just thought, “This picture is about capturing a fun moment of a great weekend with good friends – this is not about what my body looks like in a bikini.”  So I posted it, and then didn’t give it another thought.

When the voice of my inner critic starts going on a rant about my “trouble areas,” I just remind myself of all of the things my body has done and can do – everything from running a half marathon to deadlifting 200 lbs to climbing a mountain.  And when I consider all of the people in my life who I really care about, I realize that I could care less about what their bodies look like.  I love them for the people that they are, not their body fat percentage or a number on the scale.  In fact, even the people I know who have awesome physiques still have the same insecurities that everyone else does.  I know that even when I was “competition ready” and leaner than I had ever been, I was actually more unhappy and less secure about my body than I am now.

I am not trying to say a person shouldn’t care about their physical appearance at all, and wanting to lose a few pounds or tone up is fine, especially if it will increase your confidence.  But there is a threshold that can be all too easy to cross where chasing a certain look becomes an all-encompassing dysfunctional pursuit.  Trust me, I’ve been there.

So, I will let those perfectionist-critic whispers about my body be eclipsed by the sound of a heavy barbell hitting the ground, the sight of new PR’s on the whiteboard, the sound of my heart pounding when I’m giving it my all, and the feel of the afterglow of completing a tough WOD.  I will eat to nourish my body and to fuel and recover from my training sessions, but I refuse to trade in balance and a healthy mindset for the sake of visible abs come competition day.

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