“Cutting Out Comparison” Author – Coach Krystal Cole
People have many different reasons for deciding to walk into a CrossFit gym for the first time. The majority of us are searching for a new and more exciting way to practice physical fitness, while others are looking to find a community of strong and empowering individuals. Whatever your reasons may be for trying CrossFit, I believe we all gain something very similar after joining a CrossFit gym, that being a major boost to our confidence and self-esteem.
CrossFit will be very beneficial for anyone who undertakes it with the appropriate attitude. In my case, it was a new and exciting workout regimen but eventually I developed a negative attitude in regard to my workouts because I stopped be proud of what I was personally accomplishing in the gym on a daily basis and instead I began to compare myself to what other athletes were accomplishing.
I fell in love with Crossfit the minute I started doing it. Initially I only attended classes three days a week and really only had the goal of fitting into my bridesmaids dresses. (#basicgirlproblems) I never really thought of entering in a CrossFit competition and I honestly didn’t even really understand how a competition worked. I entered into my first two competitions essentially by default due to the inability of other athletes being able to attend. I can tell you, I was extremely proud of myself for just showing up and attempting those competitions. I was very shy and hardly talked to anyone, I didn’t think I could handle it and couldn’t even remember all of the movements. (For real, I couldn’t remember the difference between a Snatch and a Clean and Jerk) But due to the fact that I completed those competitions, I was not only proud but I started to feel confident in myself again.
The first summer after I began my CrossFit adventure, I started going to classes five days a week with even more drive and determination then I had had originally. I stopped caring so much about what my body looked like but rather what it could do. (The biggest win!)
So where did I go wrong?
I started to let an old habit run its course. I started to compare myself to other athletes. I began to think things like, her time was faster, she is lifting so much more than me, she can do muscle ups and I still can’t get one. I forgot about how much I was progressing and only cared about beating other athlete’s scores. This not only led me to completing sloppy repetitions during workouts and creating bad habits, but it started to take away that self-confidence I had worked so hard to bring back into my life.
I started feeling down on myself every time I left the gym rather than being empowered and strong like I was feeling before. I started feeling like I used to when I would leave a dance audition after being “cut ”. I had once before taken a passion and love in my life (dance) and turned it into something negative because I began to focus on comparisons to other people.
I will never regret giving up on my dance performance career because it led me to teaching and doing choreography, which I love. However, I will not lie and say I don’t think about how I could have tried harder and perhaps shouldn’t have quit auditioning so soon. I promised myself I would never give up on anything in my life again out of my frustration from comparing myself to other people and their successes rather than focusing on my own achievements.
Thankfully thinking about the mistakes I had made in the past helped me realize what mistakes I was making in the gym. The mistakes in question were not physical but rather mental. I stopped worrying about the records of accomplishments written on the whiteboard in the gym and instead just concentrated on working hard every day. I made it a personal goal to never walk out of the gym with my head down again. Whether it was a good or bad day, I was going to chalk it up as a day of improvement as long as I did my best.
Why are we really all here?
We are here to improve ourselves mentally and physically. We are here to figure out the amazing things that our bodies are capable of doing and also to encourage and empower the amazing community that is held within the walls of South Mountain CrossFit. We don’t walk into that gym every day to “beat” someone else.
We walk into the gym to improve and gain confidence within ourselves.