“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy
Think about your life before CrossFit. How did you see yourself, others, and the world? Do you remember the first time you ‘joined the warriors’ and completed a WOD? If you’ve stuck around since then, odds are, you’ve got a story to tell that will resonate with the other warriors…
I joined the warriors in 2016; in search of fitness. For me, the definition of fitness started with going to CrossFit regularly, getting stronger, and changing my body. However, once I got into it, my goals soon changed to specific things like squatting my body weight, running around the building without stopping, levelling up in the scaled WOD weights – I did it all and then some. The first year was like a sling shot up; nothing but gains, gains, and more gains. The kind of personal records that make the coach do a double take ‘you really lifted that?’. I was eating well and getting visible results both in the gym and in my clothing. For months, I felt unstoppable.
Then, in early 2017, with my very first CrossFit Open approaching, my right forearm started to hurt. Naturally, I did what many novice athletes would have done, I ignored it. As time passed, it just kept getting worse. There was no way I was going to stop. Like an addict, I NEEDED CrossFit despite the side effects. What would happen to me if I stop? The fear of losing everything I worked so hard for was stronger than the actual pain. I couldn’t face reality. I wore a brace and decided I’d deal with it after the Open. The Open ended, and my arm was killing me. Any yanking movement was just unbearable – deadlifts, cleans, KBS, pull ups, I couldn’t do any of it. I still came, and I scaled as much as I could, but I couldn’t do squats and one-handed boot camp burpees every day. So, I had to make a very hard decision to take a step back from Outlaw, and from CrossFit. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get it back – the momentum I had, would I ever be able to find the motivation again? It was a huge blow.
In early April I met with Jay and, through the blur of welled up eyes, I asked him to put my membership on hold. He understood, he’d been there too, and he said I’d come out on the other side. I didn’t believe him. I’m not Jay, I’m not an ‘athlete’ for real. I show up and act like a warrior, but I knew deep down, I might succumb to failure. It would be like every other time I ‘committed’ to a fitness routine that never lasted. Why would this be any different? If I can’t do CrossFit, what’s the point in doing anything at all? I remember sitting in my office at work with a bag of Nibs in my hands. It was the first emotional junk purchase I’d made since starting CrossFit. I had a handful ready to throw back and I thought to myself – if I do this, and eat these carelessly, I’m officially giving up. I thought of the person I was before CrossFit, the person I had become, and the person I WANTED to be. Would a warrior give up? I threw out my handful and dumped the entire bag out behind them. This wasn’t going to be the end. I had a new lens, a warrior lens.
I’d have to change everything and figure out a new plan. I was eating like I was doing CrossFit six days a week, that would have to change. I would need to set up specialized workouts for myself at LA Fitness; and I’d have to make time for multiple physiotherapy sessions each week. I was thankful I knew a little about nutrition at this point. I lowered my calorie intake slightly and stopped eating my workout calories. It felt alright. I started working legs hard at the gym. For four months, I ran, squatted, and did some core work. My arm healed s-l-o-w-l-y.
I’d also booked my CrossFit Level 1 course for April, before my arm flared up. It was looming, non-refundable, and not cheap. I tried to get out of it. I emailed them and said my arm was injured; how can I complete this if I don’t have full use of my arm? They assured me, everything can be scaled. Am I ever thankful they didn’t let me out of that course. I went, I scaled, I learned, and I passed.
Jay had me doing Personal Training in June; a safe option for me to get back in the gym without pushing any limits. I LOVED it! I was back! I slowly started coming back to workouts in July and had to relearn movements and regain strength. I wiped all my maxes out on SugarWOD and started over. I had to work my way back up to the weights I was using before I left, and I had to regain pull ups and most upper body movements. But when they opened that door for us to run – I was gone! I had been running and squatting all winter and man did that ever translate into power in the WODs. My leg strength and cardiovascular stamina, to this day, are some of my best traits. I am lifting more than I ever have and am still progressing. I have a new outlook on progression. If I don’t PR today, maybe I will tomorrow.
Through the warrior’s lens, I am patient, and I am proud. I swore that when my arm healed I’d never take my body for granted again. I push when I know I can, and I scale when I need to scale. I get frustrated and cry on the days my body won’t let me push. I can rationalize that the frustration is a temporary emotion and regression is only an illusion. Any day you show up is a day you’ve already won
– Coach Ashley