Things I learned competing in a Crossfit competition

This summer I decided to say “yes”. “Yes” to adventure. “Yes” to new experiences. “Yes” to growth. “Yes” to help. I said “yes” to something completely out of my comfort zone – a Crossfit competition. And 6 weeks ago learned that instead of competing in the scaled division, I’d have to compete in the intermediate division due to er, extremely popular registration.

For my non-crossfit friends, competing in intermediate essentially means you’re hanging with the big(ger) kids. Heavier weights, more reps, more advanced gymnastics, more challenging time caps. And honestly, the only thing I felt I could deliver my team 6 weeks ago was comic relief. *laughsweatemoji*

Motivated to feel not only ready, but [a lot more] confident walking out in the arena with my teammates, I got serious. I enlisted the help of my friends, teammates and Kingfield coaches. There were accountability check-ins, gymnastic progression drills and a whole lot of comments of reassurance coming from my circle.

I lifted most days of the week, ran 3+ pounds off my dog, ate my egg breakfast of champions, stopped my Monday night wine habit, and prioritized sleep. There were push-ups, sit-ups, and handstand holds on the daily. I thought I didn’t have time for all this + a full time job + a side nutrition coaching business? But, I guess it is true when you want something bad enough, you just create the time.

Today I can say that I am the strongest I have ever been – physically and mentally. This post is me owning the work I put in to get there. I am proud of getting my backsquat up over 200 pounds. Getting from zero to [some] double unders. From zero to strict pull-ups and then, chest-to-bar pull-ups. From an inconsistent clean/jerk to 15 without failure. From hating rowing, to kind of loving it. Probably most of all, I am proud of the shift in my headspace.

Granite Games weekend kicked off with a “mandatory” briefing that I pretty much rolled my eyes through. I almost didn’t go, but I am happy I did for one reason: to hear the story of how the competition was born several years back. John Swanson said he created the event with one person in mind – a woman who could never identify with being called an “athlete” and questioned her coach whenever he used the term to describe her.

That story totally stopped me. I was that woman. This competition weekend was truly meant for me.

I don’t feel extremely uncomfortable with identifying as an athlete anymore. I show up to workouts differently. I treat my body differently. My internal self-talk is shifted. Instead of, “can I do that?”, it’s “I can do that.” It’s, “I am gonna try that”, instead of, “I’ll just stand here and watch you do that”. And it happened without me even realizing it. 

In my “becoming” an athlete [hah!], I realized a few things about mindset and habit change. While I might not have known it at the time, during the weeks leading up to Granite Games, I treated myself as if I already was an athlete. I faked it. I totally faked it by training like one, eating like one, sleeping like one. I find myself telling this to my clients on a regular basis, “Until your good habits are the ones you fall back on when faced with challenges that might derail you – fake it. Fake it until you make it to that point.”

Trying to lose weight? Act as if you already have. You’re eating delicious healthy meals and pushing yourself in your workouts.

Trying to quit soda? Act as if you haven’t touched the stuff in years. Ask yourself, “how would soda-less Sally behave in a situation surrounded by free refills and 2 liters?”

Trying to change your career path? Act as if you’re already in your dream role and feeling satisfied with how you spend your 40 hours per week. Suddenly the person that might have put up with being overworked and underpaid is not having it and you’re making strides to put yourself in a better position.

Trying to get fit? Act as if you already are. You are your Instagram idols. Hold yourself differently and do your daily habits differently.

Getting to your goal is a product of daily habits. I learned that by changing my mindset around whether or not I “was an athlete”, was the single biggest contributor to my performance gains this year because my daily habits fell in place because of it.

I hope you ignore the pessimistic and negative voices in your head that say you can’t accomplish anything you want to. I hope you mute them with a loud “I am” statement followed by positive self talk. Even if you don’t believe it yet, I promise that by faking that you’ve made it [where ever that is], will shift your mindset so much that your daily habits will follow suit.

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