Five Things I Wish I Knew When I Started CrossFit

January is the infamous season of new beginnings. Even though I love getting on the New Year’s resolution train like everybody else, I have also recently stolen a practice from Tim Ferriss that I love: a past year review. A PYR is simply a personal inventory of the past year’s positive and negative experiences that informs future actionable choices to ensure a happier life in the upcoming year.

In this process I noticed what a positive influence CrossFit has had on my life. This is an obvious statement for many reasons, but also for some less obvious ones that deep down I know, but rarely think about. They are the reasons why many of us try so hard to convince our friends and family to join the sport. They are the things I wish I knew before and when I started, the reasons I wish I started earlier. Here are my five reasons, as inspired by my past year review. What are your five?

  1. I would change as a person. CrossFit completely shifted my view of myself and my abilities. Many of us, without realizing it, have a fixed mindset about who we are. We have grown up as the funny one, the athlete, the artist; we have been told we are impulsive, lazy, or stubborn. We decide about ourselves and often believe that we can’t change; CrossFit shatters what we believe we are capable of doing, of mastering, of enduring.

  2. I would learn patience. We all come to CrossFit with inherent strengths and weaknesses from high school or college sports or hobbies in our adulthood. When I started, I hated snatching. Hated it. I felt dumb every time I tried to awkwardly throw weight over my head and end up landing in a pile on my ass. But the organized discomfort that is CrossFit encourages us to have patience and practice. Over time, I've seen athletes make friends with wall ball and burpees and learn to love to row.

  3. I would use so many weightlifting metaphors in my everyday life. They really apply to everything. Picking up a heavy barbell in one moment is overcoming personal tragedy in another. And if my students have to hear one more time that reading Shakespeare is just “lifting heavy brain weights” they might mutiny.

  4. I’d grow newfound grit as an adult. After spending a lifetime in a temperature-controlled globo gym sweating only to a socially acceptable degree, I never imagined that in my 30s I would slug through Murph in 95 degree weather or do burpees on gravelly concrete. Grit is the CrossFit baseline and the culture, but it is curious where else in life it pops up when you practice it in the gym.

  5. I would make lifelong friends. We all know that the real reason why we keep coming back isn’t just the WOD, it’s the people.