Newcomers to CrossFit often ask if it ever gets easier. No, it doesn’t, you just get stronger and better able to stay moving while fatigued. They typically aren’t too relieved by the answer but it’s the truth. The idea of something getting easier is also a sign that at some point you reach the “end”, and if you haven’t realized it yet, there is no end to CrossFit or fitness. Times get faster, loads get heavier, movements become higher-skilled, but there’s no finish line where we can sit back and say, “there, I finished.”
CrossFit is a journey, cliche I know, but true nonetheless. There is no finish-line, there is no blackbelt. Similar to life, it’s a series of undulating waves of progress and regress, peaks and troughs. So why does this matter?
If we get too caught up in our goals and achieving them then we quickly lose sight of why we do all this to begin with, and what once made us happy now leaves us stressed. When we become so focused on achieving something we begin to attach our happiness to it and then by definition we can’t be happy until we have it. No matter what we achieve, more and more is still left to be attained, so we fall into this vicious cycle where our happiness is continually bumped to the next thing in our future that’s going to solve it all and before we know it, years have come and gone and even though our fitness and health has grossly improved we’re still unhappy with ourselves.
It’s not all about goals either. Say you get an injury that keeps you from being able to do the workout as prescribed and you start thinking that you’re going to fall behind on your fitness. The rest of the class is going to leave you in the dust in terms of progress and then you start trying to push things too soon, again with this idea of there being some “finish-line” at the end of this injury and then everything will be back to normal. That leads to frustration on your part because the Coaches aren’t letting you do “enough” and you start trying to push your recovery because once this injury is better, everything will be great again, or so you think.
Relax. There is no end in sight with your health and fitness. It’s constantly changing, evolving, and will continue to do so over the course of your life. There will be good days and bad days, and the truth is, even if you could eliminate all the bad ones you’d no longer appreciate the good ones, so embrace it all and enjoy the ride!
After going to Roots for almost 7 years, from my perspective things have changed in a way that makes it less stressful and so it is easier in a sense. I no longer get nervous before a WOD–that took almost 5 years. There is deep satisfaction in anyone’s great day–doesn’t have to be mine. The amount of new things to learn is limitless and so stimulating. Still get frustrated and sore sometimes, and I don’t worry about it like I used to. Roots coaching is evolving in a way that is more effective for me. Like Shane said, the point isn’t to reach a prescribed goal, truly, it is the journey. I am so grateful for Nicole’s and Eric’s vision and the fabulous coaching! See you here 20 years from now.
Great piece, Shane. It is so very true that it never gets “easier”. But, my god, there is no limit to how far we can go with this. After all, it’s about work capacity, right? We increase our work capacity (across broad time and modal domains). That continuous and very measurable progress, along with the variety, are big parts of why I keep coming back. Adding in the community of athletes and coaches, makes the whole thing just… amazing. WHy would I ever want graduate from this, or reach “the end”?