When I filled out my athlete profile on the CrossFit games site a few years ago there was a box you could check that stated, I have had a life changing experience as a result of CrossFit. This may sound dramatic to some, but for many reading this blog you can probably relate. I can say for sure that my life has changed because of CrossFit. It has changed in many ways actually, but this blog is dedicated to how it has changed my goals and motivation. Which in turn have transformed my confidence and body acceptance.
Growing up I was very active. I participated in sports year round, and was a soccer player and swimmer in high school. In college I continued to stay active by running and going to the gym. However, the goal of working out changed. Now I was solely trying to combat the beer and 2 am pizza trips that became a part of my weekly routine. It was probably around this time that working out became something I felt I had to do so I wouldn’t hate my body. I didn’t dislike working out, but the goal and motivation was always related to keeping my weight in check.
Sometime after college, I became dedicated to living a “healthy lifestyle,” or what I perceived was a healthy lifestyle. This, of course, included lots of cardio and calorie counting! I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and over the course of a year developed a very unhealthy obsession with dieting and exercising. Throughout this period of my life I tried to eat around 1,000 calories and workout for two hours a day. If you are familiar with the app, at the end of the day after you log the food you ate and the amount of exercise you completed a message pops up that says…. “If every day were like today…. You’d weigh ___ in 5 weeks.” I lived for this message. It was like a game everyday to get that number as close to 100 pounds as possible.
During the latter part of this period of time I tried out CrossFit. I was hooked right away. I fell in love with the fast paced workouts and community atmosphere. Soon after joining I started setting goals for myself: back squat 150lbs, run a 5K runder 22:00, get a pull-up, etc. Instead of having goals related to a number on the scale, an inner thigh gap, or a specific size of jeans, I had performance goals. For me, this was life changing! I was so motivated to go to the gym and make progress towards these goals. My obsession with the scale and my weight was being replaced. It was replaced with training and learning everything I could about this new world of CrossFit and fitness.
What took me awhile to come to terms with was that my diet had to change to support these new goals. I learned slowly that I wasn’t going to get stronger if I was in serious calorie deficit daily. This was a hard lesson, that was honestly a journey of ups and downs. I have a clear memory of one day trying to complete a workout with chest to bar pull-ups. Prior to this workout I was able to do them consistently. What changed was this week I was unhappy with the number on the scale creeping up, so I decided to pick up my old diet habits to get that number back down. I wasn’t able to get one chest to bar pull-up. None. My body was so drained and weak from lack of fuel that I wasn’t able to perform. I was so disappointed and frustrated. I knew I had to make a choice. I chose to pursue my performance goals and eat in a way that supported these goals. As I achieved my goals and set new ones my confidence began to grow. Now I was proud of what my body could do when I trained hard and ate healthy. I began to accept my body as it was because it was allowing me to run faster than I ever had and lift weights that I never thought I could. The scale and jean size didn’t seem to matter to me anymore.
Goals are personal, and any goal that keeps you motivated and focused in a positive way is an effective one. I wanted to take time to share my personal journey of how changing my goals from aesthetic to performance increased my confidence and allowed me to appreciate my body.
Now, ask yourself, what are your goals? Why are they important to you? Think about what you need to do to get there, tell your coach, and let us help you reach them.