10 Things Lifting and CrossFit Taught Me About Myself

Edit:  I am shocked no one has pointed out this is actually 11 things and I messed up the numbering. I just noticed it and my Type A-ness is going crazy, so I had to put in a disclaimer: I can’t count. 

3 1/2 years ago I stumbled across a blog while looking for new vegetarian/vegan recipes.Throughout the years I kept reading as the blogger eventually admitted her vegan/vegetarian lifestyle had been hiding an eating disorder (I could relate), added meat to her diet, and started CrossFitting.

The blogger, Katelyn, published this vlog a little over a year ago. I remember watching her start to cry as she talked about how one day she wanted to compete in the CrossFit Games. I remember thinking “why the heck is she so emotional about lifting weights”? Coming from LA, my only association with females lifting was girls doing light leg press getting ready for bikini or figure contests, which was not something I had any interest in doing. Her emotion sparked a curiosity in me and I had to figure out what had driven my internet sister-from-another-mister to cry from happiness.

After 10 months of lifting on my own and recently joining CrossFit, I understand.  As psychotic as it may make me/her seem, I have definitely got teary eyed before thinking about how much it has changed my outlook on life. Neither running nor swimming have ignited the passion and confidence that lifting has. It’s an emotional process to turn insecurities into self empowerment.

So here are the 10 things I have learned since I started lifting and crossfitting.

1. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

My whole life I have had a fear of failure. I figured if I stayed on the side lines and never stuck my neck out to try something that I knew would be difficult, then I would never really fail. I figured not trying was better than failure. Boy, was I wrong. Trying until you reach failure (or can’t do it with proper form) is essential to lifting and CrossFit. Not sure if you can do it? Who cares, try it anyway. If you can’t, you can’t. The real failure is in never trying.

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2.  Buying a bigger pair of jeans is not a bad thing. 

For the first time since I was 19, I had to buy jeans in a bigger size.  I tried so long to keep that stupid number on the tag the same, watching as my jeans went from slightly baggy at 19 to plastered on as I aged. But squats and lunges helped my legs and butt grow so that they could no longer be contained in those same 19 year old sized jeans. And, I celebrated it. Bigger jeans means building muscle, which means I’m getting stronger and closer to reaching my goals.

2. 1,200 calories should only get you through lunch.

Who came up with that 1,200 calorie number that is THE number to eat if you want to lose or maintain a low weight? After years of obsessively counting calories, I’ve finally forgotten how many calories are in a medium sized banana or 6 ounces of chicken. I’ve learned to listen to my body, understand the foundations of my cravings, and give my body the freedom to have what it needs. And that is a hell of a lot more than 1,200 calories.

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3.”Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent” – Coach Beau.

Practicing will make your actions stick, so make sure you are practicing right.

4. Alcohol isn’t the only thing that can make you feel invincible. 

The feeling of conquering the world that you get from achieving a goal in the gym is addicting.  Many people use liquid courage to feel confident enough to chat up the room or do something they couldn’t do sober. I was one of them. But I’ve found that a good workout can give me that same feeling, without the headache the next morning.

5. Sweating is okay.

As a former competitive swimmer, in a nice cold pool, I have always hated sweating. I tended to avoid things that made me sweat excessively.  After a heavy day of lifting, there are definitely sweat marks surrounding my spot on the floor and it makes me want to make a sweat angel each time.

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   6. Finishing last doesn’t make you a loser if you gave it your all.

 Even if I’m the last one to finish a workout, or the weakest, at least I challenged myself to try it.

7.  Partying isn’t always worth missing sleep.

Missing sleep makes it harder to reach my goals. While it’s always good to have a night out now and then, my 4 nights out a week are a thing of the past.  Most days, I’d rather bust my ass in the gym than bust a move on the dance floor.  Though, let’s be honest, if you’ve ever seen me on the dance floor, you know those squats come in handy.

Image8. Treat your body well and it will return the favor.

Don’t punish yourself by not eating or by working out when you are too tired. Treat your body with respect, love it, and it will accomplish anything you want.

9. The confidence will carry over to other aspects of your life.

The confidence I feel in the gym has helped me try things in real life I never had the courage to do, like interviewing for jobs I thought were well out of my reach, trying out for law school competitions or asking for a raise. I have become more confident in every aspect of my life, not just with my physical abilities.

Image10. Love your body, love your determination, love yourself. 

To quote ‘When Harry Met Sally’: “when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” I feel like over these past 10 months I have finally fallen in love with myself. Unconditionally. I’ve stopped doubting myself. I’ve stopped comparing myself to others. I’ve stopped punishing myself for any little thing I do wrong. I’ve finally become comfortable in my own skin. And I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life feeling this way.

Has working out changed how you feel about yourself ?
What is your favorite way to workout?

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5 thoughts on “10 Things Lifting and CrossFit Taught Me About Myself

  1. Great post! I can totally relate to #1… that’s something I always followed. If I thought I’d fail at it, I wouldn’t even try. Now I love that feeling of having to bail out of a back squat because I went for a PR.

  2. Beautiful post my friend! 🙂
    Everything is SO darn true – especially number one. If you never give it a try, you’ll never know. Who thought I would ever achieve my long distance running goals? If you had told me a year and a half ago that I’d be running a marathon, I would have picked up another cigarette and laughed in your face. Anyway, exercise in general helps me be a better, happier, healthier person and there’s nothing better than a killer workout – in any form. 🙂

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