Back in the day when I sold books door-to-door for kicks and giggles and college beer money, they told us at sales school that it takes three weeks to form a habit. They meant 21 days. And although I haven’t gone to CrossFit 21 times in the past month, as of today, I have been going regularly for three weeks or a total of nine times. So, for my purpose, what I’ve got here is a habit.
Still, nine times obviously does not make me an expert in the world of CrossFit. But it does bring to mind a few tips I wanted to share for other newbies who decide to give this whole fitness thing a whirl. Here are my top three:
- Pace yourself. I’ve done this for three weeks now, and I’m still slow. I don’t like that I’m slow. It’s frustrating. I want to be instantly in shape because I’m an American, and it’s my unalienable right to have everything right now. But even worse than being slow would be passing out in front of everyone if I tried to keep up with the rock stars who have been at this for months. Maybe someday I too will achieve rock-star status. For now, I’ll stick to the pace that revs up my heart rate but doesn’t make me puke. You’re probably faster than I am, but no matter where you’re at physically, make sure your pace is right for you.
- Know why you’re here. On days I do CrossFit, I wake up with a mixture of excitement and dread, and those two emotions usually duke it out for most of the day until it’s time for me to partake in the W.O.D. During the times when dread has won a few rounds, I have to remind myself why I’m subjecting my body to this. It’s true that I like to test my limits and know just what I’m capable of, I also have very specific goals that I want to achieve each day and week and month and for the rest of the year. So when I start having arguments with myself about why I shouldn’t go work out, I start listing off what I want out of this whole experience and why. And mostly, it’s effective.
- Lie to yourself. Sometime last week, the W.O.D involved three or so rounds of 100 jump ropes each round. Jumping rope as a kid was fun. This was not. By the time I got to the final round, the only way I could finish was to promise myself I’d never have to jump rope as long as I lived. My brain knew this wasn’t really true, and my body knew it wasn’t really true, but at that point, I was just telling it what it wanted to hear. I got done with the workout and about five minutes later, forgot how much it’d sucked. Mostly.
Here’s to the next three weeks. … Well, here’s to W.O.D. No. 10. Pacing myself. …