Of Botox and CrossFit — Part I

I recently read an interesting article about research suggesting that people who had received Botox injections had a harder time being able to process angry and sad statements. According to the article “The study results support the ‘facial feedback hypothesis,’ which states that physical expressions, such as grinning or grimacing, signal our brains to produce an emotional responses. In this case, the Botox injections prevented frowning, and so delayed the perception of negative statements.”

In other grossly over-simplified words, they couldn’t get mad or sad because they couldn’t scowl or frown.

Although I don’t recommend injecting your face with botulism as a form of anger management, the article did get me thinking about CrossFit and my “Fake It ’Til You Make It” philosophy.

 Of course, this is not my own original idea. Like any good philosopher, I stole it from someone else. And like any good philosopher, I’ve conveniently forgotten who that person was. The basic idea is that if you want to be a certain kind of person, then act like the kind of person you want to be.

This the singular most frustrating piece of advice I’ve ever received (or stolen.) It’s frustrating because it almost always works. But despite that fact, I almost never do it. For example, if I wake up tired and cranky but don’t want to be tired and cranky, the simplest thing for me to do would be to act like I’m wide awake and chipper. Unfortunately, I’m usually too tired and cranky to do that. So, instead, I slog through the day, miserable.

What does any of this have to do with CrossFit?

I am not, by nature, an exerciser. I fall more of the “stay-inside-reading-a-book-napping-a-lot-and-then-watch-some-TV” kind of person. But for some reason, I always wanted to be an exerciser. More than that, I wanted to like exercise and be good at it and be in really, really good shape.

It has taken me more than a quarter of my life, but I’m slowly — ever so slowly — moving toward becoming that kind of person. And for the most part, I’ve had to fake it. There are very few moments in my life where I’ve ever thought, “Gee, I’d like to work out right now. And work out really hard. And sweat a whole bunch.” But every sweaty exercising session pushes me ever so slightly toward being someone I’ve always wanted to be. I realize that sounds kinda lame and simplistic, but it is the truth.

 So, tune in next time when I throw in a new wrinkle: fear. And don’t forget to turn that frown upside down. Or whatever annoying, hackneyed phrase brings a smile to your face.