Sometimes it feels like I’ve been in training for decades. I guess in a way I have although I haven’t always known what it is I’ve been training for. I know that every step (and misstep) I’ve taken is what has led me to where I am today. Each new day I am the accumulation of everything I’ve done, or thought or dreamed up to that point in my life.
When I was studying Taekwondo I was always in training for the next belt testing. The march from white belt to my fourth degree black belt took many years but there was always a goal to strive for. Along the way there were tournaments to compete in, new martial arts like escrima and ju-jitsu to experience, and challenges like concrete breaking to give focus to the training.
After Taekwondo there was cardio kickboxing and the intense workouts I taught for many years. Kicking, punching and sweating to loud music just went so well together and in the process my fitness level increased. The goal was always to be fitter than anyone else coming to my classes. It was more pushups, more situps, more squats, whatever it took to stay on top.
Then I was introduced to Crossfit and my fitness world shifted into a whole new dimension. I immediately discovered that my level of fitness was drastically below where I’d believed it to be. I had my ass handed to me on a platter. Always up for a new challenge I jumped in with both feet, going to every class and working to capacity each time. I was training harder than ever and seeing gains I didn’t think were possible. I got certified and soon I was coaching.
I’ve always migrated to positions of responsibility and enjoyed being able to use that role to help others achieve their goals. Crossfit was no different and I loved the coaching. And still I trained. My frequency increased and despite the hours put in I never felt I had come close to my potential. And that is the secret of Crossfit, no matter how well you do, there is always the feeling that if you could just fine tune your technique or increase your strength, then you could improve your performance. It doesn’t matter if you are struggling with a modest weight or lifting huge amounts, there is a wonderful motivation right there in front of you every day. Can you go faster? Can you lift more? Can you keep going longer without slowing down?
Crossfit even offers a gigantic competition that allows you to see how you compare to your age group from around the world. The Open Games says here is our level planning field, are you willing to step on it and see what you can do? Do the same workout as other athletes and see how you rank. After 5 weeks find out if you are good enough to move on to actually compete face to face with your athletic peer group. There are Regional Games and from that incredibly talented pool of competitors only a couple will make it to the top level and compete in the World Games.
I’m in the old guys category but to give them their due, these are a pretty fit bunch of old guys. And it appears that I am too because I’m in the top 20 from around the world and will be competing against my peers in L.A. in July. It is exciting and scary at the same time but I will simply go down and do my best. No matter what happens I’ll be proud of myself for trying. If I come in 20th I’ll still be glad I did it. I am so lucky to be surrounded by an amazing group of people who have cheered me on through the Open Games and given me their encouragement as I made it through. If I do better than 20th it will be because of their love and support because there is the intangible part of the training. The spirit that can be passed on by genuinely caring about how well another person is doing is so powerful in our gym that I will be taking a massive dose of that support with me.
So now I’m training even harder and trying to be more focused. In less than two months I’ll be there. Hopefully I’ll be ready and able to give 100 %. Until then I’ll do more, lift more, attempt to improve every technique. I’m training again with a purpose, to simply be better. And then it will be over and life will return to normal. I’ll still be training, trying hard to improve my lifts and my cheering on my fellow athletes in our gym, helping them to reach their own goals.
Within the Crossfit community I am delighted to be able to share in that common goal and make it my own. I just want to be better.