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Growing Your Life Muscles: Lessons from Crossfit Workouts

Updated on February 24, 2012
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© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

As a non-athletic nerd, I’ve always thought that fitness success applied only to athletics or physical activity. Achievement with the body did not translate to accomplishment for the mind because they involved two different instruments. I then started Crossfit workouts, which led to improvements in my middle-aged body.

These achievements also benefited my life muscles, which included work, social relationships and learning. (You can read about my physical efforts in How I Lost Weight and Gained Health with Crossfit Workouts) The following are some of the lessons I’ve discovered from going to the gym.

Consistency is the Key

Newbies come into my Crossfit gym all the time with high physical hopes.

  • They work out faithfully three days a week for about a week.
  • They continue once a week for the next two weeks.
  • And finally they come in once more two weeks later.

They then complain bitterly that even though they've been working out for six weeks, they've shown no progress in losing weight, building muscle or increasing fitness. In that same period of time, others who've been coming in regularly for three times a week have boasted measurable gains.

The only way you're going to achieve a goal is to set a schedule for it and stick with that time consistently. Your current efforts can thus build on previous ones and lay the foundation for future success. If you do things only when you feel like it, your individual acts can never join together to produce something bigger.

Write Down Long Term Goals

At my gym, the trainers encourage everybody to write their long-term fitness goals on the whiteboard. Perhaps it’s running a marathon, dead-lifting double your body weight, or losing 100 pounds. Displaying these declarations for the entire world to see transforms an intangible desire into a concrete goal. Crossfitters can then spend extra time with endurance movements if their goal is running a marathon, or increase barbell exercises if they want to lift heavier.

Write down your ultimate dream on a sheet of paper and place it where you and others can see it. Having this destination allows you to plan what steps it will take to best get there. You can then easily judge if any activities you are currently performing will help you reach success or hinder with obstacles.

But Break It Up Into Little Pieces

Lifting your bodyweight overhead or running three miles are impossible goals for the non-athlete. However, Crossfit makes these actions achievable by emphasizing scalability. This principle reduces movements down until the newbie can perform them.

  • For example, lifting a heavy weight might begin with using a wooden dowel.
  • As you gain more skill, you can move through different sizes of weight bars.
  • Finally, you can add plates to the heaviest bar until you reach your goal.

You can easily reduce your insurmountable goals smaller pieces that are easily achievable. For example, finding the love of your life might begin with joining a hobby club where you can meet suitable dates. Or getting a better paying job as an administrator can start with business classes at your local community college.

Give and Get Support

I’ve come and gone through many gyms over the years because the trainers and other participants have either ignored me, or mocked my fitness efforts. In two years of Crossfit workouts, I have yet to hear an unkind word even if I fail to complete a workout or do a movement incorrectly. Instead, they celebrate even an increase of five pounds in weightlifting. When my inner critic voices his frustrations out loud, more skilled fitness buffs are quick to say that they’ve been there before. They kindly offer guidance and support, encouraging me to do the same for newbies.

You’re going to suffer from enough self-doubt when trying something new. You don’t need to hang out with others who do nothing but bring you down. Find those who can celebrate your victories, or offer constructive lessons if you fail. Spread that support around and help others who are starting toward their destinations. By helping each other out, you can all achieve your goals.

Technique is Everything

New Crossfitters who happen to be young school athletes like to show off by muscling weights into position, such as when hoisting a barbell overhead in the snatch. They usually get tired and reach their weight limits quickly. They then wonder why the middle-aged soccer mom with Crossfit experience can lift for longer periods, sometimes with heavier weights. They don’t realize that she’s learned the proper technique of using her hips to thrust the weight upward, while using the arms simply to guide it into place.

Entrepeneurs who launch businesses with nothing but hope and cash behind them will fail because it takes many other techniques to achieve viability. Learning those skills first, perhaps at community colleges, and then practicing them, perhaps as employees of larger businesses, will increase the chance of ultimate success.

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Great hub in that you broke this down into simple to understand reasons for building slowly but steadily as in all life pursuits. My husband and I have recently joined 24 Hour Fitness and are enjoying it. Good luck with your Crossfit workouts. Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      6 years ago from West Virginia

      These are some great tips Alocsin. I am amazed by your variety of educating hubs my friend. It is always a joy to read and learn through them. Best wishes.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      This is amazing write. Alocsin, you did a great job by comparing the crossfit training to learning some lessons in life. These can be related to anything one does in life. Having a goal, breaking them into smaller goals, consistently working towards achieving those goals, helping others and getting helped in return and using techniques to achieve them.

      This is a wonderful lesson. Sharing this to spread awareness.

      Voted up and useful.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub with practical advice. I almost went with Crossfit, but I chose a cheaper gym with a circuit training program. I may need a trainer to help me with technique, I think you bring up an important point here. I look forward to more of your work out advice.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Good for him! I did the strict paleo diet for about the first month. I'm on a modified paleo diet -- almost now carbs, except for the occasional ice cream, lots of meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 

      6 years ago

      my son is a xfitter and is all about it. are you doing the paleo diet as well???

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      It is so important for people to be encouraged to continue training.

      No matter how little. Anything is better than nothing.

      Remembering why we are doing it, is important.

      For health and fitness. Not to show off on the beach.

      Although that is an added benefit I suppose.

      Nice hub Aurelio. Good to see gym's that treat people as humans.

      Voted up interesting and sharing.

    • Dr.Ope profile image

      Olive Ellis 

      6 years ago

      Interesting! I will forward this to my son. Thanks for sharing.

    • yoginijoy profile image

      yoginijoy 

      6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      I like this hub a lot! Thank you for sharing the tips. I am a runner and have recently begun lifting weights too. I have to say it is a challenge but the results are worth it. Keep up the great work! I am inspired to keep lifting.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Alas, Sunshine625, that isn't me. But I have a Crossfit picture on my Facebook profile.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Working it!! I also thought that was you in the photo! Useful info, I'll share it since weight lifting isn't for me. Informative hub, as always!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      6 years ago from Western NC

      I have lots of friends getting into this. I might just have to try it out, too! Voted up/U/I.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      6 years ago from SW England

      Great hub. Like many things in life, you have to stick to it, put in some effort, have some support and have good instruction; it's all a matter of attitude and aptitude. I don't fancy lifting weights but I do like regular exercise (tennis is my thing!). Voted up & useful.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Yoga can be a very strenuous workout.

    • neeleshkulkarni profile image

      neeleshkulkarni 

      6 years ago from new delhi

      love the connection to entrepreneurship in the end.Being both an exercise freak and an entrepreneur agree with the entire content totally.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 

      6 years ago from United States

      Good hub alocsin.

      Alas, I am not into such extensive workouts...am more of a yoga person.

      but such detailed and motivational text can definitely inspire people. gotta share it with my followers :)

      Thanks!

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Lol, that's not me. I can only deadlift about 155 kg, which is double my bodyweight.

    • profile image

      MP50 

      6 years ago

      Nice lift, what have you got on there? 160 kg or 180 kg? immpressive.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Asia

      Great hub. I think the parts about breaking it down and surrounding yourself with positive people are so true! With the right support, anything is possible.

      Thanks for SHARING.

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