Working for it (by Dana McMahan)


Put a bookworm who took a degree in Psychology in a gym and what do you get? A lot of philosophical pondering about fitness and motivation and satisfaction and maybe an epiphany now and then.

Every time I go to CrossFit I improve in some way over the time before. It’s hugely satisfying to squat more weights or stretch a little further or inch a bit closer to an unassisted pull-up. My inquiring mind wants to know why, though. Why does it matter that I went from squatting 65 pounds Tuesday (which left me feeling the next day like I’d been taken apart and put back together) to 70 on Saturday? Why does that leave me grinning ear to ear and anxious to come home and say to my husband, “guess what I did?!” and thrilled to think about what I can do next time? And I think I figured it out.

Other accomplishments I’ve had in life are based on what I was born with. My parents bestowed my IQ on me, so everything that followed in school is at least partly a result of that. I didn’t earn my smarts. They were just came included — a package deal.

Getting stronger though, becoming more fit — that’s something I’m earning. It’s for sure not something I was born with — puny and awkward as I was growing up. I’m not a natural athlete — nowhere near it. I struggle my way through every single thing I do at CrossFit. I keep going even when I don’t know where it’s coming from. Pushing my way through one last rep on a bench press when my arms feel like nothing but spaghetti, and hearing Ben say “nice recovery” feels like a huge accomplishment. That’s because it is — I know exactly how hard it was and I know that I made it. Not because of anything that I was born with, but because I worked for it. And because I have a coach with an uncanny knowledge of just how far to push me. I thought for sure he’d take the bar from me when my arms wavered and threatened to drop but he let me — he expected me to — keep at it. And the confidence built from something as simple as continuing when I didn’t think I was strong enough is what will fuel me to do more next time.

So keep it coming! I want to see what else I can do.


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