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Hitting Reset After an Off Workout

May 9, 2018

Normally, I love Monday mornings.  I view them as the start of something great.  It sounds corny, but I genuinely do.  Occasionally, it goes a little differently than I visualize.  This past Monday was one of those days.

It started okay.  I was tired because I hadn’t slept well, but I knew a good breakfast would help.  My breakfast is always planned and prepped ahead of time and packed with plenty of healthy protein, fats and fruit.  With my breakfast on autopilot, I can focus on my morning routine.  After my gratitude, watering the garden, writing my Blueprint and going over my schedule, I was ready to hit the gym.  If you have been following me at all, you know I live a CrossFit lifestyle.  When I was younger, and during my service in the Army, I was a runner.  Years of running takes a toll on the body, and I was lacking muscle and strength so to my great joy, my caveman, Vic, introduced me to the world of CrossFit.  

Three weeks ago, we changed to a new CrossFit box, CrossFit Rappahannock, and have had to up our game.  I think I’ve uttered the words, ‘Everyone is so strong here,’ 1000 times in the last three weeks. It’s been inspiring, and—to be honest–intimidating. I want to surround myself with strong, capable people.  Not just at the gym, but also in life.  I want to be around others who continually challenge themselves.  And at our new box, I got my wish! 

​So, Monday morning, I’m headed to the gym.  Normally, I look at the workout and decide my weights ahead of time but I haven’t been doing a great job of that at the new gym.  Why?  Because I was too busy gawking at everyone else’s weights!  
 
I’m guessing you know how this is going to end.  My workout felt terrible.  I remember at one point asking myself if I was really cut out to do CrossFit. This isn’t too unusual during a WOD.  My friend, Tracey, and I have discussed the jumble of thoughts that go on during a CrossFit workout.   It begins with excitement and nerves.  When you are just under half way through, you consider faking an injury, and finally when it’s over, you feel exhilaration and pride.  But that’s the beauty of pushing yourself in the gym, and in life.  When you get through it, even though it was really tough, you feel proud of yourself and have a big win to celebrate.  

I may or may not have cried on the way home, rethinking my entire life in the span of four minutes. Don’t even pretend I’m alone here. I know you’ve done it too.  I know I’ve done a million times.  Fortunately, I have the ability to pause (once I catch myself) and allow the momentum of that hurricane of emotion to lose speed. I came to my senses by the time I walked into the house, but I knew something had to shift.  I was too focused on everyone else, and their strength and abilities.  And it felt awful because I saw myself only as lacking. 

Enough of that, right? I know I’m pretty darn amazing!

So now what?

I began by putting on music that lifts me up.   Change your energy and change your emotion, right?  Yes!  That helped. I grabbed my log book and put my numbers into the app that tracks my workouts…and realized that I had a 5 lb. PR (personal record) on one of my most challenging lifts.  

Say what?  

So let’s review: I cried and wanted to change my life because everyone else was so strong AND I lifted more than I have ever lifted before?  As soon as I saw the little PR symbol on the app, I started to laugh. And gently lecture:

“Jennifer, how about you focus on how strong you are instead of how much stronger everyone is? Hmm?”

I made a pact in that moment.  An agreement with myself to focus on my own power and abilities.  Do you see this little book right here, my log book?  It doesn’t say ‘Jen Duff, person who shows up but really has no business doing CrossFit.’  It also doesn’t say, ‘Jen Duff, quitter when things are challenging.’  

It says, ‘Jen Duff, athlete.’  Because that’s who I am. I am an athlete.  And athletes train.  Athletes fall down, and get back up.  Athletes grow.  Athletes choose to treat themselves as athletes.  

I took a day off to play and relax with the caveman, and went back with a much different mindset on Wednesday.  I had my goals written in my book, and absolutely crushed them.  I did 50 pull ups in the workout.  Did you hear me?  50!  In the workout!  Me!?! 

And then, (my mom loves when I say that because she knows something amazing is going to follow), I jumped on a 24-inch box.  I’m used to 20 inches but often step up instead of jumping.  Well not today!  Not only did I jump on this box but after I fell and bruised up my shin, I kept going.  I was capped (time ran out before I could finish the workout) but I left the gym that day feeling like a superhero.  I was so proud of myself.  I knew that I had just accomplished something more difficult than I had ever done before. I did it.  The same person who left the gym only two days before, crushed by my own lack of ability came out of that same building walking just a little bit taller.  And proud! It’s not often that we really give ourselves the chance to be proud.  Wow, what a feeling!

I hope that you can see yourself in my story.  I hope this lifts you up, even just a little, to push forward with a new, improved mindset for a challenging task.  But you’ve read this far so I’m not just letting you go without a call to action. 

  1. Remember to celebrate your wins and be proud of yourself. Not just a little, shy, shucks proud but standing up taller and feeling it in every cell of your body kind of proud. 
  1. Records equal results. No matter if you are tracking your workouts, your food, your money, your energy throughout the day, or how a relationship makes you feel, it works.  If you write it down, you change.  And just knowing where you are helps you take one small baby step towards where you want to be.  When I have clients record their food, they make better choices.  It just happens, so trust the process and track what’s important to you.
  1. Learn how to shift your energy. Is it music? Is it a check-in with your coach?  Is it looking at old wins?  Pay attention to when you feel amazing and make a list of what helped you to get there. That’s your Game Changer list! Use it to shift your energy when it’s time to move from down to hopeful to spunky and energized.  There’s nothing wrong with sitting in frustration and sadness. In fact, it’s important to pause and feel what you feel. And there comes a time to move to action, and shifting your energy will get you there.
  1. Have an off day? Get curious!  And learn. Take some time to look at what happened and decide if you want it to stay that way, or if you are willing to do change.  Sometimes it’s a physical action, like running an extra 15 minutes a day to improve your cardio.  Other times it’s a perspective issue like mine was today.  Don’t assume you know until you take some time to sit with it.  Be gentle. Be loving.  Speak to yourself as though you were speaking to your daughter, your best friend, your mom.  If you wouldn’t say it to them, don’t say it to yourself.

When you are ready for support, I’ve got your back!  Together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish!

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