Challenge & Change

I enjoy many things, and one of them is exercise. You might even call me an exercise enthusiast. Yes, it’s true. I get excited by some workouts and consider it fun to exercise on vacation. After doing track in college, and weightlifting in the gym for years after, I wanted to try something different. A little over a year ago, I started CrossFit.

Last night, as I stood in front of a barbell, about to start the WOD (workout of the day), a thought occurred to me: CrossFit is hard. 

Let’s back up a second. Jumping back a month-ish, I was feeling confident and excited about my fitness journey. God has helped me SO much. I was noticing improvements and enjoying the workouts. Keep in mind that the workouts around that time were focused on some of my strengths.

A few weeks ago, the training focus shifted at our gym. We went from a lot of body-weight movements and longer conditioning workouts to squat training and Olympic lifts. Changing training focus is important because it challenges participants and helps them develop as well-rounded athletes.

When I heard about the new cycle, I was excited. I enjoy squats and want to improve the amount of weight I can lift. I also want to improve my snatches and jerks, which are Olympic lifts. Both snatches and jerks are current weaknesses of mine, but I’m hoping they won’t stay that way.

Now that the stage is set, let’s get back to last night. There were three movements in the workout: deadlifts, overhead squats (squatting while holding the bar in a wide grip overhead), and a variation of snatches. Overhead squats and snatches are both movements I need to improve, which means they challenge me in workouts.

The clock counted down. It was almost time to begin. The temperature was high, I was sweaty, and my hands were prepped with chalk. When the workout started, I paced myself through the deadlifts. I performed the first set of OH squats, etc.. I think it was during that first round that I debated shortening the workout and not doing as many sets as prescribed. I was tired and probably dehydrated. Besides, would anyone really notice?

Something I’ve learned through my fitness journey: Don’t give yourself the option to quit. If you’re hurt, or recovering from an injury, that’s a different story—you should listen to your body & your physician. If you’re thinking about quitting because the workout is hard, don’t. If you let yourself quit when a workout gets hard, you may find yourself quitting often, because the truth is: improving physical fitness IS hard. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Challenge brings change?” or “Challenge yourself to change yourself?” When it comes to exercise, challenging ourselves helps push our bodies to the next level.

Last night, I didn’t quit. I don’t want to set the precedent for myself that it’s okay to quit when the workout is challenging. I did take some breaks along the way, but I finished. I realize that if I want to get better, I need to practice areas where I’m currently weak, so the weakness can be replaced with strength.

Maybe you like exercise but are struggling to see improvement. Challenge yourself. Maybe you don’t like exercise but are looking to improve in your job. When challenges come, don’t shy away. Work through the challenges and find solutions. Next time that same situation arises, you’ll know what to do, having faced it before.

It’s okay to ask for help. Whether it be learning a new physical skill, or facing a challenge at work, you can seek guidance from those who have already conquered what you are facing.

God is the ultimate Coach, Teacher, and Counselor. He knows us inside and out, and He is always there. He gives me strength to make it through difficult workouts, provides wisdom in complicated situations, and teaches me how to do things I don’t know how to do. He is truly the best, and He wants to be a part of every aspect of our lives. 

No matter what challenge you are facing, through Christ Jesus, you are never alone.


***Please consult your physician before starting a new exercise program. Also, it is important to stay hydrated. Consider drinking water throughout the day and during workouts to help keep your body hydrated.***

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