There were huge wooden boxes everywhere, ropes hanging from the ceiling, people upside down against the back wall and not a weights machine in sight. I was glad I’d come in the evening and not the morning, which I’d heard was much busier. Even with the smaller night crew, I was feeling more than a little intimidated.
I was here to start something I had said I’d never do. Go to CrossFit. Or rather I was at a CrossFit gym to do the slightly lower down on the hierarchy CrossFit boot camp. For boot camp, you need no special training or ‘on ramping’ as they call the classes that teach you how to do the things you do in CrossFit.
I didn’t go looking for the CrossFit life.
The lingo annoyed me, as did the self-assured superiority of CrossFitters, convinced they’d found the be all and end all of fitness and exercise.
Yet here I was completing an AMRAP workout and feeling slightly smug by the end of it.
Three months in
It’s been three months now since that first visit and I’ve become used to the early mornings and the strange combination of constantly feeling tired yet exhilarated at the same time. I’ve developed some much-needed self-discipline, gained a teeny bit of muscle and also learnt some important if corny life lessons.
Breaking a decade long habit
Thanks to boot camp, I’ve realised that things I used to think were impossible were actually just really hard.
Since high school, I’ve always been a night owl. Despite my best intentions, not once in the decade between then and now have I been able to get up early in the morning to exercise.
The ease with which early risers seem to wake up, naturally cheerful and well rested always seemed an impossible fantasy. Now I’m up at 6 on weekdays, ready to go, if not particularly jolly. I’ve loved it some days, hated it many, but not once have I slept in instead of getting up to workout.
There is no such thing as an unbreakable habit or an unchangeable routine. It may be hard, it may take ten years and it may require sacrifice or even help, but it can be done!
Not only have my morning alarm and I become friendlier, but my workouts and I are on better terms as well.
When I first started boot camp, I would pick and choose my workouts. Thanks to the handy app my gym uses, I could go in ahead of time and reserve my sessions based on what exercises each days workouts were made up of. Avoiding the hard days became easy.
As I got stronger and tried new things, I stopped handpicking my sessions. And no matter what the exercise was or how long the workout went, I made it through every one. Some might think of it as what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I tend to enjoy remembering that nothing lasts for ever.
No matter how much it hurts or how bad I feel, in a minute or two (usually less), that particular pain will end. If I’m at CrossFit, that usually means that another kind of pain will begin! But eventually the workout is done and I feel on top of the world.
Nothing lasts forever
This hasn’t only been a mantra for me at the gym. It’s become a much needed reminder in other areas of life. Life gets tricky sometimes. We all at some time or another face challenging seasons, difficult feelings and failure.
When I think back to situations and seasons of my life that have been really hard, they’ve always felt not only painful, but also unbearably long. When people and emotions and difficult choices are involved, there’s never a quick solution, if there is a solution at all.
Yet having come out the other side of situations that felt unendurable at the time, brings me so much hope. There’s been nothing I’ve had to bear that hasn’t at some point or another ended.
As one of my most well-worn books says, ‘The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter’.
There’s an odd kind of comfort in knowing that no matter how deep my emotions are running, it will soon pass.
I know that in the midst of pain, it can seem hard to fathom how you’ll make it through. Yet, I also love holding onto the hope that everything will at some point ‘give way’ and the promise of joy is ahead.
Anna hails from Australia but lives and works in South East Asia. She enjoys travel, good coffee and getting to hang out with awesome people from around the world.
Anna Waite hails from Brisbane, Australia. She enjoys travel, good coffee and getting to hang out with awesome people from around the world!