When I first started CrossFit 4 years ago I was interested in the competition side. I had just watched a local competition and saw jacked dudes that looked better than most of the bros in the gym I was at. And they were doing things I had never seen before like Snatches, Handstand Push Ups, and Ring Muscle Ups.
I was hooked straight away so quickly went about trying some snatches at the globo-gym I was at (City Fitness!!) and walking around on my hands between exercises all while getting looks of disapproval from other members. I watched endless hours of Rich Froning youtube videos, and followed every single Freestyle movement skill progression from Carl Paoli I could find, teaching myself everything from olympic lifts to high skill gymnastics based on videos and what I saw in competitions. I tried every benchmark WOD I could actually do to compare myself to the big dogs, probably with atrocious technique and zero pacing strategy.
After a month or so I signed up for the CrossFit level 1 course running in Auckland, paid my US$1000 to get qualified and bought some plastic rings and hung them up at home so I could practice muscle ups every day until I was able to do them. I eventually found some hours as a CrossFit coach at a new box which gave me access to a proper rig, rings, and bumper plates. I was being harassed about doing olympic lifting in the gym and making holes in the floor so the timing was perfect. I signed up to the CrossFit open with about 3 months of training under my belt and back then there was no Scaled division so I just assumed that whatever they gave you in the workout was standard. You didn’t ask how to scale, you just did it.
Now, I may seem a little crazy to some people. I know I can be rather obsessive about things. But when I look back at what really made a difference for me it was exactly that. I never had a second thought about buying my own barbell and weights or spending $1500 on a qualification I wasn’t even sure I’d use. I didn’t ask “is this the right drill for me” or complain that I didn’t have the gear I needed. I didn’t pay any attention to people’s “opinion” of CrossFit. I didn’t wait until I found the perfect gym and the perfect program that would fit my goals. I just did what I could do with what I had.
The thing is that I never wondered what might happen if I didn’t succeed. I was always driven by a need to compete and the enjoyment I got from trying and learning new things. It never occurred to me that I might fail to get to the Games, it wasn’t ever really an option. I didn’t wait for the conditions to be perfect; the perfect training program, the perfect coach, the perfect gym. They don’t exist in my opinion. The harshest environments create the most resilient organisms. Or in the words of my childhood hero Bruce Lee “Do not pray for an easier life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
What matters most drives you. It’s what will allow you to dig deep when things get hard. It’s what makes you not accept failure and find another way. It’s what will keep you up late at night and get you up early in the morning. It is the difference between just doing enough and doing everything you can. And when life demands your attention it keeps you focused.
So think about what you want and then consider why you want it.
What matters most to you?
What drives you?
Why do you do what you do?
If you can answer that then you’re on the right track. Or maybe you’ll end up making your own path.