Rarely do I have the desire to take the time to post a success story on somebody I either do not know or have never trained myself.
Josh’s story was one I thought could be different. About 6 weeks ago, CrossFit Central made a switch in our programs to offer our Advanced Athlete classes in the early mornings at our downtown gym. With that switch, several athletes that I coached switched over to the new program and many others who were not in my class moved from Jessica Estrada’s Co-ed program over to mine.
After I met Josh for our first one-on-one assessment, he shared with me a bit about his military experience and the fact that he had lost about 50 lbs over the past year by using CrossFit as a fitness program.
What I have noticed about Josh is plain and simple…he is motivated to do the right things for the right reasons based around his belief system.
I am excited for his success to this point and looking forward to see where he goes from here!
I started CrossFitting sometime in the first quarter of 2013 — I believe March or April of last year. I came to CrossFit Central because of its good reputation overall and friendly atmosphere. You get some places that seem to overdo it on the phony bravado. I’ve never seen that at Central. I have had the good fortune to benefit from the tutelage of Jessica Estrada, Lucy Shellito, and now Michael Gregory.
When I started at Central I was 37 years old, 230lbs, ate fast food at least once and frequently twice a day. Lots of sugar in my coffee, and I burned through maybe two or three pots during the workday. I forget the exact percentages from my most recent body comp, but I’m somewhere in the “normal human male” range now.
People get fat and weak for a lot of different reasons, not all of which are under their control. A lot of people have good excuses for it. But in my case, I did not: the reality was that I was just lazy and ate too much Tex-Mex. The big result I’ve seen in the past 14-16 months is not really physical, though that’s been tremendous — I started at about 230lbs, and am now in the 185lbs-190lbs range — but mental. A commitment to CrossFit for a guy like me is not so much about physical improvement as it is about internalizing self-discipline. When that alarm sounds at 4:30am, I know I have two choices: I can be the guy who sacks in for another couple of hours and then enjoys three or four donuts, kolaches, or tacos — in other words, the guy I’ve been most of my life — or I can be the guy who gets up, gets humbled and spent at the WOD, and begins the day with more exertion and effort than most people clock in all week.
There are two things in this that bear emphasis. The first is that word humbled, versus humiliated. There’s a difference. Humiliation is negative, destructive, and usually the result of one’s own poor attitude. Humbling, on the other hand, is positive, and stems largely from an understanding that pain and difficulty are schools for your own betterment — if you decide to accept them as such. Being humbled means that when your limitations are made plain to you and to others — and there’s no hiding it when I’m struggling to complete a WOD that others are apparently handling with alacrity — you draw fortitude and inspiration from that, rather than succumb to defeat and despair. The consequent resolve to press on is not really about a desire to improve as such: it is in fact the heightening and sharpening of the plain will to live.
The second thing is that the instilling of internal self-discipline is the first and inescapable step toward self-governance as Texans and Americans have traditionally understood it. I won’t get political here, but suffice it to say that once upon a time, this country was built by men and women who woke up in the mornings and said to themselves, “I’m going to make a home in a wilderness where it is unsafe, uncertain, and unrestful.” Their children and grandchildren ventured abroad in that same spirit. It was the possession of that spirit — of that ability to self-govern even in stress and tumult — that made democracy possible. A self-governing society is an emergent property of self-governing individuals. I’m not saying CrossFit is the only way to get people like that. I’m saying it has helped me be a person like that.
CrossFit has reminded me of things I ignored: not least that it is far better for the soul and character to be a small man among giants than a giant among small men. Though I have benefitted greatly from CrossFit, I am nevertheless, after barely a year, still a below-average performer at pretty much every WOD in my own view. But as Browning wrote, “[A] man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”
Since starting CrossFit, my days outside of the gym are more structured and less haphazard. My goal right now is to keep up and start posting competitive times and weights with my classmates. I’m not there yet. On the other hand, it’s within sight. A year ago, I could do maybe ten pushups. Now I could pass an Army Physical Fitness Test — not smashingly, but a definite pass. That’s a huge change. My motivation comes from the realization that the choice to act, or not to act, is definitional. What you do is who you are.