When the Atheist Wife and I have kids, there are a lot of things I want to teach them. To be kind, to be honest, to love unconditionally, to lift others up instead of beat them down. I also want to teach them that they can do anything, that nothing is beyond their abilities and that all it takes is hard work and dedication. I want to teach them that, but first I have to learn it myself.
I’m not sure when I started thinking that I had limitations, but I know that I wished I didn’t feel that way every day since then. Somewhere along the way, the message went from “You can do anything” to “That’s not for you.” I’m still trying to figure out what it was that triggered this? Was it the weight? Was it puberty? Was it being in the closet? Was it me? Or was it the people around me? The reasons really don’t matter, though. What matters is that now I’m changing the story.
Crossfit and Revolute Movement Academy are the way I’m doing that. I could not have picked a better challenge, honestly. In every workout, through every movement, my brain tells me “I can’t do it.” All around me are people telling me to keep going, to do just one more and that “you can do it.” The coaches and other corssfitters are a huge source of strength not just because of what they are saying, but because they believe what they are saying.
For instance, I did my very first full crossfit workout on Saturday. I did Fran. Any crossfitter knows that Fran sucks. It is a 21-15-9 workout, meaning the first round is 21 repetitions of whatever movements are set, then the second round is 15 repetitions and finally 9 repetitions. Fran is a 21-15-9 of thrusters and pull-ups. I can’t do pull-ups (yet!) so I did ring rows, basically pull-ups with feet on the floor and leaning back while holding the rings. I had a 10 minute time cap.
10 minutes? Sounds easy! Until you do it. Thrusters are a squat and then pushing the bar above your head in a press. Imagine squats where you throw your hands up in the air above your head, only you’re holding a barbell over your head. Still sound easy? Let me know how you go.
Now I’m an overweight, sedentary couch potato. Three or four reps in to the first round of thrusters and already I’m thinking, “I can’t do this.” Seriously, three reps is all it took for me to start thinking that. Three reps! It’s a horrible feeling. That feeling, more than any physical pain, is what I had to fight against in this workout. I managed to do it and afterwards I felt like a superhero.
There’s nothing you can’t do! No matter what your brain or people around you say, you can do it. You want to write a book? Sure! You want to blog? Sure! You want to live your entire body weight over your head and walk on your hands? You can absolutely do it! It’s going to take work, but that work is part of you doing it.
Fran was my first workout. I don’t feel like a crossfitter yet. One workout does not a crossitter make. But I’m still doing crossfit. That workout, with just a barbell and my easy version of pull-ups, is crossfit. I am doing something I never thought I could do. And it feels amazing!
I want my kids to have that feeling. I want them to take that feeling for granted. When someone tells them they can’t do something, I want them to know that they can if they put in the work to accomplish it. Other people may tell them negative things, but I don’t want their own head to echo those thoughts. It is easier to fight against other people than it is to fight against yourself.
Am I also doing this because I want my kids to think I’m a superhero? Yeah, that, too.
I will be Mr. Incredible.