12 August 2014
The Process of Getting Better
In my adult life, I’ve never been very athletic, and as I’ve gotten older that’s taken its toll on me. All that changed about two years ago, when I moved to Seattle and started going to a local CrossFit gym. This was a perk of my new job, and I’m thankful for that, because I’m almost positive I wouldn’t have started going otherwise.
It was extremely hard at first. I remember a few days in that first month when I just dreaded going. I was sloppy, uncoordinated, and quite sore by the end of the day. Ask my wife, she can attest to my hobbling around our house like the old guy in Up.
Despite the dread, I actually started to have fun. I found a few things I was good at, and I found lots of things that I needed to work on. One nice surprise was that because I was starting at a near-zero level of fitness, it didn’t take long to see some noticeable change. Very quickly, I was able to lift more, go faster, and do better than I had when I began.
Now it’s been two years, and I’ve lost about twenty pounds. Twenty pounds in two years? Yep. Nothing to sneeze at, but it doesn’t sound like a lot of progress.
I was a little discouraged with the lack of weight loss at first, but I realized my weight was relocating to more useful areas. Fat around my waist is now muscle in my shoulders. My old clothes don’t fit and I had to drill several new holes in my belt (I eventually bought a new one). People make comments about how I’ve changed, and I’ll admit that feels good!
Also, I’m much stronger. In the past two years, I’ve slowly started to do more and more things that I used to think were impossible. For instance, I went from barely being able to do a single pull-up to doing thirty without stopping.
That’s a fun statistic, but the big realization for me is that with this new strength, I’ve seen a bigger change. Earlier I mentioned that it’s easy to see gains when you start at zero. And that’s the fantastic thing about doing something like this. It’s actually pretty easy to get better at something as long as you apply pressure in the right areas. For example, if you can’t string ten pushups together, try doing pushups a few times a week. You will be doing a couple dozen in no time.
The change I’ve seen in myself has given me confidence and inspiration that if I want to get better at something, if I see a change that’s needed, or if there’s a bit of my future I want to take a hold of, I can do it. I just need to find the time to get better, add that bit of pressure in the right area, and make it happen.
This isn’t over. I still have plenty of weaknesses to whittle away and I have more goals in mind. While it’s important to focus on those, I sure am enjoying the process of getting better.
(P.S. Huge thanks to Dan Lao, my coach at Acuo CrossFit, for shooting these photos.)