OK, I confess. For three years, I committed to hating CrossFit. I snubbed the ideology behind it, turned up my nose at the premise of “as fast and hard as you can go.” I judged it, swore the creator would lose millions in lawsuits from injuries due to poor form. I called it a cult, brushed it off as another fitness fad (remember Tae Bo?), and rolled my eyes at the incessant Facebook posts from dedicated Kool-Aid drinkers ... err, CrossFitters.
And then, just as anything else that you hate somehow ends up directly in front of you, a twist of fate knocked me flat on my back with humility, after I stumbled into a box for my first sip of that delicious Cross Fit Kool-Aid.
Immediately, I was hooked.
I started going to the gym (or "the box" as its known in the CrossFit world) as many days as my body could handle, and was enjoying this new style of exercise, away from my yoga mat and with heavy weights in my hands.
Then, as if on cue to disrupt my flow of making peace with CrossFit, my box declared a week of (friendly-ish) in-house competition. Major dilemma! How could a yogi and peacemaker ALSO be a weight-lifting possessed, sweaty, out-to-beat-you, competitor?
I knew how to compete from my former life as an accomplished athlete, but I didn't know how to compete without becoming obsessive and just plain ugly. I imagined the health and yoga community shunning me after hearing that I lost my cool in a silly CrossFit competition, wondering how anyone would ever take me seriously in my yoga classes as I cooed, “Exhale and just be, let it all go ...”
And then, it hit me: This was my ego speaking. See, we typically tie this negative connotation to ego, and especially CrossFit ego, picturing these muscle-bound bodies strutting, half-clothed, and way too absorbed in their weights to accept outsiders. However! My ego showed up in a very different way.
My ego wanted me to validate myself in this competition, to compare myself to all of the other athletes in my box, and to tell myself how I was not good enough and not worthy because I was not the strongest, fittest, fastest. Whoa! What a gift that I was able to see this!
In the lingo of CrossFit, I finally embraced the rule posted on my box's website: "Don’t be a Jerk. There is always someone bigger, faster and stronger than you."
Because I was able to remove judgment and understand that everyone deals with ego issues, I was able to see exactly where it was holding me back, which allowed me to adjust my attitude in order to move forward and compete, peacefully.
You, too, can allow your inflated ego to propel you, if you’ll remove the judgment from it and accept it as a part of life and a path for growth.
When you stop analyzing yourself with frustration, guilt, and fear, you're free to make an emotionally balanced choice about how to proceed.
This doesn't just apply to exercise, this applies to life! We all stumble in our decision-making, but more so when our lens is clouded with judgment. I encourage you to find what pushes your hot buttons; find exactly what inflates your ego, and sit with it. I guarantee, if you simply acknowledge it, then try to understand it, you’ll reveal an answer about yourself that you’d been waiting to learn.
Who knew the CrossFit Kool-Aid was served with a twist of wisdom? For this ego inflation, I am grateful. It helped me to grow.