Tough WODs are like tough days – you just want them to be over, they can be very frightening and dang it, they just hurt. A few months ago, during a time of transition from school and relocation, I saw my naturopath, Dr. Judy Lee. Aside from reporting my vitamin and supplement intake for my overall check up, we chatted about happiness, stress management and various aspects of life. Hammering out my hidden health habits, Dr. Lee quickly became not only a doctor, but also a coach. A fellow CrossFitter at Crossfit West in Santa Cruz, she reminded me, “When things get tough in life, use your WODing skills.” So what exactly did she mean?
In the literal sense, when we go to the gym, it stimulates a multitude of positive health benefits that can impact our lives. WODing can improve mood, boost self-esteem and energy and even spark up our sex lives (there are studies on this!). But most of us already know these benefits. She wasn’t focusing on the physiological elements – she was touching on the psychology of WODing.
It might sound mushy gushy, but she has a point. Just like digging deep to finish a WOD, on a deeper level, Dr. Lee was also talking about pushing through the pain in all aspects of our lives. From the commonly overlooked stressful moments such as traffic to tough times in a relationship, we perform WODs every day. Not convinced? I’ll give you some examples: wanting to give up on the last round of a WOD, but pushing through could be holding yourself back and not saying that rude comment when we’re angry; afraid to take on Fran can be talking to your intimidating boss. Although WODs hurt and we want the torture to end, we can push through these types of exercises too one movement at a time.
If we think about how long and hard the WOD is going to be, it can become intimidating, however, if we think about each piece separately, it becomes bearable and we often find a sense of accomplishment. Dr. Lee’s approach to WODing in real life can help us in many difficult situations, even in some of the hardest moments of our lives. A break up in a long-term relationship is lasting through Murph. Death of a loved one can be related to a team WOD – you find that having someone by your side pushes you when you didn’t think you could go on any longer. As Crossfitters, the victory comes we realize we are stronger than we know. We set personal records in getting through the day we didn’t think we could manage. We reach new heights of ourselves, in that heavy conversation we thought we couldn’t though, that tough decision we thought we couldn’t make or that difficult day we didn’t know we could conquer.
Let us take our CrossFitting skills outside the box and remember that not only are we building physical stamina, we’re also strengthening our mental and emotional selves. There are days we go all out on a WOD – that is the same as the days we feel our best out in the world. But if we go hard every day, just like at the box, we face burnout. Let us allow ourselves those “scalable” days – push-ups on the knees can be responding to ten emails instead of twenty (hey, you still did something). Stretch your mind with new hobbies and take time to rest. Push yourself harder by sticking up for yourself or others when it’s something worth consideration. In those moments you just need to take a breath, do it without shame then get back to that WOD and finish strong. Just like at the gym the world is just happy you’re here.