Eleanor Roosevelt and CrossFit
By: Leslie Seymour
It all started last year with a click of a button. Rob, my husband, purchased a deal online for a month at CrossFit Reality. I encouraged his desire to get fit and maybe lose a few pounds as he approached his 50th birthday. I, on the other hand, was just fine. I was in good enough shape. I didn’t need to lose weight. I went to Pilates once, maybe twice a week. Yep, I was just fine for a forty-something mother of two. After all, I had just had a baby, even though that “baby” had somehow become a five year old.
Rob’s first “elements” training session took place after a late night out and quite a few bourbons. I don’t think he knew what he was in for. He came home afterward and described to me in great detail each unbelievable, unthinkable feat he had to perform, and that was just the warm-up. He told me the coach, Paul, pointed out to him where people go to throw up if needed. Clearly this CrossFit thing was not for me.
So began Rob’s addiction to this new world, and along with it came the endless, tiresome report of every single workout. Several months went by and his enthusiasm (and muscles) just grew stronger and stronger and the narratives got longer and longer. He rattled off terms I didn’t understand – WOD, AMRAP, snatch, double unders, blah blah blah….. I rolled my eyes and hardly concealed my boredom with the conversation as I tuned out.
After each lengthy CrossFit dissertation on how difficult it was, how much weight he lifted, how many reps and rounds and sets he did, Rob would say to me “You need to go!” Seriously?!! Really?? I continued to try to convince him that I could NOT do that! There was no way I could do the things he described. Well, Rob being Rob he would not give up, nor would he shut the fuck up about CrossFit!
Then one morning while I was helping out in my son’s classroom a new light was shed on my CrossFit conflict. Each week the class read and discussed a famous quote. That week the quote was by Eleanor Roosevelt, “You must do the thing that you think you cannot do.” Several eager seven year olds raised their hand wanting to tell the class what the quote meant. One boy summed it up, “you have to try to do things you are afraid of. Otherwise you’ll never know if you can do them.” I immediately thought of CrossFit and my negative attitude toward trying it. So with Eleanor’s inspiration and Rob’s persistence I finally did the thing that I thought I could not do!
Eight months later I am still doing the things I think I cannot do at CrossFit and oddly enough I love it. My self-doubts are fewer and fewer as time passes, both in the gym and out. Maybe I was “just fine” eight months ago, but I am so much better now and not just physically. Because there’s one thing about doing CrossFit that you don’t hear about enough – that is that it makes you stronger mentally too. At a regular gym I would mindlessly go through the motions, sometimes while passively watching TV. Now, my mind is engaged in every aspect of the workout, telling my body to keep going, push harder and not give up. CrossFit is powerful training for living one’s life.
I still get detailed reports from Rob on his workout. The difference is that now I am the one asking him “what was the WOD, how was it, how many reps, how many rounds, blah blah blah…..?”