Progress, CrossFit and Integrity


Well, guys, I’ve been doing CrossFit for just about 2.5 months. I workout at South Baltimore Strength and Conditioning, and I go four times a week. Just by the picture above, you may be able to tell: CrossFit’s completely transformed my body, and I’m well on my way to being swimsuit – and life! – ready for Miss Maryland USA in just under two months.

But today’s post isn’t about the obvious physical benefits of CrossFit – those can be shared in pictures and numbers and probably don’t need a full post from a non-expert. Today’s post is about integrity: why it’s important for life, workouts, fitness, and how I’ve gained it during my time at SBSC.

At my gym, we often run in 200m spurts; 200m, 400m, 800m, you get the idea. The 200m run is totally visible from the back door of our gym, but the 400m run (and 800m run) require you to round a corner and hit a particular telephone pole before turning to come back.

During those longer runs, I often find myself tempted to walk or turn back before I hit the telephone pole. “Nobody will know,” I bargain in my head, “plus, it’ll make your time a little faster.”

But I would know. My progress would show it. And what’s the point of a faster time if you don’t actually complete the workout?

The same is often true with jump roping, rowing, and kettle bell swings. In a CrossFit class, your coach isn’t counting every single rep — it’s up to you to do the number of reps, report the correct weight, do the full exercise. CrossFit creates an environment where it would be so easy to cheat the workout, and yet, nobody does.

Why? Because CrossFit builds integrity – it teaches you to want to do the workout correctly because it is the right thing to do.  Because the only person who loses when you cheat is you.

Merriam-Webster defines integrity as the quality of being honest and fair. I’ve heard it best described as “doing the right thing when no one else is looking.” More than any other activity I’ve ever attempted, CrossFit builds and rewards integrity.

I remember earlier this year complaining about not being able to lose the weight. I remember being unhappy with my level of fitness, especially because I was “trying.” I remember walking into SBSC and feeling embarrassed as I shared with Sean how much I was actually working out and what I was actually eating.

As embarrassing as it was at the time, being honest about where I was and what I had actually been doing allowed me to start having integrity about my workouts and diet. Acknowledging that, no, I wasn’t actually trying very hard to get my fitness back allowed me to drop the excuses and freakin’ go for it.

You might be in the same boat as I was earlier this year: frustrated with how you feel, discouraged by how you look, unhappy because you know that you are capable of so much more. I want to challenge you to take some time and honestly ask yourself a few questions:

What are my priorities right now? BE HONEST. Where do you invest your time and energy? What do you say yes to? No to?

What do I want my priorities to be? What do you really, really want? What makes you the happiest, very best version of yourself? When you picture the most successful you possible, what does he/she look like? Feel like? How does he/she utilize the hours in their day?

Do my actions align with my words? In other words, are you acting with integrity?Earlier this year, I told people that my health and fitness was a priority, but I chose marathon Netflix binges over going for a run and constantly treated myself to Oreos and chicken nuggets.

If the answer to the last question is no, then it’s time to be honest with yourself. Getting in shape is tough! It doesn’t happen because you wish it would happen, it happens because you work your butt off and don’t quit. It happens because you do the workouts you promise yourself you’ll do and eat in a way that fuels your goals.

How many times have I exclaimed over the last 2.5 months that a workout is terrible? More than I can count. I’ve left the gym, gone home, and laid on the floor while the post-workout nausea subsides on at least ten different occasions. I have cried at least twice in the middle of a workout and even told my coach I couldn’t finish.

But I have never quit.

And more importantly, I have never cheated. I have completed each workout as prescribed (or scaled). Even when it sucked. Even when I wanted to puke. Even when I felt like there was no way in heck I was ever going to finish.

So, early 2015 Jen: you’re not succeeding because you’re not trying. The good news is, in a few months, you’ll figure it out. I promise.

3 thoughts on “Progress, CrossFit and Integrity

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