A Change of Pace: Adjustments in Training, Nutrition, and My View of CrossFit
As my second CrossFit Games Open has started, I’ve been reflecting on the changes that have happened in the last few months and over the last year of training since my first Open in 2017. There have been several changes in my training, nutrition, goals, and mentality towards it all.
It all began to change this summer when CrossFit announced that there would be no such thing as Regionals from this point forward. I didn’t believe it at first. I thought there’d be enough uproar that they’d go back on their decision and change their mind. Regionals is what I’d been working for once I realized that it could become a real possibility if I put in the work. So after the announcement, I had to reevaluate why I was training CrossFit in the first place. I came to the conclusion that, over time, training had become centralized around making a name for myself as an athlete with homes of becoming sponsored and making it a full time job. I wanted to be known and recognized. I wanted to be elite, stemming from a place of lack that I never quite “made it” in NCAA gymnastics that I had always wanted. In an attempt to fill the voids of my past, I put all of my heart into CrossFit – overtraining, undereating and restricting to become as lean as I could, and attempting to control every single variable in my power to make that dream a reality. Don’t misunderstand me when I explain this, putting your heart into a dream is not necessarily a bad thing, but there needs to be boundaries that help you to promote a holistic and healthy LIFE (that’s the part I was missing).
Once I came to terms with where my heart truly was, I shifted my attitude and beliefs about training. CrossFit and nutrition became a supplement to my life. I removed the pressure for immense success and replaced
it with the love of the sport. I became mindful in my day to day routines instead of mindlessly grinding away, crossing off the days, anxiously awaiting this end result that I wasn’t even sure would happen. To clarify, changing my mindset towards training wasn’t just a cop out to give up on my goals (I had to convince myself of that as well). Changing how I viewed this aspect of my life brought me peace and a sense of groundedness that I hadn’t had in about a year. I was promoting holistic wellness within myself instead of fulling dedicating my time only to my physical fitness.
As far as nutrition, I’m no longer on a constant ‘cut’ (so yes, I’m not as lean but I’m also not starving all the time either). I’m learning to understand that my body will ebb and flow, just like my training cycles. Although it’s taking some mental adjustment to understand that I’m not going to necessarily be the leanest machine with an 8-pack at all times, my performance in the gym has increased dramatically because I’m fueling myself for my goals.
I’ve also diversified my sport. I just competed in my first powerlifting competition. After only training for 6 weeks (twice a week might I add) and getting thrown in at the last minute, I came in 2nd place, PR’d all my lifts, and met my goal total (>800). I met some awesome people and was immersed into another community of people pushing each other to be their best selves. If I hadn’t loosened up the reigns on my CrossFit training, I may have never agreed to do this meet, especially because it fell on the first week of the Open. But I am SO glad I did.
All in all, I’m so much happier now. Being forced to reassess my ‘why’ with a hard, cold reality check was exactly what I needed. Do I still want to be elite in my sport? Yes. Would I like to qualify for a Sanctional event? Absolutely. But is my identity wrapped up in those things? Not so much any more. It’s a process, and it’s difficult to tease apart yourself from something you love so much. But I’m even more so dedicated to my holistic self and being purposeful in the process. Taking a step back has allowed me to build more intentional community around myself and share more about Jesus. I’m not just showing up for me anymore on this selfish endeavor, but rather show up within the group of people where God’s placed me. There is SO much more fulfillment in the big picture than the myopic redundancies of the routines that only build up yourself.
I charge you this: what’s your why? What keeps you going and why do you do it? Do your goals build up others or just yourself? And are you truly being the most well YOU you can be?