Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
This too is common advice in the CrossFit world and it isn’t simply referring to the discomfort of training (although that’s a big part of it). It refers to how CrossFit is, compared to most gyms in the world, a radically different experience. In CrossFit, it’s not like going to an LA Fitness (like I used to) where you proceed to workout cloaked in anonymity. Walk into a CrossFit gym and you are going to be learning the names of everyone else. (One thing I’ve found astonishing about training at CrossFit gyms—the coaches learn your name instantly. At Elysium, I watched this happen with me and also with any other newbies. I have yet to hear a coach say, “I’m sorry, what was your name again?” I once did a Wednesday night workout at San Francisco CrossFit and Adrian Bozeman—well known in the CrossFit universe as a coach and a CrossFit Games referee—was leading the workout. Bozeman had coached the previous class and he’d have one more group after us. During the warmup he came up and introduced himself and I said, “I’m T.J.” An hour later I thanked him and he said, “Nice meeting you T.J.!” How the hell did he remember that?)
The point: In CrossFit, you’re going to be meeting people and getting to know them. Ultimately you’ll find yourself being cheered on by them, or you’ll be cheering them on. In a two-year period where I was a member of LA Fitness I didn’t learn anyone’s name—trainers, other members, the woman at the juice bar. One of the rare interactions I had with a trainer occurred when I asked one for a body-fat test that was part of my membership. Except for asking my age and weight she didn’t say one word to me—just had me grip a device that spilled forth a number moved on with her life. This will not be your experience in CrossFit, I promise you.
Back to the part about training discomfort: yes, this is also what I mean. I think one of the reasons I like CrossFit is that it reminds me of the days I trained for the 400 and 800 in high school track. Each workout blasted me with anaerobic stress—there would be pre-workout dread and post-workout glee. Same with my workouts at CrossFit Elysium. To my mind it’s one of the best things about CrossFit. In this bizarre world where we’re constantly blanketed by marketing promises that try to convince us that what we need is more comfort, more ease, more air conditioning, more television—I have found the back-to-basics no frills world of CrossFit so deeply welcome in my life that I can’t imagine ever not doing it. And yes, because the workouts are both high-intensity and constantly changing you never get comfortable with them. This is not your daily 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer, let me tell you. But the value is that it helps you build (or re-build) mental toughness that modern day life strives to drain out of you.