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Are you having fun?

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Are you having fun?
I’m going on the record. You can hold me to it. If you want to have a successful fitness program for the long haul, having fun is the most important thing you can do.
What!? Fun!? Did I get hit in the head with a barbell today? What about nutrition? What about technique? What about intensity? Yes, those things are important as well, but you’re much more likely to work harder, care about deadlifting with a flat back, and forgo that piece of cake if you’re fitness program is really fun.
Consider this:
Teams of two, 5 rounds each
400 meter run
15 power cleans (65/95)
10 bar over burpee

In this workout, you run more than a mile, pick up 4875/7125 pounds from the ground to your shoulder, fall to the ground, get up and jump over the bar 50 times. At the end, once you catch your breath and get up off the floor, you will high-five your partner and go do some extra ab work. Fun.

Now consider this: you order two tons of large river stones to decorate your yard and the delivery driver mistakenly dumps it on a driveway three houses down. How much fun is it going to be to move that 4,000 pounds of rock over to your house so your angry neighbor can park his car? Are you going to go as fast as you can, work until the sweat is dripping off you and then high-five your neighbor when you drop the last rock on your lawn? Afterwards are you going to feel like running a mile, do 50 burpees over rock, and then do some ab work? Not fun.

People like to do fun things. We don’t seem to care if those things are hard as long as they’re fun. But hard things that aren’t fun? Don’t you have enough of those in your life already?

At some point we all fell in love with Crossfit. We were filled with the exuberance of a difficult WOD, shared with others. We were elated when body and mind came together and we felt for the first time the right-ness of our first really good clean or when we got our first double under or rope climb. Whatever it was for you, do you remember the joy and sense of accomplishment?

But sometimes, after a while, we simply forget to have fun and suddenly, the workouts we once loved become an obligation—a grinding daily task that needs to be endured.

I know this because it happened to me. I love Crossfit and yet a while ago, I realized I was just grinding out workouts and not having fun anymore. I had developed some bad habits that killed the fun for me and might be killing the fun for you.

Bad habit #1: Working out alone. When we used to have separate workouts for competition, I did most of these extra-long workouts alone in the gym. After a while, it was boring. The workouts became merely a chore. Not fun.

Working out alone doesn’t always mean being in the gym by yourself. If you come to class, but never speak to anyone, you are essentially working out alone. Talking to others and sharing in the camaraderie of a hard WOD is uplifting and motivational. It makes you want to come back tomorrow. When I joined classes again the difference was amazing.

Bad habit #2: Self-criticism. At some point, I stopped appreciating how far I had come with Crossfit. The only thing I seemed to notice were my goats. If I PR’d my clean but not my snatch, I thought only about my snatch. It didn’t matter that I had only been Olympic lifting for a couple of years, I wanted perfection and PRs. Nothing sucks the joy out of lifting faster than that kind of attitude.

If you find that you are more frustrated than elated with your workouts, it’s time to look at the big picture. Does it really matter if you can do handstand pushups, rope climbs, double unders, kipping pullups, etc.? If you can, great. If not, so what? Make it a distant goal and sub it for something else. We coaches love to dream up devious alternative movements for you. You can still work hard and have fun.

Bad habit #3: Comparing myself to others. Bad habit two and three can feed off of each other. Once I started to compare my performance to others, I became very frustrated. There I was alone in the gym, grinding out those two hour competition workouts day after day and on the internet was this little gymnast who could easily clean twice as much as my one rep max. Damn you Camille LeBlanc Bazinet!

Seriously, nothing good comes from comparing yourself to others. We are all different, with different skill sets, body types, fitness backgrounds, genetics, etc. It doesn’t matter what the person next to you is doing or what the scores on the white board say. Appreciate your own hard work. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Relax, have fun, and enjoy the WOD. If you can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s WOD will bring, your fitness plan is safe.