There are some things I do pretty well in workouts: heavy lifting, wall balls, rowing, and biking. There are also MANY things that I don’t do well: burpees, box jumps, running, running, and running. Did I mention running?!? I love workouts with rows and Olympic lifts because I can keep up with the group and sometimes even be higher up on the whiteboard. (Check out my previous post on my relationship with the whiteboard) Its fun to be able to see my natural strengths and abilities pushed to their limits and crush a workout that is in my wheelhouse. I hate workouts that expose my weaknesses. I don’t want to finish minutes after everyone else and I love/hate the circle of cheer/shame when I am trying to finish my last burpees or box jumps.
One of the trainers at my CrossFit box just programmed a running based WOD that really killed me: 10 minutes to run a mile and then as many reps of 135lbs snatches as possible, 7 minutes to run 800 meters and then as many reps of 135lbs squat cleans as possible, and 4 minutes to run 400 meters and then as many reps of 135lbs thrusters as possible. Between each AMRAP we were given a three minute rest. When I first saw this WOD online the night before I considered not coming. I rationalized what would be the point because I would have to PR my mile run time just to finish under 10 minutes. I knew that I would mostly likely be running the whole time, did I mention how much I hate running, with little time to do any lifting. I would most likely be last and not just last but way behind everyone. I was about to tell my wife that I was going to skip my workout tomorrow and take the kdis to school and then I changed my mind. CrossFit isn’t about me getting better about what I already do well. CrossFit is about gaining strength and skills in a wide range of activities from lifting to gymnastics. I would not have well rounded health if I could lift 400lbs on my back squat but not run at all. I decided that I needed to go and do this running WOD. I needed to challenge myself, allowing my weakness to be exposed, and work on my weak areas. I will never get any better if I simply cherry pick my favorite WODs, always picking my strengths and avoiding my weaknesses.
My results for that running WOD were not impressive. It took me 12 minutes to run the mile so I got no chance to get reps and only had 1 minute before the next run. I was surprised that I was able to finish the 800 meter run fast enough to have 90 seconds to get some reps in on the squat clean. After a break I was able to finish the 400 meter run with enough time to get 5 reps on thrusters before the 4 minutes. I honestly did not know if I would be able to get any reps in at all but I was able to get a total of 13 reps in between the two movements I was able to do. Even on my mile run that took 2 minutes over the cut-off I received congrats and fist bumps for my effort. I am glad that I went and did the WOD even though I know I will be last or close to it today. I was able to work on my weakness and I am moving closer to my goal of well rounded fitness which wouldn’t have happened if I stayed at home.
When I look at other aspects of my life I realize that we can cherry pick in other areas too. One big area in our life can be our spiritual growth through discipleship. Each of us has areas that we are naturally gifted and others that are places of struggle or weakness. For example, my wife is gifted in prayer and she would have no struggle leading a time of intercession. I, on the other hand, would stuggle to stay focused for 30 minutes of prayer and do better with shorter times of prayer. What does this mean? It means that I do not need to avoid times of prayer and should actually seek out times of prayer so that I can grow and develop in this area in my life. Whether its prayer, preaching, worship, study, or any other area of discipleship we all need to be working and growing so that we can become a well rounded and equipped disciple of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote in Colossians that the purpose of ministry is to “present everyone mature in Christ”. We all need to be finding ways that we can grow and develop that we might be mature in our faith. This means growing in our strengths but also intentional work on areas of growth. We need those spiritual “workouts” that push us towards maturity even if they expose weakness from time to time.