The Teaching Moments in CrossFit

I’ve had some bad days at the gym. I’ve walked in angry, hammered out a workout, and walked out a much calmer and more peaceful version of myself. I’ve had fights with friends that totally threw me off, a lot, and the emotions don’t always make sense. But working out helps cleanse my mind, body, and soul of negative emotions so that I can think clearly.

Going to the gym on a bad day isn’t fun. The whole drive there, you’ll be thinking up excuses because you’d rather sit at home by yourself. But sitting alone with your feelings leaves a lot of time to think. And these thoughts aren’t always productive. Sometimes they’re even harmful. You go around in circles feeling sorry for yourself, being angry at the situation, angry at someone else, over and over again until you eventually fall asleep. Or cry yourself to sleep. Waking up the next morning doesn’t feel any better.

If you’re having a hard time, FIND SOMETHING TO DO. Situations and feelings need your attention, but they need focused, rational attention. Being overly emotional may be what got you in trouble in the first place. So go to the gym, go for a walk, listen to music, draw, bike, see your therapist, anything. Anything that will clear your head so that you’re not stuck with your thoughts 24/7. Then, try to think about what was bothering you again. Chances are, you’ll be able to look at the situation and see what was wrong, as well as how to fix it.

Sometimes, once your mind has cleared, you realize your own mistakes. This isn’t fun. When you’re caught up in your emotions, you become very selfish. You’re only trying to protect yourself from harm, but in the process you may make mistakes that hurt other people, and that’s not fair. They shouldn’t have to pay for your runaway emotions. Regardless of why the mistakes were made, now that you’re thinking clearly you can apologize and ask forgiveness.

Whatever you learn about yourself from the workout, good or bad, is progress made. Sometimes it’s personal, sometimes it’s not. But I cherish the moments when I learn things to help me in life. I can be stubborn. Sometimes it takes a knock upside the head or tough WOD to teach me the lesson I needed to learn. Those become my favorite moments.