Athletic aspirations: Dreaming big but being real

Athletic aspirations: Dreaming big but being real
Why you should do you.

When a CrossFit journey begins, it can be for various reasons. Some folks are looking to lose some poundage, while others want to take their fitness to the next level. Like any sport, there are the more recreational individuals, and then there are the pros. Developing a taste for competition and progress is a natural product of CrossFit participation, and it often leads to aspirations of achieving great athletic accomplishments. There’s nothing healthier than somebody aiming to achieve their full potential, and dreaming big is a beautiful thing, but it’s important to keep a realistic perspective to maintain a positive psychological state.

Let’s take a step back from the continuous CrossFit messaging that you can do anything. Because if we’re being realistic, you can do ALMOST anything. Determination and hard work can take you ALMOST anywhere. But when it comes to genetics and physical predispositions, there are simply some limitations that no amount of work can override.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but in order to have an accurate understanding of personal potential, an athlete must first consider their biological make-up. If you’re a pint-sized pixie, it may not be possible for you to deadlift 600 pounds, although you should certainly give it your best. And if you’re a mountain of a man, earning the title of “Fastest on Earth” might be a feat you should forget, or at least understand it could be damn-near impossible.

CrossFitters quickly pick up on the fact that they can do more than they ever originally anticipated. But sometimes that new confidence can breed goals that are a step ahead of where personal potential might exist. The biggest issue isn’t the big dreams, it’s the way they affect your everyday attitude. Chasing a goal that is constantly out of reach can wreak havoc on the psyche. When it comes to being the best, not every person is built for it, and that’s just fine. If you work your ass off but can’t quite get there, know that it shouldn’t be defined as failure to achieve a goal. Rich Froning is a genetic freak of nature. Sure, he works hard and eats fairly well, his head is in the game, and he has the heart of a lion, but he’s also genetically gifted. Most men, despite their efforts, will never achieve a physical peak comparable to the King of CrossFit.

Now that I’ve crushed your spirit, let me build you back up. Regardless of your skill level, goals are key. It’s imperative that an athlete aim for goals within their limitations and then adjust accordingly. Just about anybody can eventually compete. Perhaps an appearance at Regionals is in the cards, but a couple of years away. Baby steps and longevity are the path to achieving greatness. Committing to a series of goals that span a fairly lengthy timeframe. Past a certain level of participation, PR lifts and minutes shaved from Fran won’t come quickly or easily. There are things like nutrition, programming, and supplemental activities that go into being the best you can be.

Create goals that you can control. Workout five days per week, add a rowing, biking, or running component to most days, or stick with a structured strength regimen. Maybe go for two-a-days if you’re ready for the next step, and put serious consideration into your diet. It’s whatever you need to progress as an individual, and typically the things you struggle most with.

And to keep your competitive edge on point, watch the whiteboard, do local competitions, and attend events at remote boxes. Expose yourself to much more than the world you work in everyday and it will push you that much further. Work hard, keep your goals continuously advancing, and don’t let any defeat get the best of you. You’re still a badass. And if you’re more of a recreational participant just hoping for that single unassisted pull-up, keep it in sight.

Despite where you begin and where you want to be, do you. I can’t emphasize enough that being the “best” doesn’t always mean you’re at the top of the podium. The small accomplishments are just as powerful as taking home a win at the Games, so take pride in what you can accomplish.

Abi Rieland
Co-Owner / Trainer CrossFit 8035
Author of Athletic Aspirations: Dreaming Big But Being Real