For the past nine years, I have been an avid long distance runner. I ran competitively in high school and three of four years during my time at Valdosta State University. I competed in 5K’s to full marathons and every distance in between. I ran in extreme heat and snow. I also ran on holidays, which usually involved some sort of costume. Besides my sophomore year in college when I chose beer over Gatorade, I feel confident in estimating that I logged an average of 1,000 miles per year. I ran so much, it began to become a sole part of who I was. And finally, it became a chore to the point I realized that I desperately needed a change.
I love exercising, but I knew the method I was so used to no longer made me happy. And so, I wandered cluelessly into a CrossFit gym. After a few sessions of awkward lifts, failed attempts at pull ups and last place finishes in every timed WOD (Workout of the Day), I found that I had more confidence physically than I had in many years. It sounds twisted, I’m sure. So, I’ve summed up the top five reasons why I believe that changing my workout routine gave me newfound fitness motivation, and I think it could do the same for you.
- I needed change. First the obvious. We’re human. We have a need to change things up now and then– our careers, our living situations, our clothes, our music genres, let’s not forget our fitness routine. When I tried something new, I was instantly more entertained with what I was doing. I have fun new routines to look forward to and that excitement carries on throughout my day, not just in my workout.
- I’m at the bottom again. In the grand scheme of things, I wasn’t that fast of a runner, but I would often win or at least place well in most local races. In addition to being a fairly efficient runner, I was smart on the subject. I could talk my friends’ and family’s ears off about running. Matt Fitzgerald and Hal Higdon were my go-to authors. I’m not very good at CrossFit now. Even in the not-so-grand scheme of things, I still suck. I know nothing about the sport. However, I love the idea of improving tremendously over time.
- I needed a team. I’m not advocating CrossFit specifically, but the community aspect of it is definitely a perk. Although I’m a beginner, I’m surrounded by individuals who wholeheartedly welcome newbies. Not to mention, it’s inspiring to see females my size doing multiple pull ups. I so desperately want to do one. These girls are proof that it can be done.
- A coach helps too. After graduating from college cross country, I was on my own. I told myself when a run was good or bad, and I was usually pretty fair with myself. However, I believe when it comes to fitness, it is encouraging to have some sort of mentor. Sure, I pay the guy to help me train, but I believe each high-five I receive is a genuine, well-earned one. Coaches generally take pride in possessing the same goals for you as you have for yourself, and they will help you reach them.
- I’m more open-minded. Fitness has always been an important staple in my life and finding the courage to change what I used to for my happiness reminded me that I should never make it so hard to make a change if I need one. Comfort zones can be dangerous.
I may become a strict runner again in the future, but as of right now, I’m very fulfilled with what I’m attempting to do. Again, I’m not specifically suggesting that you should take up CrossFit as your next fitness endeavor, but a mentor and camaraderie are certainly aspects I would encourage. You can find these things in a lot of activities–yoga, kickboxing, spinning, and if you’re looking to switch to running, join a running club. More importantly, however, I do believe that new activities, goals to look forward to and having an open mind make fitness and life much more exciting.
By Sarah Turner
HL July 2016 Column