A few weeks ago, we had a really cool workout where we did a variety of different exercises. I blew through this WoD pretty quickly and somewhat easily. I was really pleased with myself for doing so well.
After the workout, our wonderful trainer took me through some of the exercises we did and made everything harder. One of the nice things about Crossfit is you can scale things to your ability. However, once you have mastered the scaled skill, then you have to make things a bit more difficult. For example, one of the exercises is knees to elbows – you grab a pull-up bar and the bring your knees up to your elbows. Well, for me, the scaled version is something called frog kicks. I would bring my knees up to about a 90 degree angle or so instead of all the way up to my knees. Apparently, being able to do frog kicks super fast and all at a go is too easy now, so our trainer decided it was time to bring the knees all the way to my elbows. I went from being able to do 25 in a row without stopping to being able to almost 5, and that is a sloppy 5. Significantly harder.
Yoga is another thing entirely. We often start off with triangles. Triangles used to kill me, but then I found that they became much easier and I was even able to balance myself by stretching all the way to the ground. Yeah, that was because I was doing it wrong. Our yoga instructor (who is awesome) had us do triangles while our backs were against the wall. Apparently, if you are keeping yourself straight with a flat back (which is what the wall helped illustrate) and with good form triangles again become difficult and you simply cannot touch the floor.
One of the things I really love about working out is that progress is so easily tracked and accounted for, but it is somewhat disheartening to go from doing something easily and quickly to having the next level up be slow and difficult. However, everything for me started off as slow and difficult, and I do remind myself that slow and difficult will eventually become quick and either easy or at least somewhat easier. Everyone struggles with something, and everything is somewhat difficult. You have to keep challenging yourself to keep improving.
One of the things I am currently doing with a friend as well as our trainer is 100 push-ups a day for 100 days. It is difficult. I’ve done this for only two days now and it is hard, hard, hard. The good thing is that you have all day to do the push-ups, so you can break this exercise up anyway you want. The first day I did 10 here and there throughout the day and the second day I did 25, now that is not a flat 25 without stopping, but more like 7, then 8 then two 5’s. Because push-ups are difficult.
A lot of the people who do Crossfit have been life long athletes. For me, this all pretty much new. I think the newness is why I am amazed frequently at how progress works with this – hard to easy, hard to easy, hard to easy. Basically, to keep improving, things have to keep being difficult. I think in previous years of my life, things being consistently difficult would bother me. I would be discouraged that it is always a struggle to complete the various tasks ahead of me. However, as I’ve made so much progress slogging through the difficulties, stair stepping my way up this fitness ladder, things being hard do not bother me. I consider the difficulties to be just another thing to master, because eventually each difficult thing will become easy and that is a lot of little successes to celebrate.