I was recently listening to an interview with CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser. This is the fittest guy walking the planet. He throws 315 lbs over his head for fun.
When asked about the biggest thing he’s learned while competing, he replied: Confidence.
I’d say the number one thing I’ve learned in my time in CrossFit is confidence. And not like cockiness, more just confident in who I am.Mat Fraser
Reading that quote, I began to think about all of the intangible benefits we see when someone begins CrossFit. Confidence is right up at the top.
Initially, someone might walk in solely for the health benefits. They want to gain muscle, lose weight, and perform better. They’ll absolutely get that over time, but they’ll also get so much more. The physical benefits are just the start.
Overcoming Obstacles Daily
If you’re like me, you occasionally get a queasy feeling in your stomach before workouts. It reminds me of cross country races in high school. It’s a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and a bit of apprehension about what’s about to happen.
Then, I hear the sound of “3, 2, 1, go…” and I get to work. 10 or 20 minutes later, I’m lying on the ground glad to be done but satisfied with the work I put in.
I’m willing to bet you’ve experienced something similar. You’re faced with an obstacle and tasked with overcoming it.
Here’s the thing though—this doesn’t solely happen in the gym.
We all bump up against obstacles every single day. The gym is just a low stakes practicing ground for overcoming them. You’re faced with a difficult task. You have a few minutes to prepare. Then, you give it your best effort and come back a bit stronger and more prepared tomorrow.
The Benefits Aren’t Just Physical
I can list out so many benefits you’ll receive from CrossFit that have nothing to do with your physical health:
- Confidence to tackle challenges.
- Patience to follow a process over weeks and years to reap rewards.
- Consistency to show up regularly even when you’re not feeling it.
- Compassion to have fun and forgive yourself when workouts don’t go well.
- Fortitude to keep going when you don’t think you can.
- Persistence to stick with something even when progress is slow.
- Self-efficacy to believe in your ability to get things done.
The list goes on!
These characteristics are reinforced day in and day out. When approaching each workout, three things are certain:
- I’m going to get a little fitter.
- I’m going to be glad I did this.
- I’m going to learn a little something about myself.
That third one includes all of the intangible benefits we see when someone sticks with CrossFit for any length of time. They walk a bit taller; they approach problems in their life with a bit more gusto.
Sure, CrossFit is a tool for getting fitter. That’s true. But, it delivers so much more.