I’ve spoken often of growing up overweight and obese. From the age of 12 my mother had me in Weight Watchers, essentially ruining my body image and destroying my chance to have a healthy relationship with food. (I’ve finally made peace with food and know exactly how to eat normally and healthfully.) I was also attending her aerobics classes, trying to be slim and pretending that ‘sweating to the oldies’ with 30-somethings was something I enjoyed.
Despite my size, I was always a competitive person. I had a strong desire to win, just maybe not the ability to make it happen. I played soccer until I was 12, then tennis, even being on my high school team. Back then I was able to tap into my competitive nature via academics. I wanted and strove for A’s, trying to be one of the best in my class. I don’t recall my parents pushing this mentality too heavily on me, so it must have been nature rather than nurture. And the older I’ve gotten and the more confident, the more that desire to push myself has taken hold. Let’s just say my best friend’s husband and I literally went 10 rounds one night over the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question. We didn’t talk for hours, neither admitting defeat. Play me at pool and beat me? I will probably sulk all night. If I have a bad tennis match, everyone will know about it.
Losing is not something I take lightly. Even when it’s not me, but my team — The Giants — or even my son’s soccer team, I’ll scream my head off passionately trying to coax out the win. Sadly, the Giants don’t seem to want to cooperate these past few years.
So when I decided to try CrossFit, it now seems like a natural extension of that competitive spirit. It’s a place where I can compete…with myself. Yes, there’s a leaderboard and you see what others do, which does push you to want to be better, faster and stronger, but for me, it brings out that inner drive to see what I can do. And when I can’t do something it frustrates the hell out of me. I curse, I throw the bar and I generally storm around in a huff. Because I want to be able to do it. Something inside me is screaming that I should be able to. Even if this isn’t rational. What astonishes me are those people who do CrossFit that aren’t competitive. And there are plenty of them. They come, they lift and they leave. End of. No getting upset if they don’t PR. No pushing themselves to lift heavier or complete a workout in the time allotted. No entering into competitions. Here I am posting photos of my bruises and scrapes like badges of honor!
I’ve given some thought to whether CrossFit has brought out my competitive nature and it hasn’t. I was always competitive, but now I have the ability to back it up. And once you realize you can do something, you want to do it better. For me, this allows me to keep improving myself.
I’m a work in progress and honestly never thought I’d even be able to put my money where my mouth is athletically. So it’s thrilling to be able to do that. When I look back at my old self, I’m astounded at how far I’ve come, and excited to see where I will continue to go. And if I don’t get there, you can bet I’ll be pissed off about it.