As CrossFitters we are expected to be good at everything, but for ninety percent of us this is an unrealistic expectation. We all have those exercises we hate. Usually, hatred for a particular movement is directly correlated with our ability to efficiently and effectively complete that movement. Simply, we hate the movements we suck at. Some people hate running, others are frustrated by gymnastics. Others still are self-conscious of their lifting ability. In other words, no one is perfect and we all have strengths and weaknesses.

And yet we battle on. We return to the gym time and time again only to find that dreaded movement on the whiteboard for the day’s WOD. We brace ourselves inwardly and grind through the hardest movements of the workout. Most of the time, we tend to beat ourselves up afterward on our lacklustre performances on the most challenging aspects of the WOD — my running was slow, my ring dips were terrible, that weight felt so heavy today, etc. Many of us have even gone so deep inside our own minds as to let these moments of struggle colour our perceptions of our overall fitness. I’ve seen WODs reduce folks to tears, and I think this is unnecessary. It’s easy to feel like a failure when you fail reps.

I would like to challenge that thought pattern.

My glaring weakness, for example, is gymnastics. Whenever I see a gymnastics-heavy workout, I do still get uncomfortable butterflies in my stomach, but I view each of these WODs as an opportunity to get better and to practice technique. We are training, after all, and every WOD is neither a competition nor a performance. So if your gym time is one hour a few times per week, then the WOD is a great time to slow down and focus on rehearsing the technique for your weakest movements. If you fail a rep, please remember that you did not fail the entire workout, and failed reps are still opportunities where you put forth and effort and are all the better for it. Maybe you learned something from that rep, or maybe you reached muscle fatigue before you were ready to tackle that next repetition, but you are always one rep better than you were before. You are getting better.

Also know that if you really want to shore up those weak movements, it doesn’t hurt to come in a few minutes early, grab a free coach, and work on that skill. I’ve seen many people put thousands of tireless repetitions into double-unders to get just an ounce of improvement, but the cumulative effect is strong with perseverance. That kind of grind takes dedication and working bit by bit.

In the mean time, when you see a workout that is not in your wheelhouse and you begin to think how awful the workout will be, pause for a second. Re-set your attitude. Try again. You can determine how a workout is going to go before the timer starts by setting a more productive intention than “I suck at this and I hate it”. Think more along the lines of “no matter what my time, this workout will make me better”. It will certainly make you more mentally resilient. Keep being kind and realistic to yourself, because like practicing reps of a movement, you need to repeatedly practicing shifting your mindset to a better one. You’ll get better at thinking positively, too.

~Hillary Webster