What about a little more faith?

Not the religious kind. But the kind where I actually believe in myself.

This week showed me again, that even though I sometimes don’t see it and everybody else around me seems to be that much better at CrossFit than me, I am making progress. I still have more than enough blatant weaknesses (hello, pull-up!), but even those are slowly getting better. As this week in CrossFitting showed.

On Monday we practiced handstand push-ups. Not my most favorite movement, to be perfectly honest. I’m not strong enough to go full range of motion, so I need to use a stack of bumper plates to shorten the way. But my stack is getting smaller and I’ve finally managed to get in a couple of kipping handstand push-ups. In the past, I had a difficult time figuring out the mechanics of the kip. Not this week. I might’ve had a little epiphany.

On Thursday we snatched, where I felt a lot more comfortable in my technique. I ended up cranking out 5 single reps just under my 1 rep max (not the prettiest, but valid reps). I’ve been practicing the snatch during the box’s open gym classes and also during the olympic weightlifting class that’s offered on Friday night. I feel like it’s finally paying off.

After snatching, we did a 10 minute AMRAP of 1 pull-up, 2 push-ups and 3 air squats. The pull-up is another movement I have spent a lot of time practicing over the last few months. I suck at it. My lat is too weak or I’m too fat. Probably both. I just cannot pull myself up to that fucking bar without the assistance of a band. It frustrates me beyond belief. I’ve been CrossFitting for over 2 years and everybody who started with me is now doing or practicing chest to bar pull-ups or even muscle-ups, where you have to pull even higher, whereas I still can’t get my stupid chin over that bar. It’s not for lack of effort. If there’s one thing I always practice, even if it’s just a handful of reps, it’s the pull-up. Hm, not weighing a gazillion of pounds would probably help.

But anyway, even if you may not believe it after my little bitchfest, I do see some progress on the pull-up. This week, I completed my first workout using the thinnest band possible. We have a bunch of rubber bands at the box that you hook a foot into and then it’ll help you up through resistance. The thinner the band, the less help you get, obviously. Over the months, I’ve been decreasing the thickness of the bands, but I still need them. In workouts, I pick a band that’ll still give me a challenging workout, but enough support for me to complete the WOD in a reasonable time. I doubt my coaches would appreciate it if it took me 45 minutes to complete a WOD that’s estimated to take no more than 10 minutes, just because I have to rest forever after every single pull-up. During warm-up and my own additional practice, I’m down to the thinnest band I can because I have time and I try to prioritize quality over quantity. Rather fewer pull-ups, but more difficult in order to force myself to continue building strength. With the red band, I can do exactly one, then I need to rest before I can do the next. Just perfect for this week’s WOD. I figured I’d give it a try, even if it meant I’d get to complete less rounds in total during the 10 minutes AMRAP.

I was surprised how well the workout went, despite the pull-ups clearly being the limiting factor for me. Now if only I’d manage to lose 5 kilos…

The biggest highlight of this week though was yesterday’s WOD: 30 RFT of 5 wallball shots, 3 push-ups and 1 power clean. With 50 kgs (=110 lbs.). Yeah. I’ve mentioned before that the power clean is a relatively weak lift for me. I currently max at 55 kgs (ca. 120 lbs.). So the prescribed weight of 50 kg isn’t exactly a lot under my max. For 30 single reps. We had a timecap of 35 minutes and I honestly was doubtful I’d be able to complete the WOD within the cap. That’s how much respect I have of that weight.

Nonetheless, I wanted to RX the workout because I need to challenge myself with heavy weights, even if it means not finishing in time. I’m not the strongest, but I’m not a weak woman either. A lot of weight limitations for me are mental, because I get scared. As soon as I’m at or near my max, I lose focus. All I can think of is how heavy the weight is and all good technique goes aboard.

I’ve been practicing the clean with (for me) heavy weights at higher rep schemes to get comfortable with lifting a weight repeatedly that’s challenging for me. While still focusing on good form. I finished the workout under the timecap. No problem. It was hard, but I lifted the 50 kg 30 times with only one miss. I was pretty fucking ecstatic afterwards!

This week has shown me a couple of things:

  • Progress happens. Even if you can’t always see it or if it isn’t linear. Being impatient won’t speed up progress. Sadly.
  • A little faith goes a long way. You might be surprised if only you believe you can. Like that pull-up workout. I decided it was worth a shot and I’d just do what I could. The result more than surprised me.
  • Practice really does make perfect. Or at least better. This week showed me that there is a big benefit in working your weaknesses, even if that’s not always fun.
  • Above all, I need to focus on myself. I need to stop comparing myself to everybody else and be jealous of their progress. Their progress is theirs. Mine is mine. And mine is all that should matter to me.

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