A couple of years ago, I got caught up in the Crossfit craze. I hadn’t planned to get caught up in anything of the sort, but when we stopped by a local Crossfit Gym to sign up Dan, the trainer challenged me to join as well. I laughed and said, “It’s not really my thing. I’m more of a yoga gal.” But he was persistent, telling me to think higher of myself because I was absolutely capable of doing Crossift, and besides, it was completely scaleable for any level. I believed his pack of lies and joined the gym.
My first workout was very cardio heavy with (4) 800 meter runs incorporated into a weight lifting routine. There were no “scaled down” workouts offered to me, so I attempted this craziness. I hadn’t done cardio in over a year, having a new baby and not being one of those amazing pregnant women who run marathons when they’re six months gestation. So I was NOT ready for this. After only the first run, I entered the gym and felt a black wall coming in around me. And I knew what was coming, Oh no! I’m going to faint! Not wanting to embarrass myself, I hurried over to a hidden corner and sat in a chair. When a trainer asked if I was okay, I said, “I think I’m going to faint.” She had me lay on the floor.
Laying on the floor might have been good for me medically, but it was not good for my pride. This drew attention from other trainers who then all huddled around me. I was mortified and hoped beyond hope Dan (who was handling the workout much better than me) wouldn’t see.
Dan didn’t see, and I thankfully didn’t faint, but I felt so stupid and was glad when it was time to leave. I filled Dan in when we got in the car, and just hung my head in shame as we drove home.
I couldn’t move for a week after that. My muscles were in shock from all the squats, wall balls, and burpees. But determined not to let this thing beat me, I drug my sore butt into that gym 2 days later. And guess what happened when I walked through the door? One of the trainers yelled from across the very large gym, “Hey! It’s Tara On The Floor!” And right then and there, that became my Crossfit name. Everyone referred to me by this, and would even write my name on the board as Tara OTF. When new people joined, they would tell the story all over again.
Despite this taunting (which was really all in good sport), I showed up regularly, and did modified versions of all the workouts. I’d learned my lesson from that first one. But because I was doing modified versions, I kept to myself. Running my own routes, and working at my own pace. I did my best to have tunnel vision, trying not to compare myself to others who were doing twice as much as me.
I improved at a rapid rate and I began to feel stronger and more confident, but I was still nowhere near most of the other people. However, I could run a mile without stopping, and my weights had gotten heavier. Then one day, a few months in, we were doing push presses. This is where you grab a weighted barbell from the rack and press it over your head. The heaviest I’d done was 50lbs, and that was a major accomplishment for me. But the trainer, who had gotten to know me by now, put a bar with 60lbs on the rack. Fear came into me, as I didn’t want to look stupid again when I couldn’t lift it. But she insisted I try.
I stared at the bar and thought, Well I’ll try it, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll just take my lump and lower the weight. I approached the rack, checked my form, and lifted the bar off the rack. It was heavy. Heavier than anything I’d ever held. I prepared myself physically and then pushed! But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t move it past my shoulders. Defeated, I re-racked the weight, and walked to the end to take some of the weight off. But the trainer stopped me.
“I’ve been watching you, Tara. And even though you are incredibly strong and capable, you walk around like you’re weak. So, I want you to look at that barbell and call it your bitch. Then pick that thing up and make it happen.”
I looked at her. I wanted to do it. Oh how good that would feel. But I felt stupid.
“Go ahead,” she said like a drill sergeant.
I looked at that barbell and said in monotone, “You’re my bitch.” It felt good to say.
“I’m sorry. Maybe I wasn’t clear. I meant yell at it that it’s your bitch.”
Everyone was watching me now. But I mustered up all my courage and yelled at that barbell, “YOU’RE MY BITCH!” Then I picked that weight up off the rack and pressed it over my head without even a struggle. I couldn’t believe it! I did it. Wow! I was so much stronger than I’d thought.
After that, I decided to stop telling myself I was weak. I ran with the main group, and tried to keep pace with the others. And while I was still behind them, I did better than I thought I could. I even beat out a few of the newer recruits! It was a major turning point.
I learned something that day. How we define ourself matters. We have the power to make or break ourselves, based on how we believe. Henry Ford is famous for saying, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” And it is completely true.
Declarations, or “I Am Statements”, as I like to call them, are a great tool to help you start to foster this belief.
I am strong.
I am a writer.
I am a great dancer.
I am an amazing singer.
I am powerful.
I am intelligent.
I am successful.
These are not things you are trying to be because you think you should be. No. We are not in the business of changing ourselves to fit the standards of others. These are traits you see in yourself that are little seeds that you want to bloom. So instead of declaring, “I want to be a writer,” you would say, “I am a writer.” See the difference? Do it right now. Feel the difference!
By declaring “I Am” as opposed to “I want” or “I hope”, you are changing your thinking from weak to strong. From unsure to knowing.
It’s a simple yet powerful thing, and developing the habit of declaring yourself, as opposed to waiting for someone else to declare it for you, will have a powerful impact on your life. So go ahead, call that bar your bitch.