‘I’m always last,’ the new Crossfitter mutters, at the end of a short run.
I know the feeling! I’m usually last, or second to last. It isn’t fun to slog away for ten minutes after everyone else has finished.
Some people find it more difficult than others to be ‘bottom of the class’ – it doesn’t bother me much anymore. I can’t get to Crossfit more than a couple of times a week (because I have other things I love to do, or must do) and recently I haven’t even been managing that! It’s not easy to admit this particular ‘weakness’, but beating myself up about it won’t help. I go when I can, which is better than not at all. It’s still not the easy option.
When you’re at the bottom of the pile you can either feel your inferiority, or realise that you have nothing to lose: the only way is up. I choose the latter.
It’s not a good idea to base your self-worth on other people’s abilities anyway. In life, there will always be people who are better than you in some way, but equally there will always be someone who’s worse. It’s sometimes worth accepting that in Crossfit too (in relation to strength, speed, and attendance!). We just do our best, whatever stage we’re at, and whatever goals we have.
Of course, there is a natural tendency to compare. There are times when it is helpful to do so, for instance if someone runs a tiny bit faster than you. That can give you a strong incentive to speed up! But it’s should still be about your progress. Whether you finish last or first, lift the lightest or the heaviest, it is your attitude that counts. If the comparison makes you feel a positive desire to do better, then compare. Unfortunately, it can easily result in depressed inferiority.
‘Everyone else is lifting so much weight…’ the weak Crossfitter says, picking up her light bar. She might as well add, ‘There’s me and then there are the real athletes. Why am I the only one lifting hardly anything?’
Perhaps a little comparison is the only thing that will help here: It’s because all the people who are weaker than you are not doing what you’re doing. They’re not pushing themselves at Crossfit, whenever they can (and why should they if they don’t want to?). They’re not achieving your small but significant improvements. They’re not gritting their teeth and deciding that it’s okay to come last sometimes. They are not putting effort into developing their mental and physical strength through high-intensity workouts.
So, work hard, and don’t let anyone else’s successes give you any discomfort or doubt, even when you don’t achieve all that you’d like. Through swallowing your pride, and doing it anyway, you will develop as much strength of character as physical strength, and probably more. Be the weakest person at Crossfit; you won’t be the weakest person in life.