Friday, November 14, 2014

Life is a CrossFit Chipper

My wife Loreal and I jumped feet first (literally) into CrossFit back in the spring and have never looked back.  We love it.  Like the stereotypical CrossFit devotees, we've molded our lives around our addiction.  We arrange our schedules around workouts, we strive for a clean Paleo diet, our social media is dominated by CrossFit related posts and we talk about it at home all the time.  It’s not strange for the last thing we say before “I love you, good night” to be “hey, did they post tomorrow’s WOD yet”?

So we’re CrossFit people, simple as that.  I could devote volumes to telling you how wonderful the culture is.  How the people make the experience and how a community of like-minded people drive each other to be better versions of ourselves.  I could talk about the physical changes we've seen after a short 6 months and how we've abandoned counting pounds on the scale for counting the weight we can lift and the speed of our workouts.  Those are all positive parts of the sport we love.  But if I had to boil the CrossFit experience down to the one element I believe is the most important, it would be the mental focus and commitment it requires.  These workouts are tough.  Tough beyond what most people are prepared to imagine.   They strip away all the comforts of our modern society and pit you against heavy bars of steel and your own body weight.  Ten minutes into a twenty minute workout of constant heavy movement, you’re breathing so hard your lungs burn, your arms and legs feel like they are made of whipped cream, you’re drenched in sweat and everything in you is screaming stop.  What does it take to keep going?  What internal fortitude must a person possess to force them to gut out the second half of the workout, and more importantly, why does it matter?  It matters because life is a Chipper.

For the uninitiated, the Chipper is a CrossFit workout that is long and grueling.  It typically consists of a high number of repetitions of a high number of exercises.  For example, it might include 50 reps of 12 different exercises ranging from push ups and pull ups to jump rope and Olympic lifts.   Chippers hurt.  Chippers can be demoralizing if you let them.  Chippers drain you of every ounce of energy you can muster and you’ll finish on fumes, and sometimes tears.  Luckily there is a secret to completing a Chipper…  Are you ready?  You do them one exercise at a time, one rep at a time.  That’s it.  Like any other enormous problem in life, if you force your mind to take it in all at once it will overwhelm you.  If you spend your time worrying about the exercise that’s coming up, you may talk yourself out of doing the one you’re on now.  Learning to tough through Chippers teaches us a lot about who we are and about living life in an unpredictable world full of big problems.
  •  Eat the elephant one bite at a time.  Big problems are only big if you let them be big.  Chunk them down into pieces you can manage and tackle them one bite at a time.
  •  Tackle every problem with a positive can do attitude.  If you tell yourself from the start that you can’t do something, the odds are very good that you’ll be right.  Believe in yourself.  You’re capable of way more than you know.
  • It’s normal to want to quit something that is causing you enormous discomfort.  It’s extraordinary to be able to set your mind to something and complete it despite the pain.  You can be normal or extraordinary.  You choose, but choose wisely.  The decision you make will dictate the trajectory of your entire life!

And that’s why we’re CrossFit people.  Not just because our ‘Box’, Ronnin Fitness, is full of great people with great attitudes, and iron sharpens iron.  Not just because a healthy lifestyle gives us our best chance of living a long active life with our children.  We’re CrossFit people because the basics of CrossFit are the basics of life.  If you have what it takes to be good at CrossFit, then you have what it takes to be good at life, and who doesn't want to be good at life?


  1. What a great post Mike! You are a really good writer. I've really enjoyed getting to work out with you and Lori even though we're not in the same class times very often. You guys are awesome!

    1. Thank you Stacey. I really appreciate it. You're pretty awesome yourself! We've both made the comment several times that we are so blessed to be in the company of such great people.