As we all know being a successful CrossFit athlete, or being successful at anything for that matter, takes a lot of time, commitment, dedication and sacrifice. Training can take up to 6 hrs a day, recovery just as long and time to eat all the food, well that can take even longer! Due to this there is no surprise that trying to get to the top can lead to some athletes leading very unbalanced lives finding it hard to strike a balance between being an athlete and not.
After speaking to many successful CrossFit athletes over the years quite a few stated that at one point in their career they were so focused on what they were doing that they could not give anyone or anything around them the time of day. They also said that this approach may be not the best way and is far from sustainable.
It is at this point I will hold up my hands and say I have been there. There was a time not so long ago when I really struggled to find a balance between training and wanting to be the best I could possibly be, and have a life. This brings me to my reason for writing this blog. Yes, I am making myself pretty vulnerable in sharing a struggle with you but I think it is so important for people to realise that everyone has their struggles and we are all human.
Dedicating all of my time to chase my goal was amazing and very rewarding but it did come with its downfalls and I have come to realise that there was no need for it to consume my life as much as it did. Not having a balance and giving my all to training and nothing else actually turned out to be very detrimental to me mentally and physically.
Having a tunnel vision and only ever existing in the gym, my kitchen or bed sleeping and recovering was not the best way to go about things. It is now only on reflection that I can see this. Life was very isolated and things in my life were beginning to suffer, especially my relationship with those closest to me. Not only this but training was beginning to suffer as well as I was putting incredible pressure on myself to preform and when I didn’t my whole world came crashing down. Not ideal and very unreasonable. Not surprisingly my mental game was also shot. Battling with negative thoughts from bad training and not having time to see friends and loved ones, and not having people to talk to begins to take its toll and when you have no mental strength you might as well hold up the white flag as it is very hard to pull yourself together in the gym if you can’t even do it outside.
Funnily, when I started to relax outside of training and find ways to work around my busy training schedule, training actually improved dramatically and I was beginning to preform how I had wanted to all along.
So, what did I change?
I sat for a long time asking myself WHY?
Why do I do what I do and what do I want to achieve?
I came up with these answers.
I train CrossFit because I enjoy it and it is fun (said no one ever) and I wanted to get back to Regionals. As my love for CrossFit was disappearing I thought that and at this rate I wasn’t going to be making it back to Regionals because nothing was going right.
It was at this point I re-assessed my training, recovery and what I was going to do to make sure when training was done that Lucy the athlete took a break and Lucy was able to go out and enjoy herself and have a life.
Firstly, I started making sure I saw my friends more, visited my grandparents and spent quality time with them and my family.
Secondly, I made sure I didn’t consume my head with my training when I left the gym. If I had had a bad day I tried to leave it behind and move on.
Lastly, I brought the fun back to my training
Surprise surprise, my training quickly came back to life and my mind was able to think clearly.
The moral of the story
Sometimes we have to learn the hard way and experience lows to help us grow. The biggest realisation for me was that you can chase your dreams and be the best ‘you’ and excel even more whilst having a life and enjoying some time off. Someone very close to me once told me this and I never believed him till now. A little too late!
One of my favourite quotes is:
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”
However, for the purpose of this blog I am going to change it slightly and leave you with my final thought:
“NEVER GET SO BUSY CHASING A DREAM THAT YOU FORGET TO HAVE A LIFE”
You defo can have both!!!