I played college football. Honestly, I wasn’t particularly good as a player or teammate. I was more focused on being a star rather than diving into the work. Arrogance stained my career.

Sadly, this also sums up my CrossFit experience. If I can’t be good at it, then I don’t want to do it. That means I’ll lift heavy loads, but not for long. I’ll sprint, but move slowly during distances.

I’m too grown to be the same brand of arrogant, but I never broke through the stubbornness. Nine years in the box and I’m still a knucklehead. I’ve signed up for the Open a handful of years, but never logged all the workouts. “If I’m not going to the Games, why try?”

I barely worked out in 2017 and 2018. My excuse was my family. They needed time and I chose them over fitness. Marriage and kids deserve my attention, not my health. Soon, I ballooned in weight and lost strength. By the end of 2019, I couldn’t stand to look in the mirror. Depression, anxiety, and all sorts of insecurities cropped up. And um, those aren’t good for your marriage or parenting.

In early 2019, I finally took a giant step back and asked, “Why did I do this to myself?”

And then, “Where the heck do I go from here?”

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

This is usually when you see a before and after picture, but I’m not doing all that. Part of the reason I ended up in that old position was that I worried more about how I looked instead of who I was.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

I don’t have proof for you, but it’s different now. I found Outside the Box, a program that best matches my balance of fitness and family. I’ve lost some weight and I’ve gained back moderate strength. My habits are far better and my attitude has improved greatly. I work out with my 13-year-old son and my beautiful wife. One of my twin daughters recently said to me, “You’re happier now. But not just happy, but like… you have JOY.”

Dude, my 10-year old used joy in a sentence that wasn’t about Christmas.

I’ve thought a lot about that proverb above. It’s not the fuel to my fire, but it’s a nice reminder when I’m going through a craving, feeling lazy, or falling into my old, bad patterns. I’m planting seeds; I’m earning the victory. My college career and my self-induced body shame were results of seeds I had planted, but now I’m uprooting those, while being more aware of what I sow.

The way I see it, I have a few months before the next CrossFit Open. I can either enjoy food trucks and slushies, or I can keep planting and see what kind of tree starts blooming by early fall. It’s a great test of will and motivation, as well as a reminder of how awesome this CrossFit community really is.

My before and after is less about my physique and more about my attitude. And I’ll be ready to test it in the Open.


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