Many times I hear the question posed, “What if I had found CrossFit sooner?” Many seem fixated on the fact that we would now be some super-human, CrossFit Games repeat champ, had we discovered CrossFit in our youth. Naturally, the assumption is that we would be faster and stronger, but what else would CrossFit have added to your life if discovered, let’s say, in high school? Well, pictured below is SCF athlete, Claire Weil. Claire is a senior in high school, and as are most college-bound seniors, she is currently working hard on her college application process. She chose to write her college essay on CrossFit. I was quite impressed by her words, and I thought that you would be as well. With Claire’s permission, I share her words:
If someone told me freshmen year that I would write my college essay based on a gym, I would be amused and unconvinced. However, my gym isn’t your run-of-the-mill Planet Fitness, and it really has changed my life.
I am part of the rising Crossfit cult and would not have it any other way. When I walk into Shoreline Crossfit, I am immediately empowered. Here I am surrounded by real-life super heroes, music blasting at the decibel of a rock concert, and sweat pouring from the thirty sweaty champions pushing themselves to the outer limits of their mental and physical capacities. Designed to be a highly intensive training regiment, Crossfit aims to push its athletes beyond their comfort zone into new dimensions of strength by “constantly varying functional movements” in a community environment.
The burpees, dead lifts, and power cleans made getting in shape simple. Do the movement right, add more weight to your barbell, and, whatever you do, finish! Nevertheless, after about three months into my Crossfit experience, I realized that simply being fit was not enough. I could be better; I had to be better. I couldn’t settle for a two-minute four-hundred or drop the barbell on my sixth rep of snatches when I had two more to go. I had no excuses. Physically, I was more than capable. I realized my shortfalls were purely mental.
From then on, echoing my trainers, I would roar to myself, “Claire keep going!” or “Just push through; 2 more minutes and you’re done!” Sometimes I would stop to allow myself a rest, and other times a poor repetition would find its way into my repertoire. I had to know my limits; my accomplishments were not defined by sheer perfection but the effort I made towards improving myself. The workouts never became easier, however I eventually found a balance between my mind and my body. Now, when I finish knowing that I have been pushed to my limit, all residual pain recedes yielding only pride and elation.
Literally and figuratively I was raising the bar in my life. I noticed this “push through” mentality had translated into my school work. Surprisingly, the satisfaction I experienced after finishing a workout was akin to the pride I felt after finishing a long AP Bio homework assignment. Just as I would add more weight to my bar, I saw an improvement in my time management skills and then my grades. For the first time in my high school career I earned high honors. It was my junior year: I was working every day after school, dealing with mounds of homework every night, and was bombarded with the clerical duties taken on from various clubs — yet I was still able to balance it all. Essentially, Crossfit had taught me to look past the superficial challenges of frustration and fatigue confronting me and to the fulfillment and rewards of each endeavor.
At the conclusion of the most taxing, yet the most promising year of my life, I ran my first ten mile road race. Quite literally, the road was long and painful, but I kept telling myself, “Just one more mile Claire!” Eventually one mile turned into two, then three, and before I knew it, I was finishing. One year earlier I would never have dreamed of such a feat! I have fallen in love with the euphoric sensation of achieving new levels of satisfaction. Initially, this carried me through Crossfit workouts. Now it motivates me to conquer life’s obstacles. I can only imagine how this newfangled strength will help me in the future. Joining Crossfit did not change who I was, but rather illuminated a powerful truth within me, inspiring me to endlessly pursue my utmost potential.