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Growing Your Life Muscles: Lessons From Crossfit Workouts

Aurelio has stuck with his three-times-a-week Crossfit regimen since 2010 and enjoys it for the workout variety and camaraderie.


As a non-athletic nerd, I’ve always thought that fitness success applied only to athletics or physical activity. Achievement with the body did not translate to accomplishment for the mind because they involved two different instruments. I then started Crossfit workouts, which led to improvements in my middle-aged body.

These achievements also benefited my life muscles, which included work effort, social relationships, and learning ability. The following are some of the lessons I’ve discovered from going to the gym.

Consistency Is the Key

Newbies come into my Crossfit gym all the time with high physical hopes.

  • They work out faithfully three days a week for about a week.
  • They continue once a week for the next two weeks.
  • And finally they come in once more two weeks later.

They then complain bitterly that even though they've been working out for six weeks, they've shown no progress in losing weight, building muscle or increasing fitness. In that same period of time, others who've been coming in regularly for three times a week have boasted measurable gains.

The only way you're going to achieve a goal is to set a schedule for it and stick with that time consistently. Your current efforts can thus build on previous ones and lay the foundation for future success. If you do things only when you feel like it, your individual acts can never join together to produce something bigger.

Write Down Long Term Goals

At my gym, the trainers encourage everybody to write their long-term fitness goals on the whiteboard. Perhaps it’s running a marathon, dead-lifting double your body weight, or losing 100 pounds. Displaying these declarations for the entire world to see transforms an intangible desire into a concrete goal. Crossfitters can then spend extra time with endurance movements if their goal is running a marathon, or increase barbell exercises if they want to lift heavier.

Write down your ultimate dream on a sheet of paper and place it where you and others can see it. Having this destination allows you to plan what steps it will take to best get there. You can then easily judge if any activities you are currently performing will help you reach success or hinder with obstacles.

But Break It Up Into Little Pieces

Lifting your bodyweight overhead or running three miles are impossible goals for the non-athlete. However, Crossfit makes these actions achievable by emphasizing scalability. This principle reduces movements down until the newbie can perform them.

  • For example, lifting a heavy weight might begin with using a wooden dowel.
  • As you gain more skill, you can move through different sizes of weight bars.
  • Finally, you can add plates to the heaviest bar until you reach your goal.

You can easily reduce your insurmountable goals smaller pieces that are easily achievable. For example, finding the love of your life might begin with joining a hobby club where you can meet suitable dates. Or getting a better paying job as an administrator can start with business classes at your local community college.

Finding Community

Give and Get Support

I’ve come and gone through many gyms over the years because the trainers and other participants have either ignored me, or mocked my fitness efforts. In two years of Crossfit workouts, I have yet to hear an unkind word even if I fail to complete a workout or do a movement incorrectly. Instead, they celebrate even an increase of five pounds in weightlifting. When my inner critic voices his frustrations out loud, more skilled fitness buffs are quick to say that they’ve been there before. They kindly offer guidance and support, encouraging me to do the same for newbies.

You’re going to suffer from enough self-doubt when trying something new. You don’t need to hang out with others who do nothing but bring you down. Find those who can celebrate your victories, or offer constructive lessons if you fail. Spread that support around and help others who are starting toward their destinations. By helping each other out, you can all achieve your goals.

Importance of Technique

Technique Is Everything

New Crossfitters who happen to be young school athletes like to show off by muscling weights into position, such as when hoisting a barbell overhead in the snatch. They usually get tired and reach their weight limits quickly. They then wonder why the middle-aged soccer mom with Crossfit experience can lift for longer periods, sometimes with heavier weights. They don’t realize that she’s learned the proper technique of using her hips to thrust the weight upward, while using the arms simply to guide it into place.

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Entrepeneurs who launch businesses with nothing but hope and cash behind them will fail because it takes many other techniques to achieve viability. Learning those skills first, perhaps at community colleges, and then practicing them, perhaps as employees of larger businesses, will increase the chance of ultimate success.

© 2019 by Aurelio Locsin.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 12, 2012:

Great hub in that you broke this down into simple to understand reasons for building slowly but steadily as in all life pursuits. My husband and I have recently joined 24 Hour Fitness and are enjoying it. Good luck with your Crossfit workouts. Voted up, interesting and useful.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on June 12, 2012:

These are some great tips Alocsin. I am amazed by your variety of educating hubs my friend. It is always a joy to read and learn through them. Best wishes.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 10, 2012:

This is amazing write. Alocsin, you did a great job by comparing the crossfit training to learning some lessons in life. These can be related to anything one does in life. Having a goal, breaking them into smaller goals, consistently working towards achieving those goals, helping others and getting helped in return and using techniques to achieve them.

This is a wonderful lesson. Sharing this to spread awareness.

Voted up and useful.

Tammy from North Carolina on June 10, 2012:

Great hub with practical advice. I almost went with Crossfit, but I chose a cheaper gym with a circuit training program. I may need a trainer to help me with technique, I think you bring up an important point here. I look forward to more of your work out advice.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on April 08, 2012:

Good for him! I did the strict paleo diet for about the first month. I'm on a modified paleo diet -- almost now carbs, except for the occasional ice cream, lots of meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Lynn S. Murphy on April 08, 2012:

my son is a xfitter and is all about it. are you doing the paleo diet as well???

Micheal from United Kingdom on April 07, 2012:

It is so important for people to be encouraged to continue training.

No matter how little. Anything is better than nothing.

Remembering why we are doing it, is important.

For health and fitness. Not to show off on the beach.

Although that is an added benefit I suppose.

Nice hub Aurelio. Good to see gym's that treat people as humans.

Voted up interesting and sharing.

Olive Ellis on March 07, 2012:

Interesting! I will forward this to my son. Thanks for sharing.

yoginijoy from Mid-Atlantic, USA on March 05, 2012:

I like this hub a lot! Thank you for sharing the tips. I am a runner and have recently begun lifting weights too. I have to say it is a challenge but the results are worth it. Keep up the great work! I am inspired to keep lifting.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on March 05, 2012:

Alas, Sunshine625, that isn't me. But I have a Crossfit picture on my Facebook profile.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on March 04, 2012:

Working it!! I also thought that was you in the photo! Useful info, I'll share it since weight lifting isn't for me. Informative hub, as always!

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 04, 2012:

I have lots of friends getting into this. I might just have to try it out, too! Voted up/U/I.

Ann Carr from SW England on February 26, 2012:

Great hub. Like many things in life, you have to stick to it, put in some effort, have some support and have good instruction; it's all a matter of attitude and aptitude. I don't fancy lifting weights but I do like regular exercise (tennis is my thing!). Voted up & useful.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on February 25, 2012:

Yoga can be a very strenuous workout.

neeleshkulkarni from new delhi on February 24, 2012:

love the connection to entrepreneurship in the end.Being both an exercise freak and an entrepreneur agree with the entire content totally.

Ruchira from United States on February 24, 2012:

Good hub alocsin.

Alas, I am not into such extensive more of a yoga person.

but such detailed and motivational text can definitely inspire people. gotta share it with my followers :)


Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on February 24, 2012:

Lol, that's not me. I can only deadlift about 155 kg, which is double my bodyweight.

MP50 on February 24, 2012:

Nice lift, what have you got on there? 160 kg or 180 kg? immpressive.

Brett C from Asia on February 23, 2012:

Great hub. I think the parts about breaking it down and surrounding yourself with positive people are so true! With the right support, anything is possible.

Thanks for SHARING.

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