A while ago, I wrote about the stat I’d heard that suggested you are the average of the five people closest to you. I have no idea what actual research this is based on, but it is probably true. At the very least, your idea of ‘normal’ skews according to what is around you. If everyone you know spends the weekend sitting on the sofa eating toast in their pyjamas, then the thought of going for a long walk or playing a game of tennis, or getting on a bike, will seem weird.
So I was minded of this yesterday, when I spent the afternoon at Crossfit London, watching the inaugural Crossfit London Showdown. For the non-crossfitters, this was a competition, involving three WODs, the ‘workout of the day’ section of every crossfit class that is high-intensity and uses different skills, strength and techniques in different combinations. I’ve never been to a crossfit competition before, so had no idea what to expect, but having struggled with the WODs on almost every occasion, what I do know is that there is nothing more supportive than the crossfit community. The saying is ‘the person who finishes last gets the biggest cheer’ and on many occasions it’s been my classmates who’ve got me through, with endless encouragement and support.
As I wasn’t taking part, I volunteered, so happily set up the barbecue, helped set up weights for the clean and jerk ladder etc. And then the competitors arrived who all looked pretty nervous (even the ones who I think are amazing) and it all got going.
Well we cheered our heads off. Everyone worked so hard, put so much effort, just for the fun of it. But two things were particularly inspiring. Firstly, seeing women lifting weights so faultlessly. One competitor in particular lifted 80kg over her head. It absolutely made me want to do better, and maybe I’ll never get to 80kg, but I can certainly do the best for me. My personal best for a clean & jerk is around 32kg so I’ve got a way to go, but I want to get better and stronger. Also, the other elements that made me thing ‘I will do whatever I have to do to be able to do that’ were watching pull ups. Really, being able to do pull ups is absolutely the coolest thing you can do. And when I can do it, everyone will know about it.
But you know, what was really brilliant, was the way everyone was so happy for everyone else. During the C & J ladder, while each person was lifting, the cheering was huge. Everyone wanted each person to do it. No-one wanted anyone to fail, and if someone could lift just on positive energy alone, everyone would have got to the end of the ladder. Coaches coached mid lift, spectators were standing around each person willing them on, supporting them etc. The look of delight on everyone’s face when someone made a lift, or got a pull up was amazing, When one competitor was struggling, everyone took it on themselves to get them through, to count reps, to encourage and cheer every lift and attempt and she finished with plenty of glory.
You don’t get that in body pump or on the bloody crosstrainer. You don’t learn to lift 80kg either.
So, in conclusion – surround yourself with positive examples, with people that you would like to be, who do things you’d like to do, and who encourage you to do it.