I am a CrossFit coach. I am an athlete. I am a runner. I am all these things, and more! 5 years ago, I was none of these, nor could I imagine myself being any of these things! I was in my mid thirties, and thought my days of doing most athletic things were over. I assumed that at my age I would get hurt, or damage my knees, the list of excuses goes on.

Walking through the door of CrossFit Surmount in 2013 turned out to be a decision that would alter the trajectory of my life in ways that I just could not imagine. It will do the same for you, if you allow it. If you become less rigid in your view of yourself, and your “I am” stories.

I think it’s important to take note of these “I am” statements that we tell our selves, and also the negative ones; for example: I am not a runner. I don’t like wall balls. I will never get double unders… sound familiar?

CrossFit is a transformative pursuit. It allows us to push down barriers and hone skills and abilities that we never knew we had, but were there all along. Dormant. Waiting to be expressed.

Our minds sometimes cannot accept this! You maybe thought, hey, I’ll try CrossFit and lose some weight. Or, I’d really like to take my fitness to the next level. Or, maybe you just like the camaraderie of the group workouts. Whatever your reasons, there is always something you NEVER imagined for yourself just waiting to be expressed. Don’t let your old stories about yourself hold you back. Don’t let your “I am this or not this” narrative box you in and stifle your growth.

Here’s a trick I use that might work for you. These “I am stories” are Iike a mantra, we repeat them over and over to ourselves, and in doing so, we make them true! Fears, doubts, limits, are mostly self imposed and hold us back. So instead of saying, I am not a runner, for example, I started saying to myself, I am running. This simplifies things in my mind and allows me to focus on form, on technique, on breathing, pace, what is coming up AFTER the run. All this takes a tremendous amount of concentration, and these negative “I am not a runner” thoughts are using up valuable processing power in our brains, like a computer with a virus, when we should be focusing on doing the damn activity!

So think to yourself, I am running. That’s it. Keep it simple. Or, sometimes I’ll switch it up to: I am improving my running. Or, I am running to that mailbox, I am improving my mile time. What I am NOT doing, is telling myself some BS story that holds me back. I am empowering myself and focusing on getting the job done.

This principle can be applied to anything we do in CrossFit, and definitely also out there in the world in all areas of life.

I was coaching an athlete who was really strong with the barbell, had lost a lot of weight, and I overheard this person literally saying out loud, “I am not a runner” during a WOD. I yelled out, “You look like a runner to me! Your form is getting better every day. KEEP GOING!” A year later, this person is now doing TRIATHLONS. Simply amazing what we can do when we change our mindset.

I hope this helps. Good luck, keep working hard, and open your mind to new possibilities!

-Coach Doza