Are We Having Fun?
By Justin Huckaby (aka Huck)
I pose this question sort of like your mother did when you were on the playground as a toddler or starting a new sport. Mom wanted to see you succeed as much or more than anyone, but more importantly, she wanted to make sure you were having the best time of your life out there on the field, court, etc.
Whether you are new to CrossFit or have been drinking the Kool-Aid for quite a few years, it’s important to take a step back every now and then (I do this at least once a week) to ask yourself “Am I having fun?”. Why am I telling you this is so important to your fitness career? Maybe it’s the analytical engineer in me, but from the data points I’ve collected in my 5+ years of CrossFitting, I’ve found “fun” to have a direct positive correlation with accomplishing goals, setting PRs, and desire to continue on my fitness journey.
Okay, let’s delve just a little deeper into this concept of having fun on your fitness journey. You may already know this, but at some point, you will begin to plateau in your progress. It happens to even the most elite athletes. You no longer set a PR each weekin the gym. Or the pounds aren’t coming off or being put on as easily. Without these immediate incentives, you may find yourself less motivated than previously to continue your fitness regimen. The amount and intensity of your training remains consistent, but the output or return on your investment seems to be dwindling.
Again, don’t fret…. because this is just natural physiology for everyone. During this phase, I challenge you to have “fun” in your workouts. And then let that “fun” carry over to the successes in your fitness career. Sure, I’ve set some reckless PRs during white-hot anger, but the majority of my best lifts and scores during a WOD have come from times I remained cool and enjoyed the experience. More importantly, this “fun factor” is what brings me back to the gym each day even when I haven’t set a new PR in over a year. Yeah, I went about 2 years between my last 1 rep max clean and snatch PRs. I even seemed to digress in that 2-year period. Then seemingly out of nowhere, I’m smiling having a good workout and boom, a PR sneaks up on me in the middle of an EMOM.
Okay, okay, let me give you a much better example of an elite athlete having fun and still exceling in her fitness career. If you watched the women’s speed clean ladder in the 2018 CrossFit Games, you know exactly who I’m about to reference: Annie Thorisdottir. She’s a seven-time CrossFit Games veteran and a two-time champ back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. One of the top-level and most consistent athletes in the sport of CrossFit. She’s suffered injuries and setbacks, but if you ever watch her compete, she’s ALWAYS smiling. I mean, this champ was smiling during a heat stroke in the 100 degree Murph event back in 2015. She was also smiling during this year’s speed clean ladder even though she was one of the last athletes left on the field suffering to finish her cleans. Annie knows how to have fun and enjoy the experience in even the most arduous workouts. This “fun factor”, as I like to call it, is a major reason she has been consistently one of the best female athletes in CrossFit over the majority of the last decade.
So, you just got home from your last wild workout at CrossFit Local, and it was a doozy because some coach named Chad programmed thrusters and burpees in the same workout. Your mom, dad, sibling, spouse, child, pet, or imaginary friend sees you limp through the doorway and asks, “Did you have fun today at the gym?”. Regardless of your score or the score of other athletes in the class, I hope your answer is an immediate resounding, “Yes!!!”. And then I hope that answer carries your limp body back to the gym very soon for some more fun.