Seven Crossfit Life Lessons That Carry Over Into Real Life

When you find your life has changed in a number of ways because you CrossFit, do you ever wonder if the same is true for others? When I read this set of lessons from one of my favorite blogs, AndreAnna’s Life As A Plate, figured I wasn’t the only one who saw changes and I could relate to what she says about the carry over of those lessons and changes into your ‘real life’. See what you think …

1) Finish.
If you start something, finish it. (Unless it’s a bad book, got no time for bad books.) No matter how tough the workout, no matter how tired you are, no matter what that little voice inside your head is yelling at you, FINISH. Finish what you start. In the gym, in your house, in your relationships. Don’t give up when it gets hard.

2) Take a Break.
It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to take time off from the gym to heal a sore muscle or an injury. It’s okay to leave the dishes in the sink for an extra hour because you want to finish a book. It’s okay to turn down invitations to dinner parties if you want a night at home of if your plate is too full.

3) Go Easy on Yourself.
You will have good days. You will have days so shitty, you’re imagining it over before it’s even noon. You will have days where you hit a PR on a mile run, or a lift you’ve been struggling with and days you can barely put one foot in front of the other. We are human. Each day is different than the last. What we eat, how we sleep, hormones, mood, life – they all affect us day-to-day and what combination one day can make for awesome achievements can shank you in the shower the next day.

4) One at a time.
When there’s a giant pile of crap to be done, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I’ve tried really hard to internalize something a trainer once told me when looking at an insurmountable WOD full of squat-clean-thrusters. “One a time. Just do one at a time.” And you know what? You will eventually finish. The WOD. The laundry/dishes/deadline/cleaning/errands. Just in time for a new pile to accumulate, but it will end. I can promise you that.

5) You will say shit that you swore would never come out of your mouth.
Case in point: “I watched your snatch today from across the room. It looked super clean!”  “Clean up the family room or you owe me 20 burpees!”  “Yeah, I’m an athlete.”  “I climbed a rope.”  “I ran 4 miles through 20 obstacles today. I can handle arranging my shoe walk-in.” “Please do not use the cat as a kettlebell”

6) Setbacks happen.
Whether it’s an illness, surgery, or just a bad week, you will fall behind from where you are. It’s okay to take three steps forward and two steps back. It can be your lifting at the gym or your clean-eating regimen. A journey isn’t meant to be run on marathon feet. It’s a slow, steady, crawl with blisters.

7) Be Humble.
There is always someone faster, stronger, better. As soon as you think you’re good at something, someone will smoke your ass.  But if you’re humble and you accept your place in the great world of average, the day will come when you will be The Mom Who Kicks Ass or The Friend Everyone Loves or The Chick Who Rowed a 1:42 500m. And with humility (since you remember oh-so-clearly what the bottom of the barrel looks like.)

What lessons have you learned from CrossFit that apply outside the gym to your real life?

  1. ChristinaHolmes


    • Colleen

      you have to thank AndreAnn @ Life as A Plate – she is wonderful!

  2. Jessica Ekholm
    Jessica Ekholm11-14-2012

    Well said!!! I always feel like I have to get everything done all at once and hurry hurry…but its true, one step at a time.

    • Colleen

      the only way to go!

  3. PJ

    I’d like to add one… Support. Even when you’re done, dog tired, about to vomit and lying on your back, you find away to get up and support those lagging behind, because they need it. And you know there will be days when you need it.

    • Colleen

      PJ – you are so right! it’s one of the things that makes CF so ‘different’ – thanks!

  4. Rebecca

    I’ll add one- CHEER for EVERYONE- no matter how old, how slow, how “modified” their workout may be. Acknowledge and celebrate their effort and the process of their journey. Being part of the crossfit family (and that is what it is) means lifting others up, not trying to “one up” them.

    • Colleen

      Rebecca – you are so right! and the ‘family’ is what keeps you coming back no matter where you are on the fitness journey.

  5. drmoll2011

    I think the one I always have to keep in mind, every workout, is that it doesn’t really matter how fast I go or how heavy I lift. What matters is that I show up.

    • Colleen

      show up & do the work – so right!

      • drmoll2011

        This really was an inspiration…thank you!

  6. HiggsOGee

    At my age, I never thought I’d be working on upper body strength, but over the last several months, I’ve changed my entire and not just my upper body! From regular CrossFit to Paleo diet to a new family to add to my runner family – what a ride! It has been wonderful! I actually have muscles…who knew?

    • Colleen

      You’re reminding me of the quote “start by doing what’s necessary, then doing what’s possible, and suddenly you’re doing the impossible” – there is always something deep inside! enjoy the ride …

      • HiggsOGee

        Too right!

  7. Pamela M. Kramer
    Pamela M. Kramer11-16-2012


  8. June williams
    June williams12-02-2012

    Well said I turn fifty on my next birthday.Who would have thought I can achieve such goals in crossfit I have become a better me I feel great ,look great Wow I would never say that out loud but I am now and proud off it

    • Colleen

      Amazin’ & Well Done June!!

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