Life is full of choices. They start every morning when our alarm clock goes off. We decide to either get up or hit the snooze button. That is a simple choice. Some choices are more difficult than others. The difficult choices are the decisions that change your path in life. I see this every month when a new group of people come into the gym and make the choice to go through the On Ramp program. These people have taken a massive step forward to help change their life and the decision will reward them with health, well being, and a supportive community. Recently I made a tough decision in regards to my fitness and my pursuits. I have been at CrossFit since November 2008. I went through On Ramp in November 2008 and after 3 months of CrossFit I moved out of the area and no longer did CrossFit until April 2009. In April 2009 I went through my level 1 certification and in August 2009 became a Coach. I have been coaching and doing CrossFit since then and have truly enjoyed it. Along the way I have learned a lot from others in our community. My decision to walk into my first CrossFit gym and sign up for On Ramp gave me the world I live in now and all the people I have had the pleasure of coaching, working, and WODing with each day.
Recently I approached a "fork in the road" in my CrossFit journey. I needed to decide whether or not I continue to train the CrossFit WOD's and strength cycles or do I put the focus into training the Olympic lifts. Through CrossFit I was able to reignite a relationship I had many years ago with Olympic Weightlifting. When I was in middle school and high school I was bullied every day and many times multiple times a day. I had my head shut in lockers, teeth chipped, embarrassed, kicked, knocked on the floor, laughed at...you name it. During my freshman year of high school my gym teacher and football coach saw this and knew that my little 93 lb self was not going to handle much more but I could not do anything about it. He took me under his wing and put me in the weight room. He taught me everything about lifting and personal development. He taught me patience and forgiveness and to never surrender to the odds. He gave me life lessons through a barbell. He gave me Olympic Weightlifting. He was a USAW certified coach and because of that we learned to clean and power clean, and some days dabble in the snatch/power snatch. It quickly became something that came very natural to me. I ended up being part of a 2 person group that he took to different high schools in the area to help teach other coaches the skills and the techniques. I still remember one night when I was a junior and weighing about 119 lbs we were at a seminar and he put 205 on the bar and told me to clean it. I had never done it before but I believed in him and didn't want to let him down so I stepped up to the bar and cleaned it. It felt great and I loved the feeling that I could use technique and physics to move an object like that even though I was so small. When I got to college there was no place to train like this and I feel out of touch with Olympic Weightlifting. Many years later I found CrossFit and through it started the Olympic lifts again. I realized that this is direction I needed to take. While attending the Texas Outlaw Olympic Weightlifting seminar I realized this is what I wanted to do and what I wanted to spend my time training. I came home from that seminar with a goal and purpose. I knew that I had to make a tough decision. Do I continue to do CrossFit and use the Olympic lifts to supplement that or do I focus solely on the Olympic lifts? After some great debates I came to the decision that in order to pursue what I knew was best for me and in order to do that I would need to reduce my CrossFit. I knew this would wreck havoc on my abilities with the Open and that this would make the CrossFit Open WOD's tough for me.
Unfortunately I believe my decision to choose Olympic Weightlifting as my focus of training has disappointed some people. I think that people were looking forward to seeing me create some spectacle of the WOD's and to make earth shattering scores. I was lucky on the first WOD that there were snatches. Since I have been snatching, cleaning, jerking, and squatting 5 days a week for the last couple of months this was an ideal WOD. Lot's of snatches, long time domain, and very little actual traditional CrossFit demands. I hung in there but I felt awful after the WOD. I was not in CrossFit shape but my snatches were technically good throughout the WOD. 13.2 happened and I struggled with it...big time. I had a very low score. I tried my best throughout the WOD, the weights were light, box jumps were explosive but there was no CrossFit engine. I think that my score disappointed some people and I apologize that this is the case. In reality I am doing my best at CrossFit and since my training goals are different my capacities are different. It disappointed me to know that people were looking at me for some magically high score when they were surrounded by their teammates and gym mates who were crushing the WOD and posting awesome scores. I will continue to try the WOD's each week and participate as a part of the gym but I hope that people can focus more of their time and energy on their fellow teammates and gym members who have been training for this for a long time. There are so many awesome athletes in the gym and they deserve to have the focus of each one of us. Remember I have made a decision to change my training focus and I still respect and highly admire each person doing CrossFit. At some point in the future I will be doing CrossFit again but that time is not right now. My focus is to be the best Olympic weightlifter that I can be just as each of you have made the decision to be the best CrossFit athlete that you can be. Respect in each other's decision and support each other in our pursuits.
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