“Working out is just not fun…I can’t get excited about going to the gym!” Someone said that to me recently and it got me thinking. Most of us at CrossFit Austin don’t think like this at all; to us, the word “fun” is synonymous with CFA. We look forward to the “big reveal” when the workout is posted on the website every morning. We can’t wait to tell everyone at the office what torture we’ve already endured that morning before coming in to work, or what awaits us when we get off. We don’t even mind the “are you crazy” looks we get from folks when we tell them about our workout and say, “it looks like fun!” We get excited thinking about coming into the gym and seeing our CrossFit family and taking on the workout with them. Some people might say we have a skewed definition of “fun.” To us, lifting, throwing, dragging, squatting, pulling and pushing heavy objects is “fun.” Seeing your name go up on the board with “Rx” next to it or seeing your name on the leader board for the first time is “fun.” Getting sweaty with our friends and running around the building is “fun.” But what happens when that stops being fun?
Time and time again, those of us who have been around CrossFit for a while see this happen. People are so pumped up when they first start out and they can’t get enough. They are facebooking, tweeting and telling anyone who will listen about their workouts and how awesome it was even though it made them want to throw up. They are determined to convert the world to a caveman/paleo lifestyle and send websites with information on the Paleo Diet to everyone in their address book. They try to beat the system by taking a different coach’s class every day so the coach won’t notice that they haven’t had a rest day in 2 weeks (“Really coach, I was going to take today off, but the workout just looks so FUN, I couldn’t miss it! I promise I will take it easy!”) Then the inevitable lull happens.
At some point in your CrossFit journey, you will be less than excited about it. I know it’s hard for some of you to imagine now, but for those of us who have been around for a while, we can tell you that this will happen. You will wake up one morning and turn off the alarm clock and go back to sleep or go to Happy Hour instead of the 5:30 workout…and then that will happen more often. You will stop posting pictures and status updates on your social media of choice. Your friends and family will start spending time with you again because you are able to talk about something other than CrossFit and eating meat and veggies. So what do we do then? Give up? Of course not!
If it ever gets to the point where you just aren’t enjoying coming to the gym like you used to, here are 4 helpful hints to spice things up and keep it FUN!
- Find a Workout Buddy. I know what you are thinking… ‘I already work out with a group, why do I need a buddy?’ It helps to have one person who you meet up with at the gym and with whom to work out. You can hold each other accountable, motivate one another and set goals together. It’s always helpful to have that person by your side saying, “just one more rep… you can do it!”
- Add variety. Don’t feel like you are “cheating” on CrossFit if you mix things up a bit. Go for a run, take a dance class, join a kickball team, sign up for a triathlon or 5K fun run. Don’t be scared to try something new and different or just mix up your CF training. If you always pick up a kettlebell for swings, try a dumbbell one day. If you are still picking up the 15lb bar on deadlift day, next time try going for a 35lb or 45lb bar instead and see how that feels.
- Set Goals. When working out stops being fun, sometimes it’s because we have lost focus and are not motivated anymore. Try setting some attainable goals and making a plan to reach those goals. I emphasize attainable because it will just make you frustrated if you goals are not reachable. So, if you can’t do a strict pull-up and you can’t do a strict ring dip, then muscle-ups probably shouldn’t be your goal. Instead, your goal should be to get a pull-up, and then put in the work to make that happen. When you reach your goal, reward yourself! You did something awesome, so indulge!
- Play! Don’t be afraid to revisit your inner child and play. Maybe that means joining in on a pick-up game of basketball or taking a cue from Walker and Darlene and busting out a jig in the middle of a workout when the music makes your hips want to move!
During my own CrossFit adventure, there have been highs and lows. There have certainly been times when it just wasn’t as fun. But, I took my own advice and found ways to bring back the charm. I took Chad’s class and fell in love with Olympic lifting, so I found a buddy and we trained for 4 months doing just Olympic Lifting. We went to Zumba on our active recovery days and shimmied our hips with the best of them. When I went back to CrossFitting regularly, it was fun again. Then, after many more months, it wasn’t. So, I found another buddy who motivates me and keeps me accountable. He also indulges me when I want to keep things interesting and helps me push my car around the building (for time, of course!)!
Just remember: keep it fresh and that will keep it FUN!