Stupid Muscle-Ups!

I was bruised, bloody, hot, and tired, and one last workout still towered in front of me. Fifteen minutes. That’s all I had to figure out how to pull off the impossible: a muscle-up. I was in 7th place going into the last workout at the 2010 Regionals in Dallas. I had already surprised myself by doing quite well against some of the “big wigs” in the region. However, all of that was about to be thrown out the window.

I stood in the warm-up room and watched girl after girl grab onto the rings, string 3 “warm-up” muscle-ups together, and walk away like it didn’t even phase them that we had to do 15 of those stinking things in the workout. I wanted to cry. I felt so alone in that very moment in my abilities as a CrossFitter. What was I even doing in the same room with these girls? I have never wanted to quit anything in my life. But, in that moment, I wanted to tap out, wave my little white flag, and scream, “I give up!” But I couldn’t.

I remembered what Wes said to me earlier that day, “You are just as good as these girls.” My Mom and Dad, who had never seen me compete in a CrossFit competition nor understood the entirety of what was going on, were waiting in anticipation with the rest of the crowd. I couldn’t give up. I had to at least try; for my parents, for my coach, and mostly, for me.

Needless to say, I didn’t get my first muscle-up in those fifteen minutes. But I tried. I spent the entire fifteen minutes trying. I watched almost every girl finish at least 5 muscle ups and move on to the next movement. I must have attempted 40 muscle-ups and failed every one of them. When my fifteen minutes ran out, all I could do was hang my head while the rings dangled above me. The crowd moved out and there I stood. Under those rings, I was frozen with defeat. My dad eventually grabbed me and gave me a big bear hug. I cried like a baby and so did he.

Despite what Wes had said, I didn’t believe I belonged there.

Fast forward to the 2011 Games season. For the first time as a CrossFit competitor, I had chosen to compete in the Team Division at Regionals. With the workouts released six weeks before the competition, we spent hours in the gym to prep. As I’m sure you can guess the last workout had muscles-ups in it. Despite how much stronger and faster I was becoming, I still couldn’t stick a muscle-up. I was frustrated and that sense of defeat I experienced the year prior was creeping back in. To make matters worse, I was who the team had chosen to perform that workout. Seriously! Again! And now, not only did I feel pressure to do them for myself, I had a team that was relying on me.

Finally, a week before Regionals, I landed my first muscle-up (and then proceeded to run around screaming like a mad woman)! Then, at Regionals, not only did I stick a muscle-up; I was able to get three! Instead of celebrating those three muscle-ups, I felt as defeated as I did in the 2010 Regionals. Surrounded by other teams who had girls who could fly through the muscle ups, I didn’t believe I belonged there either.

I have always thought it was the muscle-up that was holding me back from my full potential as a CrossFit athlete. But what I have come to realize this year is that it was never really the muscle-ups. It’s been more about me growing and maturing into a CrossFit athlete. It has been about patience and time. In my three years as a CrossFitter, I have struggled to get stronger where I am weak, overcome injuries, missed lifts, and finished last. The biggest thing standing in my way this whole time has not been the stupid muscle-ups, it’s been believing I could do the muscle-ups. Believing! That’s it. That’s what was missing.

The blood, sweat, and tears have paid off. I am now training with an all-star squad that has pushed me more than they will ever know. Their belief in my capabilities has helped me believe in myself and abilities. As I battle through this year’s Regionals competition with the #paintitpink team, I will not forget how far I have come as a CrossFitter. I have nothing but belief in me and my teammates! And when I walk into that warm-up room this year, I will not doubt my abilities or question whether I belong there.

Bring on those muscle-ups!

Stacey Magnesio