Cherry-Picking Your Potential

Can we be candid for a moment?!

I need to speak from the heart, but also the mind and deep down from the gut…

When I first started CrossFit back in 2009, I quickly got into competitive CrossFit, and I was even training to try and make the CF Games team.


I HATED wall balls. Like, truly, madly, deeply. And, to be fair, I hated them because I really sucked at them, and I had to work twice as hard as the taller folks to get that damn ball to the 10’ mark. I pretty much had to do jumping squats, and they sucked all the air (and the will to live) out of me.

Wall balls exposed my weak side and insecurities, both physically and mentally.

And, almost every competition I participated in had wall balls (surprise, surprise). Yet, despite this very obvious hole in my training, I avoided the ball like the plague. Instead of accepting the fact that if I wanted to make it in the competitive world of CrossFit, I would HAVE to conquer the wall balls, I ignored it. I only ever did them when I absolutely had to - Which was pretty much only in a competition.

And, as many of you can guess, because I cherry-picked any and every workout with wall balls, in every competition I threw down in, the wall balls were my kryptonite. What’s worse, I always complained and whined about it, too. I acted like the wall balls were the reason I lost, not my lack of training. It’s the medicine ball’s fault…

Then came the Open, and year after year after year after gosh darn year, I always finished in the top 100 of Northern California… Just out of reach of Regionals.

I wonder why I never made it to Regionals?! Where could I have possibly done better?!

Oh… I know… THE WALL BALLS!!!

It only took me about five years (seriously, five stubborn years) to FINALLY slap myself silly and work on bettering myself in the wall balls.

Funny thing happened along the way… As I got better at the wall balls, I started liking them. I actually reached a point where I got excited (yes, genuinely excited) when I saw wall balls on the whiteboard. I would even VOLUNTARILY use the 20# medball instead of the 14#, because I wanted to… Because, I thought it was FUN (gasp)!!

I hated a lot of things in CrossFit: Burpees, running, double unders, box jumps, toes-to-bars, chest-to-bar pull ups, ring dips… You know, come to think of it - I hated anything that I sucked at, couldn’t do right away, or just flat out was not fun or “cool” to me.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?!

Okay, so here’s the thing, my friends - I get it. Sometimes, the workout is less than desirable. Sometimes, we like to do the cool sh**, like a “Hero” WOD or lift heavy weights. Sometimes, we just ain’t feelin’ it and need to do our own thing in the corner. Sometimes, we gotta do what we gotta do.

You do you, my friend.

All that I ask is that before you walk past the whiteboard to the Northside, think about WHY you are avoiding the day’s WOD, and be very honest with yourself. More times than not, we cherry-pick a workout because it is EXACTLY what we should be working on, but we also know that it will suck, it will hurt, and our ego will end up slightly bruised.

We naturally avoid the things that we know will challenge us. There is something to be lost there. Whereas, if we stay in (or at least close enough to) our comfort zone, then we are safe. It’s called self-sabotage.

Every time you cherry-pick a workout, you are cherry-picking your potential. You are cherry-picking your growth and progress.

Only through challenge can we find change. But change, even really great, positive change (like increased health and fitness), can still be very scary. In a world where change is always forcing itself upon us (ex. car accident, surprise pregnancy, sudden death, recent cancer diagnosis, surprise medical bill, house fire, etc), it’s no surprise that literally millions of us worldwide self-sabotage our fitness journey for comfort. It is one of the only areas in our wild lives that we can control for the most part. We can control cherry-picking.

So, I am asking you, my friend, are you cherry-picking today for the right reasons?

Or, are you self-sabotaging your growth and potential?!

Only you can decide the answer for yourself. Just be honest, and then own it. And, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working out in the Northside (it’s why we have it), just make sure you’re over there for the right reasons.

One of the easiest ways I call out my own bullshit is if I have to explain myself to the others, than I am cherry-picking. If I don’t have the need to explain and defend myself, then I’m there for the right reasons.

Here’s another provocative question - “What would Coach ______ say?!” I am fortunate to have known three exceptional coaches in my lifetime, and I still have their voices in my head. Hopefully you have a coach or two who can be your motivating voice in your head.

I’d like you to consider something - The next time you have the urge to cherry-pick a workout for whatever reason, SHOW UP and STAY IN CLASS. Do the workout anyway. And then, watch what happens to yourself. Often, when we do things outside our comfort zones, that’s where the magic happens.

Choose your potential.



We are all human, and we need to be allowed to be more human together. That’s why I bring these topics up and talk so candidly, because they are real things going on with real people in our community.

None of us are here to point fingers or shame anyone. We are all here to SUPPORT and ENCOURAGE, which means we gotta talk about this stuff, openly and honestly. The more we talk about stuff, the less power it has over us, and more we can live our lives to the best of our potential.

Always remember, we are in this together.

Kara PurvesComment